Don't Worry, Be Happy
Unlock secrets to happiness, and don’t wait for it to find you.
Why do some people seem so happy? Are they all “stopping to smell the roses?” It appears so.
The happiest people seem to have tapped into unique activities that most of us have forgotten along the way.
A closer look at our own experiences, as well as research data*, suggests that the secret to happiness does not lie in any goods, relationships or achievements, but rather in what we can give: not just material gifts, but gifts of time, gifts of love, gifts of ourselves.
In fact, researchers learned upbeat people don't wait for happiness to find them—they create their own happiness. Try some of their proven methods:
Preserve everyday moments with pictures of such things as your pets, the neighborhood kids playing in the park or family dinners. Alternatively, a calendar can be used to jot short entries beneath each date: "January 9: Went to lunch with Colleen." Use a journal if you want to add more detail. Leafing through your log years from now will help you recollect pleasant memories.
The Little Details
For instance: the way your baby folds his thumbs under his fingers when he sleeps or the flower garden you pass on your way to work each day. Try to pay more attention to the simple things that make you smile. Begin your own mental list of unforgettable details each morning and see how long it has grown by the end of the night.
Attitude of Gratitude
It's no secret that stress can make us sick. Gratitude, however, can do the opposite. Researchers have connected the frequency of feeling grateful to more energy, more optimism, more social connections and better health than those who are not grateful. Be thankful for what makes your life special, unique and irreplaceable.
Has it been a long time since you turned off the TV and tuned in to your thoughts? An empty page will listen without judgment and bear the burden of your worries. Write, sketch or paint your emotions or try composing music, dancing or even taking a walk.
Rituals shouldn't only be around the holidays. Create your own. They can be as simple as a family game night, an after-dinner stroll with your neighbor, brushing your daughter’s hair before bed each night or as elaborate as planning a neighborhood block party. Large or small, these traditions can enrich your life.
The health benefits of owning a pet can include decreased stress, and improved self-esteem and motivation – all factors that lead to a happier life.
Overcome Negative Thoughts
A positive attitude can add vigor to your mind and body. Those who cope with extremely stressful life challenges with a realistic approach and positive attitude slowed their aging process and boosted their happiness.
A Generous Heart
One reason compassion makes us happy is by expanding our perspective beyond ourselves. Volunteering your time doesn't just help others; it benefits your heart, mind and health too.
Want more secrets to happiness? Write down all the good things in your life, focus on being satisfied with what you have and easily adapt to change.