Did you know that only 10% of our happiness is down to our circumstances? That is our status, wealth, health, material things?
Well apparently it’s true! At least according to psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky. Moreover, 50% is down to genetics – some of us are predisposed to be mostly happy, while others are not so much. This however then leaves a staggering 40% that is down to intentional actions. This means that we can control this 40% and do things that will make us happier.
How awesome is that?
So – what are you going to do to increase your likelihood of being happy?
(Clue: it’s NOT about getting more “stuff” – one of the most unhappy nations in the world is also one of the countries with the most “stuff” – Japan. And remember, only 10% of our happiness is down to circumstance and status.
So what will help increase our happiness? There are lots of models and thoughts out there, but here are some tips that will massively help you along your way to bliss:
- Practice gratitude
This is an easy one which can have a massive impact but so few people do it. Take just 5 minutes every day to think about three things that you are grateful for. If you journal this, that’s even better. This focuses your mind on the positive and helps it to form a habit of tuning into the positive all by itself. It’s important to do this every day – even those days which are pretty sucky. Come on, even on your worst of days, you can find three things to be grateful for – you woke up this morning right? Your lungs have taken in air. You have the power of [fill in the gap here, eg. sight, working limbs, hearing, mental capacity etc.] than many people don’t. The more you do this exercise, the easier it will become, and the more you will find you have to be grateful for. I like to do this out loud with my family. Try it. It’s a lovely thing to share together.
- Do more Random Acts of Kindness
Kindness is a lovely thing to both do and receive. You will definitely get a lovely sense of wellbeing, and the person on the recieivng end will also feel much better too. A true win win scenario! ANd what a better world this would be if we could all be more kind. Kindness can be anything, no matter how small – a smile at a stranger, holding the door for somebody. offering to go that extra mile – or just going that extra mile without even offering.
Physical exercise releases endorphins which interact with the receptors in your brain and trigger a positive feeling in the body. Endorphins also act as analgesics, so they diminish the perception of pain. So doing physical exercise is all shades of good for us! The trick here is to find something you really enjoy doing and that way you are far more likely to stick at it.
Being mindful is so important in today’s hectif lives. The more you can take time out to just focus on being in the present moment, the more your mind will clear and let you be happy with who you are, where you are and what is. Try it. Just 5 minutes mediation a day can make a HUGE difference to your feeling of happiness.
- Spend time with positive people
The more you surround yourself with people who are generally happy and positive, the happier and more positive you will feel. Genuinely! Happiness is contagious, and definitely worth catching!
And finally, SMILE! The physical act of smiling will help you to feel happier. The first thing I do every morning is give myself a great big smile in the mirror. No matter how I feel (or how I look!). there is always a big fat smile grinning back at me. WHat a great way to start the day.
Go ahead. Be happy. I dare you 🙂