Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness. These are changes we can make to feel the effects of joyful living (Positive Thoughts).
- Express gratitude. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. It is difficult to find contentment when we are not thankful for what we already have.
- Cultivate optimism. – Finding the silver lining in situations creates the opportunity to grow personally and learn a new lesson from life. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in challenging times.
- Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. – Comparing yourself to someone else can be dangerous. If we’re somehow ‘better’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of superiority. If we’re ‘worse’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, we usually discredit the hard work that we’ve done and dismiss all the progress that we’ve made. If you feel compelled to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.
- Practice acts of kindness. – Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain. (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.) Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside. What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness. How extraordinary is that? Bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching what’s going on. A side note is that the job of most anti-depressants is to release more serotonin.
- Nurture social relationships. – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships. Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely?
- Develop strategies for coping. – How you respond to the ‘difficult’ moments is what shapes your character. It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.
- Learn to forgive. – Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being. Your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion. When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system. You put yourself in a state of victimization and it stays with you throughout your day.
- Increase flow experiences. – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still. It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task. Action and awareness are merged. You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional. You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing. Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.
- Savor life’s joys. – When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic. It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.
- Commit to your goals. – Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force. Being committed makes humans happier because it gives our existence a purpose.
- Practice spirituality. – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us. It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists.
- Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be. If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected. Studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft? Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.
A.C.T. will provide free resource information for individuals and families to help promote education. For more information, please contact Dr. Drecun at Dr.Drecun@a4ct.com or (858) 792-3541. You may also visit us online at www.a4ct.com. ACT serves the Del Mar 92014 and Carmel Valley 92130 area.