Attaining happiness is a global pursuit. From every corner of the world, researchers find that people rate happiness as being more important than obtaining wealth, accumulating material goods, and getting into heaven. While many of life’s circumstances are beyond our control, research shows that much of our happiness is within our control. As it turns out, the pursuit of happiness is key to increasing life satisfaction and promoting overall well-being.
What Is Happiness?
Happiness is an exhilarating and abstract state. Many scientists, philosophers, and psychologists have sought to define it for years. An entire branch, called positive psychology, has been dedicated to deciphering happiness since the 1990’s. Happiness is more than a positive mood. It is a state of well-being that comprises of living a good life full of meaning, purpose, and deep contentment. Happiness can improve physical health, whereby feelings of positivity and fulfillment can benefit cardiovascular health, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation levels and blood pressure, among many other health factors, including links to a longer lifespan.
The Link Between Happiness & Health
Happiness and health are intertwined. Attending to our health is an important component to maintaining our happiness and well-being. It is beneficial for us to observe and revise what makes us happy in order to continue to strive for fulfillment throughout our lifetime. By making changes to our diet, exercise, sleep, and other health components, we not only improve our health, but feel more content in our life.
Myths About Happiness
When we think of happiness, there are often some misconceptions as to how we can achieve and maintain it. In some cases, people believe that happiness can only be obtained once we reach a certain milestone, entertaining thoughts such as “I’ll be happy when I’m rich and successful;” “I’ll be happy when I find the perfect partner;” or even “I’ll be happy when I retire.”
Fortunately, we are excellent at adapting to new circumstances, meaning that even when we reach a critical milestone in life, we are likely to return to a baseline level of happiness and seek out our next goal. This same principle applies to setbacks. We are resilient and likely to discover happiness again as our life stabilizes after a major obstacle.
Four Principles of Happiness
Do you want to become happier than you are right now? Happiness can be achieved by working toward and applying the four main principles that produce it. The four principles of happiness can be divided into the following categories:
Thinking happy means cultivating a habit of thought that improves our life, provides us new ways of processing situations and our environment, and achieving a mentality of gratitude and joy.
5 Ways to Think Happy:
1. Think Positively
2. Think Creatively
3. Think Elevated Thoughts
4. Think Solutions
5. Think Long-Term Opportunity
Belief is a powerful tool. Believing happy impacts how we feel about our life and our self-worth, as well as our relationships with others.
5 Ways to Believe Yourself Happy:
1. Believe You Matter
2. Believe Life Has Meaning & Purpose
3. Believe You Are Strong
4. Believe Change is Possible
5. Believe Happiness Comes from Within
Acting happy can put a brighter shine on your life. Happiness requires action. We must do certain things and act on them consistently in order to reap the benefits of a happier life.
5 Ways to Act Happy:
1. Do Random Acts of Kindness
2. Move Your Body
3. Do the Right Thing
4. Build Meaningful Relationships
5. Explore Things Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Living happy matters to how we feel at our core. In large part, our character builds the foundation of happiness in our lives.
5 Ways to Live Happy:
1. Be Humble
2. Be Loving
3. Be Forgiving
4. Be Selfless
5. Be Patient
If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health crisis and need immediate assistance, call our crisis hotline at 844-493-8255, or text ‘TALK’ to 38255.