Did you know that:
- Once basic needs are met, more money does not bring more happiness,
- People whose basic values are money, image and status are less satisfied, more depressed, more anxious and less vital than those whose values are personal growth, having close relationships and concern for others’ well-being.
- The country of Bhutan tracks the Gross National Happiness of its people and considers it more important than its Gross National Product.
The positive psychology movement is only about 20 years old and was developed to scientifically study and enhance positive human psychology. Positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubominsky conducted research that point to 12 things you can do to increase your levels of happiness.
- Express gratitude. Gratitude is the secret to life. Count your blessings daily.
- Cultivate optimism. Life has its ups and downs. It’s important to remember when you’re down that you’ll be up again. And maybe, just maybe, you will learn a deep life lesson from the adversity.
- Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. You’ve been given a good mind, but over-thinking usually leads to circular negative thinking. What’s the alternative? Acceptance of what is.
- Practice acts of kindness. The best way to get out of your own way. And it produces serotonin.
- Nurture social relationships. People with strong social relationships live longer. We are social beings and we need to be interconnected.
- Develop strategies for coping. This is different from over-thinking; it’s about coming up with creative alternatives and developing resilience.
- Learn to forgive. This is a tricky one. It doesn’t mean forgetting and it doesn’t mean that what has happened to you was okay. It’s about acceptance of the reality of what happened and freeing yourself from toxic anger and bitterness.
- Increase flow experiences. Aaah, flow: the experience of being completely in the moment. The vehicle can be most anything, sex, or being creative, being fully engaged in a project, or feeling deeply into your senses.
- Savor life’s joys. This one is a blending of gratitude and flow, of taking the time to give and receive pleasure.
- Commit to your goals. Having a purpose, finding what is deeply important to you and pursuing it.
- Practice spirituality. Connecting to yourself and something greater than yourself, whether it is a higher power, or redwoods, love, or connection to all living beings.
- Take care of your body. Care for what is housing your intellect, your emotions, your sensations and your essence.
We loved seeing these strategies supported by neuroscience research, validating the wise actions that many of us have been cultivating for years. We did find some things we spend more time with and some that had fallen away. Lee Ann especially liked being remind of flow. You?
–Happy the movie
The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky,
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Excellence. Mihaly Csikszentimihalyi