Men's relationships at age 47, he found, predicted late-life adjustment better than any other variable. Good sibling relationships seem especially powerful: Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness. I think that last line is especially fascinating: So we could increase our annual income by hundreds of thousands of dollars and still not be as happy as we would if we increased the strength of our social relationships. The Terman study, covered in The Longevity Project , found that relationships and how we help others were important factors in living long, happy lives:.
We figured that if a Terman participant sincerely felt that he or she had friends and relatives to count on when having a hard time then that person would be healthier. Those who felt very loved and cared for, we predicted, would live the longest. Beyond social network size, the clearest benefit of social relationships came from helping others.
Those who helped their friends and neighbors, advising and caring for others, tended to live to old age.
In The Happiness Advantage , Shawn Achor recommends spending time in the fresh air to improve your happiness:. Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory This is pretty good news for those of us who are worried about fitting new habits into our already-busy schedules.
Twenty minutes is a short enough time to spend outside that you could fit it into your commute or even your lunch break. A UK study from the University of Sussex also found that being outdoors made people happier:. Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments. The American Meteorological Society published research in that found current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity, or even the average temperature over the course of a day.
It also found that happiness is maximized at 57 degrees The connection between productivity and temperature is another topic we've talked about more here. It's fascinating what a small change in temperature can do. One of the most counterintuitive pieces of advice I found is that to make yourself feel happier, you should help others. In fact, hours per year or two hours per week is the optimal time we should dedicate to helping others in order to enrich our lives.
Spending money on other people, called "prosocial spending," also boosts happiness. The Journal of Happiness Studies published a study that explored this very topic:. Participants recalled a previous purchase made for either themselves or someone else and then reported their happiness.
Afterward, participants chose whether to spend a monetary windfall on themselves or someone else. Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happier immediately after this recollection; most importantly, the happier participants felt, the more likely they were to choose to spend a windfall on someone else in the near future.
So spending money on other people makes us happier than buying stuff for ourselves. But what about spending our time on other people? A study of volunteering in Germany explored how volunteers were affected when their opportunities to help others were taken away:. Volunteering was still widespread. Due to the shock of the reunion, a large portion of the infrastructure of volunteering e. Based on a comparison of the change in subjective well-being of these people and of people from the control group who had no change in their volunteer status, the hypothesis is supported that volunteering is rewarding in terms of higher life satisfaction.
In his book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being , University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman explains that helping others can improve our own lives:.
Smiling can make us feel better, but it's more effective when we back it up with positive thoughts, according to this study:. A new study led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts--such as a tropical vacation or a child's recital--improve their mood and withdraw less. Of course it's important to practice "real smiles" where you use your eye sockets. You've seen fake smiles that don't reach the person's eyes.
Smile with just your mouth.
Then smile naturally; your eyes narrow. There's a huge difference in a fake smile and a genuine smile. According to PsyBlog , smiling can improve our attention and help us perform better on cognitive tasks:. Smiling makes us feel good which also increases our attentional flexibility and our ability to think holistically. When this idea was tested by Johnson et al.
Smiling is one way to reduce the distress caused by an upsetting situation. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis. Even forcing a smile when we don't feel like it is enough to lift our mood slightly this is one example of embodied cognition. As opposed to actually taking a holiday, simply planning a vacation or break from work can improve our happiness. A study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that the highest spike in happiness came during the planning stage of a vacation as people enjoy the sense of anticipation:.
Plenty of celibate and asexual people lead happy and fulfilling lives. Not Helpful 33 Helpful What would you do if you had no obstacles and there was no chance of failure? Answer that question and you'll be on your way to figuring out your personal outlook and goals. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.
Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. Tips Don't replay bad experiences of your life except to understand the events. Think often about the good ones and the new ones; remember every day is a new chance. Talk about love, dreams or anything that makes you feel happy. Avoid dwelling on negative emotions and practice being positive. If being around someone is making you feel bad, avoid that person if possible. Working toward your own personal goals , don't confuse yours goals with ones of parents or friends, but follow your vision.
Figure out what will make you feel accomplishment, and make one step at a time to get there. You feel the way you think. A simple way to look at this is the following equation: Your beliefs also contribute along with the triggering event to how you feel. So changing the way you look at things such as an attitude will result in a big change in how you feel in response to situations that trigger negative emotions in you. As a rule of thumb, remember that anything that makes you feel bad for longer than than several minutes is self-inflicted.
It's your thought process, and not just the actual event that largely makes you feel the way you do a concept from cognitive behavioral therapy. Don't be ashamed ; when and if you fall, get back up and dust yourself off and go again Remember that most of what you're stressing over now will be irrelevant in a year. And when you had a bad day there is always a new chance to make next time or tomorrow better.
So I decided to create this complete guide for how to be happy, according to science. If you use these 23 practices consistently, you are very. How to Be Happy. Happiness is not a simple goal, but is about making progress, when it's as elusive as ever. Being happy often means continually finding.
When you fall, you may get a scratch or a broken bone but it will heal. Take deep breaths, and smile , even if there is nothing to smile about. Relaxation and meditation or prayer can be very helpful, if you believe in it. Even getting a massage is a way of taking just a bit of time out for yourself, as a way to reward yourself for all that you do.
Try to love others as you love yourself a little more. Happiness stems from feeling good about the things around you and how they affect you. Look in the mirror, and feel happy that this one who is looking back at you is a survivor. Don't let what people do or say to you affect you negatively. If somebody says something to insult you, do not respond back, as they will tend to bother you more.
Don't ever be bored with who you are. Choose to appreciate your opportunity. Boredom is a personal problem. Take action to improve issues. Always look on the bright side.
The past is gone and you can't change it. Be purposely cheerful and talk positively, then people will enjoy being around you, and you can enjoy their appreciation! Talk it out with someone that you trust, if you are unhappy, even if you don't know why. The exchange of ideas and feelings is healing and usually provides some level of satisfaction or peace. Focus on making the best out of each goal you have.
Be content with who you are because nobody's 'the perfect one'. Finding time for you is important. Think about how lucky you are, by expressing gratefulness for anything you have.
It depends on you, whether you would rather sulk in the darkness than appreciate the many little things life has to offer. Know the thing which makes you happy whenever you do it.
It may be listening music, painting, writing poetry and do it whenever you are depressed. Give your self a hug and appreciate that you got chosen to live and do something great! If you are constantly unhappy or depressed, seek professional help. Hedonic relativism and planning the good society. Affective and social self-regulatory efficacy beliefs as determinants of positive thinking and happiness. European Psychologist, 10 4 , pp. Cross-cultural correlates of life satisfaction and self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, pp.
Is gratitude a moral affect? Psychological Bulletin, , Cognitive-behavioral therapy for adults. The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology, 9 2, pp. Becoming happier takes both a will and a proper way: An experimental longitudinal intervention to boost well-being. Emotion, 11 2 , p. Pastoral Psychology, 62 4 , — A process and outcome framework. Review of General Psychology, 15 4. Handbook of positive psychology pp. The effects of being recovered on work-related flow between and within days. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99 4 , pp.
Effect of kindness-based meditation on health and well-being: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82 6 , pp. Positive emotion dissociation, social connectedness, and psychological functioning. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4 , pp. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 5 4 , pp. Did this summary help you? Time 60 Score 0. Want to try again? Want to play a fun game and learn about wikiHow?
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This will help me get out of the mess I'm in. Thank you for creating this article. A Anonymous Dec 18, When I viewed this article through the end, I realized I should stop doing such stuff and start a new good personality with happiness inside me. I'll always be thankful to God.
BM Beatrix Murray May 4, I love being happy, but I'm depressed most of the time. Reading this article really helped, I tried most of these suggestions and I feel like I achieved the goal of being happy.
Thanks a lot, wikiHow! G Grace Oct 15, I found it very helpful because I've just been in a bad mood lately and now I know 1 how to embrace me and who I am and 2 how to be happy again. I am glad I came across it! I absolutely love this site! It is so helpful and has so many amazing drawings. This article along with all of the others on this site was so helpful and makes me motivated! I love your drawings so much! SM Sarang Mandhani Apr 26, I am happy to get reminded about it. I thank your effort for bringing this positive change in my life. A Anonymous Jun 25, She has been mistreated by her abusive parents but that got sorted out and she thanks you, she loves your article SO much, thanks again!
HM Hope Mwaura Dec 7, Along with the one about self-improvement, the illustrations are also quite appealing! DN Donna Nash May 6, Your advice wasn't hokey. It was almost funny sometimes. I actually found myself laughing and smiling. I think your illustrations are a hoot. Thank you very much. JK Jacob Katoa Nov 7, I've been going to a therapist, but it's been 2 weeks and today I had lots of anger, sadness, and depression in me. MP Monique Paquette May 4, I found it to be extremely thought-provoking, informative, and uplifting.
BK Bhalchandra Kulkarni Jul 11, Active gratitude and other tips given are really true. If we follow the same, surely we will be happy. A Anonymous Aug 5, Thanks for the article. I appreciate everything from it. The details combined with the steps are epic. Titles give you a big idea. I've suffered from depression for years, and I'm trying to find myself one step at a time!
KR Katelynn Rilling May 21, Trying these methods really helped me manage the stress I was experiencing. A Anonymous Sep 18, The two points really helped me. These guidelines for sure will help you to be positive and happy, no matter what you are going through! RA Rozan Abdlhamid Jul 12, Now, I have answers for all my questions about happiness. AK Avishek Kumar Feb 11, Walk and talk together. I had a couple minor body issues last year. A bum foot for a week this summer, and a tweaked lower back in December. I also stopped going to the gym to lift weights last year.
But pretty quickly, I felt my muscles disappearing. My core strength and balance, along with my confidence and mood, were eroding. Recently I got back into the gym. My back feels better. I feel much better. Moving your body is always a good idea.
Last year, I decided to try something new: Not only did I set intentions for the year, but I set them for particular moments. One night before a workshop, I jotted down 3 intentions for myself and stuck it in my wallet:. Which influenced my state of being. Which influenced my acts of doing. It was the best workshop I delivered, I had the most fun, and I think the participants walked away taller and more confident as well.
Intentions point us back home. Get back on track. I remember interviewing Alastair Humphreys about his life and career as an adventurer, filmmaker and author:. We all need money to live. The problem with work today is that it seems binary: Many people I know are living a new alternative: Enough to live the kind of lifestyle they want. And then filling the rest of their time with what gives them joy.
Which might be more work. But now it seems to be part of the solution. Last year, I experimented with enough. I left my full time gig at Escape The City to occasionally freelance. My joy is found in the balance of working and earning enough. To me, leading with heart is synonymous with acting on your agency. Wanting to do something…and deciding to do it. Feeling pulled by something…and allowing yourself to chase that something.
Often it takes you through heartbreak or tragedy first. Head can stay on board, but only as first mate. I drift toward to safer path or some tropical island of opportunity, instead of where I truly feel pulled. Allow yourself to chase what pulls you.