If one of your New Year's resolutions include finding happiness, we've got 10 happiness-boosting tips for you.
HAPPINESS IS INFECTIOUSAccording to recent findings from the Framingham Heart Study, your happiness is largely dependent on the happiness of those around you. The study, recently published in the British Medical Journal, suggests that happiness is catching and that emotional states – such as happiness – can be transferred from one person to another – directly and indirectly. So not only is finding happiness going to be a healthy boon for you, it is also going to foster happiness in those to whom you are connected.
HAPPINESS TIP #1: CULTIVATE GRATITUDELike happiness, being thankful and more positive in your everyday life can be contagious – just as being negative and always complaining can be quite catching. In her article Five ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, Susie Michelle Cortright says, “Help your friends develop more positive traits by living those positive traits yourself. Know what kind of friends will help you nurture your soul, and set out to find some.”
HAPPINESS TIP #2: BANISH YOUR BAD MOODSAccording to Handan T. Satiroglu, author of Be Happy: Tips to banish bad moods, finding happiness is taking time to play and including laughter into your every day. She explains, “Laughter is a marvelous medicine with no side effects. It is the great tranquilizer of life. In all stages of laughter, the brain releases endorphins, those feel-good compounds that increase your sense of peace and serenity. Laughter even stops hyperventilation, regulates digestion, blood pressure, and boosts immunity function.”
HAPPINESS TIP #3: DON’T THINK YOU CAN BUY HAPPINESSA study published in the British Medical Journal suggests money won’t buy you happiness. Research from Mexico, Ghana, Sweden, USA and the UK shows that despite vastly different levels of wealth, citizens of these countries report similar levels of satisfaction. And most advanced nations have seen almost no change to individuals' happiness levels over the last 50 years, despite a huge hike in income. Researchers suggest focusing on family and personal relationships as key to finding long-term happiness.
HAPPINESS TIP #4: GET HITCHEDA study out of Cornell University suggests that committed relationships increase happiness. Researchers found that married people are the happiest, followed by people who cohabit, those in steady relationships and then those in casual relationships. Unpartnered people report the lowest levels of well-being and happiness.
HAPPINESS TIP #5: STAY EMOTIONALLY CONNECTEDIt’s not enough to simply be in a relationship, you must also foster a strong emotional connection. A study in the journal Social Forces indicates that emotional engagement is the key to marital happiness. Research suggests that wives are far happier when they feel emotionally connected to their husbands. So instead of just searching for happiness, focus on ways to bring you and your significant closer.
HAPPINESS TIP #6: TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT HAPPINESSIn the article Five ways to raise joyful kids, our health and wellness experts recommend finding what in life makes your own spirit sing and revel in it. Your kids learn about life from you – and by prioritizing self-care (aka doing things that make you happy), you are teaching them the importance of self-nurture, which is a key in finding happiness. Happiness is contagious – they will catch it from you and then give it to others, now and into adulthood.
HAPPINESS TIP #7: GIVE IN TO TEMPTATIONWith the rat race of life, it is crucial for you to stop and savor something pleasurable or even indulgent – on a regular basis. In the article Seven secrets to happiness, author Meaghan Buchan recommends, “Splurge on a gourmet sandwich one day for lunch instead of brown bagging it. Surf the Web rather than returning that hundredth e-mail. Get the deluxe spa pedicure.” Giving into temptation every once in a while will reaffirm the hope that long-term happiness is possible.
HAPPINESS TIP #8: STRESS LESSThough it is definitely easier said than done, reducing your stress levels can help you in finding happiness. Sarah Wassner Flynn, author of Easy ways to reduce stress and boost your happiness, recommends sweating your stress away. “All you need is about 20 minutes each day to completely clear your head of your worries – even if it is only temporarily. Load up your iPod with high-energy playlists and go for a power walk or a run,” Flynn adds. And if exercise doesn’t do it for you, be sure to check out our top tips to reduce stress for even more ideas to lessen your stress and up your happy factor.
HAPPINESS TIP #9: ACCEPT WHAT ISYour perception is reality. If you look around you and everything is wonderful but you remain unhappy and unfulfilled, then the problem lies within you, with how you think or perceive life. In the article Enjoy what is, our health and wellness experts suggest that you learn to accept what is, cultivate a grateful attitude toward everything and give yourself permission to feel good and enjoy your life. Sometimes simply giving yourself permission to be happy is all it takes to eliminate and move beyond your limiting beliefs. You have permission! Be happy.
HAPPINESS TIP #10: PUT THE SECRETS OF HAPPINESS INTO PLAYIn my article The five secrets to happiness, John Izzo PhD, who is the author of The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die, says “It is not enough to know the secrets, we must live them. Someone once told me ‘If you want to live a happy life; ask someone who has lived one’.”
Finding happiness is as easy as putting the secrets of happiness into daily practice – and just think, you’ll be discovering happiness for yourself and fostering it in those around you, too.