Positive psychology, fathered by Martin Seligman, defines three different kinds of happy lives:
The Pleasant Life – Where you fill your life with as many pleasures as you can.
The Life of Engagement – Where you find a life in your work, parenting, love and leisure.
The Meaningful Life – Which “consists of knowing what your highest strengths are, and using them to belong to and in service of something larger than you are.”
Martin Seligman, also theorizes that 60 percent of happiness is determined by our genetics and environment, and the remaining 40 percent is up to us.
Seligman’s research provides us with a surprising finding – The pursuit of pleasure has hardly any contribution to lasting fulfillment. With that said – the feat of living a life of engagement and fulfillment is enough to make most of us overwhelmed or left pondering…
But happy people have habits you can introduce into your life – And these habits may add to the bigger picture of long-term happiness. Here are just a few of them:
Surround Yourself with Other Happy People
Happiness, Joy, Bliss – What do these things have in common? They’re all contagious.
People who surround themselves with other happy people are more likely to be happy in the future. This reason alone is enough to get rid of those in your life who are chronic complainers and debbie downers.
Smile When You Mean It
When you feel like smiling – do it. Smile when you’re by yourself, with others, or just for the heck of it.
Some of us may hold back our smiles because others around us are not smiling. To heck with that! If you’re happy and you know it – Show us those pearly whites and smile big and bright.
You know what happy people know what to do best? Bounce back from setbacks and failures.
As the Japanese proverb goes: Fall seven times and stand up eight.
As humans – we are bound to face hardship – but cultivating resilience is a lifelong tool to help you stand up tall when the going gets tough.
Try to be Happy
Yes, that’s correct! Try to be happy.
The act of trying to be happy is enough to boost your emotional well-being according to studies published in The Journal of Positive Psychology.
Celebrate the Good
When is the last time you had a victory dance? Meaning – when did you celebrate your latest accomplishments?
Happy people celebrate the big wins and the small wins. Take time to acknowledge all that is going right in your life and have yourself a celebration.
Fresh air. A cold ice cream cone on a hot day. Sun that peaks out of the clouds after a long winter. A fun family dinner party. Happy people take time to notice the things in life they really appreciate.
Finding meaning in the little things has been associated with an increase in happiness and contentment.
Be of Service
Happy people fill their days up with activities that benefit others. Which in turn, provides them with a sense of accomplishment, fulfillment and joy.
Volunteer work and service based work has been linked to an increase in happiness and better physical health. Bonus – Being of service to others also helps combat depression.
Lose Track of Time Every Now and Then
When you engage in an activity that is challenging, meaningful and invigorating – you experience a state of flow. Happy people routinely seek this sensation of being swept up or carried away – Why?
A flow-state is associated with feelings of success and fulfillment. Get your flow-state on by finding activities that are enjoyable, motivating, and require skill and a bit of challenge.
Opt for Deep Conversations
“How about that weather?” Water cooler talk. Many of us engage in these types of conversations daily. But what about deep conversations? You know, those types of conversations that move you, make you think differently and ponder new and exciting ideas?
Deeper conversations provide us with a sense of satisfaction and connection with others.
You know what one of the top five regrets of the dying is?
I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Rather than spending time talking about the weather, carve out space to talk about things that make your heart sing and melt.
When you actively listen to others – you demonstrate confidence and respect for others. Good listening skills strengthen your relationships with others and eventually lead to more satisfying experiences.
Cherish In-Person Connection
It’s so easy to connect with others with the technology we have. Send a quick text, have a FaceTime conversation, send a tweet or private message on Facebook. That’s all great. But you know what’s even better?
We all have a primitive need to belong – and this need is met when we have personal interactions with others. Get your primal needs met by having coffee with a friend on a regular basis – you most likely will find that you feel more fulfilled after connecting with others in person.
Happy people make it a point to deliberately unplug and disconnect from electronics. In our hyper-connected world – it’s easy to experience information overload.
Give yourself a moment of peace by unplugging. Turn off your electronics a few hours before bed, refrain from checking your email first thing in the morning, and opt to read a book at lunch time rather than scrolling through social media.
Unfortunately, an increase in screen time on electronic devices has been linked to depression, anxiety and all sorts of damaging emotions.
A religious practice, however you choose to practice, has been linked to an increase in happiness.
Which ever way you practice, do it more often! Exercising your faith has been linked to an increase in happiness and fulfillment.
Make exercise a priority – much like you make brushing your teeth a priority. You’ll read it again and you will continue to read it over time – exercise gives you a dose of endorphins, and those endorphins make you happy.
(Bonus – Exercising makes us appreciate our bodies more!)
Get those sunglasses out and grab a hat! Getting outside for just a brief dose of fresh air can reactivate your sense of vitality and make you feel alive.
Nature is fuel for your life. Next time you feel depleted – rather than reaching for that latte – head on outside and let the fresh air and sun fill up your soul.
Get Your Zzzzzz’s
If you’re running low on sleep – you’re more prone to bad moods, cognitive lag and poor judgement. Getting enough rest can dramatically increase your overall sense of happiness.
More sleep – More happiness.
Happiness is a path we all want to walk – I mean, why wouldn’t you want to be happy?!
But many of us feel overwhelmed when seeking happiness. The habits of extremely happy people are quite simple, but many of us tend to overlook them in our fast-paced lives.
Give one or two of these habits a try and see what happens!
What habits do you have that help you feel happy?