You are responsible for your own happiness.
That’s what our marriage counselor told my wife and me a few days before we jumped the broom. At the time, I didn’t get it. I thought as a couple, we were supposed to complete each other and therefore make each other happy. It didn’t fully register until a few years into our marriage that no matter how well intentioned my wife or I were, we could not “change” each other and therefore our ability to “make” each other happy was futile. Sure, I could tell a joke and make her laugh or she could surprise me with tickets to the game and light up my face with a smile but ultimately those things were not happiness, they were kind acts with kind responses. Happiness is much greater, it’s much deeper, and it can only be self-directed.
If you are struggling with your own happiness, the following are 14 things you must know:
1) Know The Ingredients Of Happiness
There are three keys to happiness. You must have all:
a) Pleasure (stuff that feels good in the moment – go anywhere you want with that statement…lol)
b) Meaning (belief/religion/philosophy)
c) Engagement (interaction with family & friends)
2) Visit The Double G (Gold’s Gym & God’s House)
Exercise and religion both make us happy and it’s because they provide small boosts to well-being on a regular basis. Although, do them separately. I once tried working out at my church and it was a miserable experience 🙂
3) Understand Rich People Are Not Happier
Don’t think Diddy is truly any happier than you. Well, on second thought, Diddy might be but know the super-wealthy aren’t that much happier than the average person. Studies show once you make 75K a year, more money doesn’t make you all that much happier.
4) Buy More Experiences And Fewer Material Goods
This means more putt-putt golf and vacations. Fewer cars and less new TV’s. In a survey from the Journal of Consumer Psychology, people were asked which of two purchases made them happier, nearly 60% of respondents reported that they had derived greater happiness from their experiential purchase, while only 31% reported greater happiness from their material purchase.
5) Be A Giver
It’s the first of the month, you just got paid, and you’re thinking making it rain on yourself is the quickest route to happiness. WRONG! Several studies show that those that give or what’s called buy “prosocially” (ex: day-to-day activities that include friends and family) are happier than those that simply spend on personal items.
6) Drop The Mean Muggers In Your Crew
Research by Nicholas Christakis, a social scientist and internist at Harvard, states “the reality is straightforward: our friends strongly shape our behavior. We imagine ourselves as individuals, responsible for our own choices and emotions, but that sense of independence is a romantic myth. There is no wall between people.” So this means happier friends, happier you! No Mean Muggin!
7) Don’t Move To Russia
I found this to be fascinating, here are the happiest and least happy places to live in the world – Russia is not the best look.
8) Set Ambitious Goals
People who set conservative goals have a harder time achieving satisfaction than those who set ambitious goals. This is according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
9) Know Happiness Can Come In A Few Seconds
Thinking about the absence of a positive event from your life allows you to better appreciate the presence of that positive event in your life. Try it!
10) Think Faster
The Psychology of Science reports that we experience an independent increase in positive mood when we think fast rather than slow. Therefore, I’m going to need everyone to read this entire blog post again, but do it in 30 seconds!
11) Take Vacations
12) Tell Someone “Thank You”
“Thank you” is one of the most powerful word combinations. Use it often but use it genuinely. The result is a sense of overwhelming gratitude.
13) Spend More Time With Family & Friends
Happiness expert Daniel Gilbert prophetically stated in an interview ”We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.”
14) Do This Gratitude Exercise…
Take a few minutes to write down 5 things you’re grateful for each week. Do this for 10 weeks. Studies show those who follow this simple exercise exhibit higher levels of happiness.