Seven Habits of Happy People

There are hundreds of books, TV documentaries, and even entire seminars devoted to remedying human misery.  Recently, there has been a dramatic surge in studies focusing on the “science” of happiness.  Through these studies, psychologists have been able to pinpoint some specific ways of thinking and acting that strongly impact our happiness and peace of mind.  Let’s review the seven main habits of happy people that have been identified.

#1 Relationships – People who have one or more close friendships are happier.  Sharing your personal feelings with a friend or relative and showing a genuine interest in other people and responding to them in encouraging ways are both powerful in enriching relationships and cultivating positive emotions.

#2 Acts of Kindness – People who volunteer or simply care for others on a consistent basis seem to be happier and less depressed.  “Caring” can include involved participation in an organized group or club or can be as simple as reaching out to a person who looks lonely or is struggling with an issue.

#3 Exercise and Physical Well-being – We need to eat well and keep moving.  Regular exercise is associated with improved mental well-being and a decreased incidence of depression. Think of the old saying, “sound body, sound mind.”  There is also a significant link between exercise, sugar consumption, and depression.

#4 Flow – If we are deeply involved in trying to reach a goal or a specific challenging (but enjoyable) activity, we experience a joyful state called “flow.”  These activities may include sports, music, teaching – these can all stimulate intrinsic motivation.  In other words, when you are doing something you like, you usually do it well and happiness ensues.

#5 Spirituality – There is a close link between spiritual or religious practices and happiness.  Spirituality is closely related to the pursuit and discovery of deeper meaning in our lives.  Living a meaningful life helps us cultivate a level of happiness.

#6 Strengths and Virtues – The happiest people are those that have discovered their unique strengths and gifts as well as virtues and used those for a purpose that is greater than their own personal goals.  And yes, we all have strengths and virtues!

#7 Positive Mindset – A sense of gratitude, mindfulness, and hope are inherent in happy people.  People with these attributes have a greater level of optimism, sense of belonging, and lower incidence of depression and stress.

How many of these traits do you possess?  Nurture those and develop those you don’t.  It’s time to get happy!

Consider this:

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”   Robert Brault

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping up a present and not giving it.”  William Arthur Ward

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