- 23 Feb
11 Ways to Raise Your Happiness Levels
I spent much of my early life being unhappy and I believed that life outside of me—events and circumstances—were the driving force behind how I would experience my life. However, after a long struggle and a lot of searching I found that to be incorrect. It was, more than anything, going to be about my own mental attitude and behaviors.
I spent some part of the last decade studying happiness and have found that my own journey aligns with the research. Just 10 percent of our happiness levels are dependent on circumstances, 50 percent is to do with genetics, and a whopping 40 percent is in our own hands. Being happy is not just a fleeting feeling we get when things go “right”. It’s something each of us can cultivate and make sustainable through a specific set of intentional activities. I share 11 of those with you today.
1. Love Yourself
Self-love is a big part of being happy. We’re not talking about the ego, which is a fear-based attachment to identity and extrinsic worth. Self-love is a healthy, trusting friendship with you. Start loving the only person who’s guaranteed to stick around, no matter what.
2. Think Positively
Thinking positively has a direct link to what happens in our lives. The Dalai Lama, an expert on happiness, said, “Choose optimism, it feels better.” Well, not only will it make you feel good to be optimistic, according to research studies you’ll even live longer than pessimistic people!
3. Get Present
Several hundred studies have shown meditation to have significant positive effects on the physical, psychological, and emotional wellbeing of humans. Take a few minutes each day to just quiet your mind and be present.
4. Learn to Observe
When you get present enough, you’ll find you can observe your own thoughts and emotions, and doing this will allow you to detach from them. This detachment means you operate from a calm and centered state and make better decisions, which ultimately will make you happier.
5. Fall Apart Now and Then
Most humans hold on tight and try to “keep it together”. This takes a lot of energy, and is, in itself, a fearful choice. Every now and then, it can be very freeing to take yourself into a private space and cry, shout, or laugh loudly. Releasing pent up feelings leaves space for a relaxed joy to come in.
6. Unload Your Luggage
Ultimately, the past is not real. We keep it alive with our thoughts. Being able to complete emotional business from the past and forgive others is a path to happiness. Forgiveness frees you from the pain of the past and leaves room for your life to be good again.
7. Get Tribal
Research shows that people living in the slums of Calcutta, India feel happier than the people living in California, US. This is partly because there is a stronger sense of community in Calcutta than there is in California. Find your tribe and spend quality time with them.
8. Return to The Wild
We are hard-wired for nature. Research has found that even being able to see a plant on a balcony raises the happiness levels of people working in buildings. Get outside as much as you can and soak in the happiness.
9. Believe in Something Greater
Scientists believe there is a direct link between happiness and a belief in something greater than the self. Whatever “something greater” means to you, find a way to commune with it and give it importance.
10. Be Around Happy People
It has been found that an important ingredient of our own health and happiness is the level of happiness in the people we are around. Being around happy people increases the chance of us being happy by about 8–34 percent. Amazingly, even having a happy neighbor can increase our happiness by 34 percent!
11. Get an Attitude of Gratitude
Gratitude is fertilizer for happiness. It makes us focus on the good in our lives and that, in itself feels good. A great way to end each day is to take inventory on the things you’re grateful for by writing them down. You could take it even further and use your list as an excuse to celebrate your life!
About the Author
Justina Vail Evans
Justina is a personal development coach, speaker, award-winning author, and award-winning actor.