Examining how to be happy is benefited from observing the patterns of others, and then taking only what you find useful. Inspiration is the goal, not rigid rules on being happy.
Below I’ll cover a few of my favorite studies.
1. Be Busy, but Not Rushed
Easier said than done, right?
Quite true, because although the research shows that feeling “rushed” is a one-way street to stress and unhappiness, it also notes that less and less people can find that happy medium of being just busy enough.
2. Treat Yourself (the Small Pleasures Matter)
Jokes aside about treating yourself, surprisingly, the research has shown that you need to have small wins along the way in order to be truly happy — across many different domains, happiness is more strongly associated with the frequency than the intensity of people’s positive effective experiences.
3. Plan Fun, and Spend Money on Experiences
While spontaneous fun is always a good thing, a variety of interesting research has shown that it’s the planning of future activities that often adds to the fun.
4. Show Some Appreciation
Psychology doesn’t always tell us what we want to hear, so it’s nice when a good deed lines up with a great personal benefit.
5. Observe Happiness in Others
This one was really interesting.
Most of us like to think we are unique snowflakes, but sometimes things are popular for a reason. In fact, research suggests that the best way to predict how much we will enjoy an experience is to see how much someone else enjoyed it.
6. Pick a Skill; Master It
Excellence in anything increases your potential in everything.
As it turns out, regularly engaging in your signature strengths (is that not the most stereotypical positive psychology term ever?) is a great way to feel better about yourself.
Be happy. Smile when you read this. Take a deep breath. It’s okay. Things will pass. Everything is temporary and so is your sorrows.