Positive psychology, or the science of happiness, is not just the latest trend in magazines and television shows, it is a scientific discipline based on years of empirical research. For example, research has shown:
• Optimists are much less likely to die of heart attacks than pessimists,
• The pursuit of meaning and engagement are much more predictive of life satisfaction than the pursuit of pleasure,
• Learning optimism at ages 10-12 halves the rate of depression as these school children go through puberty
• Happy teenagers go on to earn substantially more income fifteen years later than less happy teenagers, equating for income, grades, and other obvious factors
• How you respond to good events that happen to your partner is a better predictor of future love and commitment than how you respond to bad events.
(The Happiness Institute)
Some quick tips for boosting happiness include:
• Satisfaction about the past: remember the things you can be grateful for. A simple exercise to try is the three blessings activity: at the end of day, think of three things you are grateful for, or write them down in a gratitude journal
• Happiness in the present: be truly present in the moment. Understand the difference between mindful and mindless living. Try a mindfulness meditation, such as the one I have included in this blog post: https://psyched4success.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/open-your-mind-to-mindfulness/
• Optimism about the future: direct your thoughts to hope and optimism. Think about what intentions, hopes, plans, and goals you would like to set for your future. Then, do some active goal setting to turn these into a reality. You can read this blog post for some goal setting tips: https://psyched4success.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/turning-intentions-into-goals/
• Take care of your body. Be mindful of the food you choose to fuel your body. Find ways to move your body in joyful ways. Why not try out a new type of gentle exercise class such as tai chi or yin yoga?
• Think about how you find meaning, purpose and engagement in your life. One tip is to evaluate what your signature strengths are, and then find ways to use these each day. The Happiness Institute has a free Signature Strengths list to get you started: http://www.thehappinessinstitute.com/freeproducts/docs/The%20Happiness%20Institute’s%20Signature%20Strengths%20List.pdf
• Build and maintain good quality relationships. Enjoy and seek out the company of positive, optimistic people. Ask your friends “what’s new and good” in their world to help others think about their own happiness.
• Practice positive communication with your partner. Earlier you would have read that how you respond to good things is more important than how you respond to bad things. The best type of response is called “active constructive” communication (Gable, S.L., 2004), where you enthusiastically support your partner, ask for more details, and validate their experience: “That’s great news, I’m so happy for you! Tell me more.”
If you would like some more tips on boosting your happiness, reach out to me here:
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