วันศุกร์ที่ 06 มีนาคม 2015 เวลา 03:46 น.
Happiness–it's what we all strive to find and keep, even when it's as elusive as ever. Nobody is jolly and elated all the time, but some individuals are definitely more fulfilled than others. Studies reveal that happiness has little to do with materialistic needs, goods, or wants, or high achievement; it boils down to your outlook on life, the quality of your relationships, and basic amenities like good governance and community resources. Check Step 1 and beyond for more tips and tricks on how to unlock the happier you.
1 Be optimistic. In the 1970s, researchers followed people who'd won the lottery and found that a year afterward, they were no happier than people who didn't. This hedonic adaptation suggests that we each have a baseline level of happiness. No matter what happens, good or bad, the effect on our happiness is temporary, and we tend to revert to our baseline level. Some people have a higher baseline happiness level than others, and that is due in part to genetics, but it's also largely influenced by how you think.
• Add up all the little joyful things that happen to you during the day. Write them down. For example, if there was no traffic on the road, if you had a very decent and scrumptious breakfast, if your friend said something uproariously humorous that made you laugh, if you took your dog out for a walk in the park and played with it, add these together. Your outlook will change.
• Feel deeply grateful for the things you have. This is a very effective way to be happy. If you feel grateful for the things you have, you not only become more happy but it also helps you to bring more into your life.
• View the glass as half-full instead of half-empty. Your girlfriend/ boyfriend broke up with you? Now you have the chance to meet someone else! You lost your job? Now you can seize the opportunity to find a better one! Adjust your mentality so that, in everything that happens to you, there's some kernel of good.
• Put yourself in situations where fabulous, fortunate things are likely to happen to you. It's easier to remain optimistic if you set yourself up for success. Cheating on a partner, or stealing someone's bicycle — while temporarily thrilling — rarely end well for any party involved. Ask yourself before you act: Am I setting myself up for success or for failure?
• Think of your current situation (however hard it may be) and then think of how much harder some other people have it. Just be happy that you are not in that worse situation. Learn to enjoy your life!
2 Follow your gut. In one study, two groups of people were asked to pick a poster to take home. One group was asked to analyze their decision, weighing pros and cons, and the other group was told to listen to their gut. Two weeks later, the group that followed their gut was happier with their posters than the group that analyzed their decisions. Now, some of our decisions are more crucial than picking out posters, but by the time you're poring over your choice, the options you're weighing are probably very similar, and the difference will only temporarily affect your happiness.
• Next time you have a decision to make, and you're down to two or three options, just pick the one that feels right, and go with it. Never regret the decisions you make, though. Just live by the 3 C's of life: choices, chances, and changes. You need to make a choice to take a chance, or your life will never change.
3 Own yourself. This means accept and embrace your habits, your personality, mistakes, the way you talk, looks, your voice, and most importantly 'You'. Try to be comfortable in your own skin and subconsciously communicate to others that, 'This is me take it or leave it'. It means don't apologize to anyone for something which is a part of you, like your personality, your voice, habits (good or bad), basically anything; remember there is always someone who likes you for the way you are. For example if you want to wear something which is weird but you find it cool, wear it, no one is stopping you. Its a deeper step towards building a good relationship with yourself.
4 Make enough money to meet basic needs — food, shelter, and clothing. In the US, that magic number is $60,000 a year. Any money beyond that will not necessarily make you happier. Remember the lottery winners mentioned earlier? Oodles of money didn't make them happier. Once you make enough to support basic needs, your happiness is not significantly affected by how much money you make, but by your level of optimism.
• Your comfort may increase with your salary, but comfort makes people bored, not happy. That's why it's important to push beyond your comfort zone to fuel personal growth.
5 Treat your body like it deserves to be happy. It may sound cheesy to say, but your brain isn't the only organ in your body that deserves to be happy. Researchers have found that exercise, healthy diets, and regular sleep are key factors in growing more happy and staying that way.
• People who are physically active have higher incidences of enthusiasm and excitement. Scientists hypothesize that exercise causes the brain to release chemicals called endorphins that elevate our mood.
• Eat right. Eating healthy foods — fruits and vegetables, lean meats and proteins, whole grains, nuts, and seeds — gives your body and brain the energy it needs to be healthy. Some scientists speculate that unhealthy diets, especially those rich in processed carbohydrates, sugars, and industrial vegetable fats, is responsible for brain shrinkage and certain brain diseases like depression and dementia
• Get enough sleep. Study after study confirms it: the more sleep you get, the happier you tend to be. Getting just a single extra hour of sleep per night makes the average person happier than making $60,000 more in annual income, astoundingly enough. So if you're middle-aged, shoot to get at least eight hours of sleep per night; the young and elderly should shoot for 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night.
6 Stay close to friends and family: Or move to where they are, so you can see them more. We live in a mobile society, where people follow jobs around the country and sometimes around the world. We do this because we think salary increases make us happier, but in fact our relationships with friends and family have a far greater impact on happiness. So next time you think about relocating, consider that you'd need a salary increase of over $100,000 USD to compensate for the loss of happiness you'd have from moving away from friends and family.
• If relationships with family and friends are unhealthy or nonexistent, and you are bent on moving, choose a location where you'll make about the same amount of money as everyone else; according to research, people feel more financially secure (and happier) when on similar financial footing as the people around them, regardless of what that footing is.
7 Be compassionate. Compassion is all about doing something kind for someone in need, or someone less privileged than yourself. A brain-imaging study (where scientists peek into people's brains while they act or think) revealed that people gain as much happiness from watching others give to charity as they do receiving money themselves!
You might feel smart for thinking that winning a lottery ticket could make you happy, but you'd be wrong. Money increases happiness only up to a certain level, where your basic needs are met. After that, money makes you no happier than other people. What does make you happy, however, is compassion.
One study has found that people who look at others giving money to charity makes us just as happy as receiving money ourselves! That means you should find ways to be compassionate if you can. Give back to charity.
• Think of effective ways that you can make your community or the world a better place by being compassionate. Compassion is a key part of sustainable happiness:
• Tutor, volunteer, or get involved in a church group. Countless children are looking for someone to teach them and act as a role model.
• Make a microloan. A microloan is when you give someone (usually in the developing world) a very small sum of money for an economic project of their own. Many microloans have 95%+ repayment rates.
• Give a person in need food, clothing or shelter. It's so basic we often forget to think about it, yet so easy to do.
• Increase the happiness of those around you by giving gifts. This will increase your happiness as well - in fact, the one giving the gift usually feels a larger pulse of dopamine (the neurotransmitter responsible for feeling happiness) than the person receiving the gift!.
People who volunteer are happier with their lives than those who don't, according to dozens of studies. The United Nations even credits volunteerism as one of the reasons Denmark is the happiest nation in the world -- 43% of Danes regularly give back to their community, compared with 25% of Americans.
The joy of helping others starts early. A 2012 study found children prefer to give than to receive. Researchers gave two groups of toddlers snacks and then asked one group to give their treats away. The children who gave away their treats showed greater happiness about sharing their possessions, suggesting that the act of personal sacrifice was emotionally rewarding, researchers say.
The sacrifice doesn't have to be big -- previous research has found that donating or spending as little as $5 on others has emotional benefits.
Experts say we are all inherently compassionate. Performing acts of kindness, volunteering time and donating money increases happiness by improving your sense of community, purpose and self-image.
8 Have deep, meaningful conversations. A study by a psychologist at the University of Arizona has shown that spending less time participating in small talk and more time in deep, meaningful conversations can increase happiness. So next time you're beating around the bush with a friend, instead cut right to the chase. You'll be happier for it.
9 Find happiness in the job you have now: Many people expect the right job or career to dramatically change their level of happiness. But research makes it clear that your levels of optimism and quality of relationships eclipse the satisfaction gained from your job.
• If you have a positive outlook, you will make the best of any job; and if you have good relationships, you won't depend on your job for a sense of meaning. You'll find meaning in interactions with the people you care about. You'll use your job as a crutch instead of relying on it for meaning.
• This is not to say you shouldn't aspire to get a job that will make you happier; many people find that being on the right career path is a key determination in their overall happiness. It just means you should understand that the capacity of your job to make you happy is quite small when compared to your outlook and your relationships.
10 Smile: Science suggests that when you smile, whether you're happy or not, your mood is elevated. So smile all the time if you can! Smiling is like a feedback loop: smiling reinforces happiness, just as happiness causes smiling. People who smile during painful procedures reported less pain than those who kept their facial features neutral.
11 Forgive: In a study of college students, an attitude of forgiveness contributed to better cardiovascular health. You could say forgiveness literally heals the heart. While it is unknown how forgiveness directly affects your heart, the study suggests that it may lower the perception of stress.
12 Make friends. In a 2010 study published by Harvard researchers in American Sociological Review, people who went to church regularly reported greater life satisfaction than those who didn't. The critical factor was the quality of friendships made in church. Church-goers who lacked close friends there were no happier than people who never went to church. When researchers compared people who had the same number of close friends, those who had close friends from church were more satisfied with their lives.
• The difference is the forming of friendships based on mutual interests and beliefs. So if church is not your thing, consider finding something else you're deeply passionate about, making friends with those who share similar interests.
• When you interact with people who share your interests, you feel happier due to sensations of reward and well-being. This is because during such interactions, serotonin and dopamine — neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of happiness and relaxation — are released into the body. In other words, your body is designed to feel happier when engaged in social interactions.
13. Practice kindness. Do something nice for someone else, whether it's someone you know or a stranger. It can be spur of the moment or planned out. You can do the good deed anonymously or help the beneficiary directly.
14. Keep a gratitude journal. People who kept a weekly gratitude journal actually did more exercise, had fewer physical problems and felt more optimistic about the coming week and life in general, according to gratitude researcher Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis.
15. Get spiritual. There's plenty of research showing that people who participate in their local church, synagogue, mosque, temple, monastery or other preferred spiritual community are happier. Even reading spiritual literature can be helpful. Not religious? There are ethical societies and movements that get people thinking beyond themselves.
16. Buy experiences, not stuff. A vacation with loved ones or buying tickets to a show or concert will make you happier than buying another gadget. Those gifts help you feel closer to others, said San Francisco State University psychology professor Ryan Howell. "Instead of buying the jersey of your favorite baseball player, for example, buy a pair of tickets to a game, which will allow you to spend time with a friend or a loved one."
17. Buy stuff that creates experiences. So you still want to buy something? How about gear that allows you to have experiences in your areas of interest, such as games or music? "Experiential products such as sporting equipment or musical instruments are a special class of material items that allow you an opportunity to engage with people you care about," Howell said. Even board games count, since you can play them with a friend.
18. Stop hanging out on social media so much. People who spend more time on Facebook and other social media report lower self-esteem, less connection to others, fewer positive emotions and even more homesickness (for college students), said Timothy Bono, assistant dean and lecturer in psychology at Washington University. "Social media also evokes upward social comparison, often leaving us feeling worse about ourselves," he said.
19. Stop checking your email. People who check their email all the time are more stressed than people who check their email just three times daily, according to a recent study. We know it's hard to do. "People find it difficult to resist the temptation of checking email, and yet resisting this temptation reduces their stress," said Kostadin Kushlev, the study's lead author and a Ph.D. candidate at University of British Columbia's Department of Psychology, in a statement.
20. Focus on time, not money. Although people typically focus on money, marketing professor Cassie Mogilner has found that that focusing on time often helps people realize that time is a precious resource. That knowledge helps them be more deliberate in how they spend it. "This leads people to spend their time in ways that are more fulfilling and that make them happier, like connecting with the people in their lives," said Mogilner, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
21. Lose yourself in your activities. Do you remember the time you "lost" yourself because you were having so much fun playing tennis, gardening, sailing, learning a new musical instrument, woodworking or baking the perfect pie? Increase the number of opportunities to "lose" yourself in a new or old activity that occupies your brain and body.
22. Embrace failure. Failing is way to learn what doesn't work before we learn what does work. People who succeed often fail many times before they succeed. "Success requires acquiring experiences and learning lessons," Bono said. "Very often, the best way, and sometimes the only way, to acquire that experience and learn those lessons is through failure: trying things one way, realizing what doesn't work and then making the appropriate changes."
• Avoid complicated situations where you could find yourself unhappy. If people are persuading you to do something that makes you uncomfortable, don't do it. You will feel so much happier knowing that you went with your gut and made the right choice.
• Know that if you had a bad day there is always a chance to make tomorrow better.
• Have some fun! Instead of thinking about other people so much, (because you are so kind and lovely) think about your self. You could treat your self with a day at the cinema or eating sweets!
• Avoid negative people.
• Think of something that made you laugh or smile, even if it's from a long time ago. It'll still have the same effect.
• Try to love yourself a little more. Happiness stems from feeling good about the things around you and how that affects you. Look in the mirror and feel happy that who is looking back at you is a survivor. Keep reinventing yourself. The only person on earth who shouldn't be bored with who you are is yourself.
• Always assume that what is done is done. Don't feel regret due to past mistakes. Instead, learn from them and move on.
• Remember that most of what you're stressing over now will be irrelevant in a year. So stop stressing and be happy!
• Be happy! Always look on the bright side. The past is the past you can't change it. No one can. Just be cheerful!
• Sit and figure out what makes you happy, and make one step at a time to get there. As long as you are working toward your own personal goals you will move forward instead of procrastinating.
• Don't be afraid to admit when you're down and need a lift. Conversely, if a person is a negative influence who drags you down, don't be afraid to remove such a person from your life. However, it is even better when you can see the potential in people, and help them. As with charity, this is beneficial to both you and them; and you have a valuable friend afterwards who is grateful of your aid.
• If you are unhappy, even if you don't know why; talk it out with someone. The exchange of ideas and feelings is healing and usually provides some level of satisfaction or peace.
• Be content with who you are because nobody's 'the perfect one'.
• Take deep breaths and smile, think about how lucky you are and everything you have.
• Allays think on the positive side; the glass is half full, not half empty!
• Finding time for you is important. Relaxation and meditation or even getting a massage are all ways of taking just a bit of time out for yourself. A way to reward yourself for all that you do.
• Helping your loved ones will make you so happy.
• Do something creative, or keep a journal to help organize and clear your thoughts.
• If you feel sad, sing about it. If you feel happy, sing about it.
• When you are feeling down, remember that you won't be sad forever and you will find happiness.
• Stay away from people who make you sad.
• Stay out of fights. Mind your own business and try not to blend into other people's problems, unless someone asks you for help - then you should definitely help them. Their gratefulness will make you feel a lot happier after helping them, and you will realize how great it is.
• Smile even if there is nothing to smile about.
• Explore some of the online courses that take an in depth look at happiness through the concept of sustainable happiness.
• If you come across a bad situation, think about all of the positives.
• Insist on appreciating what you have.
• Don't work first thing in the morning. Avoid emailing in bed. Instead, listen to your favorite track.
• If you find yourself unhappy frequently, talk to a trusted friend or family member, or get a diary and write down emotions and experiences you feel have caused you to be unhappy, sad, agitated, etc.
• Happiness is always knocking at your door. Just open the door and feel it.
• If it's a person bringing you down, you may need a break from them. Try to just go outside without anyone following you and sit.
• Try to not be fake. Don't constantly giggle, take "selfies", and try not to listen to criticizing if you want to do something or wear something. Do it !! You are who you are and nobody can change that. Not even you.
• When you're purposely trying to be happy or cheerful, but just can't seem to achieve it at the moment, do something crazy. Stupid, crazy, weird actions seem pointless, but could actually lift your mood -- just because you're glad you did it. Most fundamentally, recognize that happiness is a state of mind, not something to be defined objectively. You can change your state of mind in many ways including these suggestions:
◦ Turn your favorite music up loud and do a dance to it. Talk to yourself in the mirror.
◦ Write a funny or inspiring quote on your mirror/wall/locker.
◦ Scream as loud as you can (warn your family first!) and bounce up and down; jump all around.
◦ If it's a hot day, get your swimsuit on, go outside and turn the hose on yourself.
Keep the right company. Friends should be selected very carefully, not just to avoid loneliness, as more often than we realize bad friends can be very damaging. Friends who are not on a persons intellectual level, are greedy, are sadists, jealous etc. can suck the life energy out of that person. It is better to have no friends or less friends than having such friends.
• Select friends who are on same or better intellectual level than you are, who do not try to distract you, rather guide you towards your goals, who are not continuously indulging in negative talks and who share common interests. These are some qualities that will help you in selecting better friends and thus increase the quality of both your friend's as well as your life.
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