1) Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude.
Every night before you go to bed write down three things good that happened to you that day.
Write someone a letter thanking them and telling them how much what they have done for you means. Visit them and read it in person. It’s a proven happiness WMD.
Be grateful for good events and focus on the fact that they will soon end. This has been shown to increase happiness and to make you more likely to take advantage of opportunities.
Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well. You may use a journal or your computer to write about the events, but it is important that you have a physical record of what you wrote. The three things need not be earthshaking in importance (“ My husband picked up my favorite ice cream for dessert on the way home from work today”), but they can be important (“ My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy”).
Next to each positive event, answer the question “Why did this happen?” For example, if you wrote that your husband picked up ice cream, write “because my husband is really thoughtful sometimes” or “because I remembered to call him from work and remind him to stop by the grocery store.” Or if you wrote, “My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy,” you might pick as the cause “God was looking out for her” or “She did everything right during her pregnancy.”
Writing about why the positive events in your life happened may seem awkward at first, but please stick with it for one week. It will get easier. The odds are that you will be less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now.
In The Happiness Advantage, I challenge readers to do one brief positive exercise every day for 21 days. Only through behavioral change can information become transformation.
• Write down three new things you are grateful for each day;
• Write for two minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours;
• Exercise for 10 minutes a day;
• Meditate for two minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out;
• Write one quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising someone in your social support network (family member, friend, old teacher).
How to make yourself happier in just a few seconds:
Imagine an important positive event in your life (like meeting your spouse) never happened.
Mentally subtracting cherished moments from your life makes you appreciate them more, makes you grateful and makes you happier:
Can you train your mind to be happy :
Training your mind to look for errors and problems (as happens in careers like accounting and law) can lead you toward a pervasive pessimism that carries over into your personal life.
Why are lawyers 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression and more likely to end up divorced? They have trained their minds to seek out the bad in life because pessimists excel at law.
Is there a way to get your mind out of these negative loops? Yes.
You must train your brain to seek out the good things in life:
You can train your mind to be unhappy and you can train it to be happy. One of the reasons old people are happier is because they remember the good and forget the bad. And when it comes to the future, be optimistic. Optimism can make you happier
“Retrospective judgment” means reevaluating events and putting a positive spin on them. Naturally happy people do it automatically, but it’s something you can teach yourself. Happy people naturally reinterpret events so that they preserve their self-esteem.
So, to sum up:
- Count your blessings
- Only compare yourself to those worse off than you
- Tell yourself a positive story about the challenges in your life
The secret to being luckier is to be open to more opportunities, to interact with a large network of people, to break routines and keep a relaxed attitude toward life.
Weekends make much less difference for people who work in open and trusting environments. They simply exchange one set of friends for another on weekends.
Can one word sum up everything you need to do to be happier?
That word is “PERMA.” It’s an acronym for:
- Positive Emotion : We need 3 positive things for every negative thing in order to thrive. we shouldn’t try to eliminate negative emotions, rather, we should work on keeping the ratio at three positive for every one negative.
- Engagement :
- This is what is often called flow. It’s when you’re so wrapped up in what you’re doing that the world fades away. When do you usually feel flow? It’s when you’re challenged but not beyond your skill level. Passive activities don’t create flow. Neither do overwhelming challenges.
There are a handful of things that need to be present for you to experience flow:
- Clear goals that, while challenging, are still attainable.
- Immediate feedback.
- Knowing that the task is doable; a balance between personal skill level and the challenge presented.
- Strong concentration and focused attention.
- The activity is intrinsically rewarding.
More on creating flow here.
- Good Relationships : http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2012/12/word-sum-happier/
- Meaning : Meaning comes from belonging to and serving something that is bigger than you are. “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”
- Accomplishment :
- What has research shown is most tied to success? Seligman says it’s “grit“. Perseverance. More about grit (and how to be “grittier”) here.
2) Do what you are good at as often as you can
“Signature strengths” are the things you are uniquely good at and using them brings us joy. Exercising signature strengths is why starving artists are happier with their jobs.
3) Spend as much time as possible with people you like
The happiest people aresocial with strong relationships. Not spending more time with people we love is something we regret the most.
Being compassionate makes us happier (causal, not correlative.) Share the best events of your day with loved ones and ask them to do the same. It works. And compliment them — we love compliments more than money or sex.
But I’m an introvert, you say? A little bit of extraversion here would do you good. Happiness is more contagious than unhappiness so with amount of exposure to others well-being scales.
4) Money is good. Many other things are better.
Money is good but wanting money can be bad. Loving money can make it harder to be happy. There are ways money can bring happiness but they are not what you expect.
Giving makes us happier than receiving. In fact, it can create a feedback loop of happiness in your life. Volunteering makes us happier and can therefore be the most selfless way to be selfish.
Helping others reach their goals brings joy. Doing nice things for others todaycan literally make you happier for the rest of the week.
Take time to really enjoy the good things. What are the best ways to savor?
- Positive mental time travel: Happy memories or looking forward to something
- Being present: Not letting your mind wander and being absorbed in the moment.
Savoring is one of the secrets of the happiest people. Focusing on the limited time you have in this life is a good way to remind you to savor what is important.
You don’t usually do what brings you joy, you do what is easy. Set ambitious goalsand strive. Thinking about what happens to you in terms of your self-esteem will crush you — look at life as growing and learning.
Sitting on the couch watching TV does not make you happy. You are happierwhen you are busy and are probably have more fun at work than at home. Thinking and working can beat sad feelings. A wandering mind is not a happy mind. Mastering skills is stressful in the short term and happiness-boosting in the long term.
8) Be optimistic, even to the border of delusion
Optimism is key. Yes, pessimism softens the blow of bad news but it isn’t worth it. Optimism increases resilience.
Does this make you out of touch with reality? Maybe but being a little deluded is good:
Love means being slightly deluded. Being somewhat delusional improves marriages. Happy people believe their partner is a little more awesome than they really are. Someone you think is great who also thinks you’re great — it’s one of the primary things you should look for in a marriage partner.
Thinking happy thoughts, giving hugs and smiling sound like unscientific hippie silliness but they all work.
9) Fundamentals are fundamental
Cranky? Before you blame the world, eat something. Take a nap — it can purge negative emotions. Sleep is vital because your mood in the morning affects your mood all day.
Get your sleep. You cannot get away with cheating yourself on sleep and being tired makes it harder to be happy.
10) Frequency beats intensity
Lots of little good things is the path to happiness. You want frequent boosts notrare big stuff. (And this explains the best method of how to split a dinner bill with friends.) For the most part, don’t bother to try and reduce the bad so much as you increase the good.
Stop thinking about big events that might make you thrilled — it’s the little things of everyday life that make lasting improvements to our happiness. You’re not going to win the lottery and it wouldn’t have the impact you think it would.
11) Avoid life’s most common regrets
We know what people most often regret before they die:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
So what can you do to live a life without regret?