Being happy is associated with feelings like joy, gladness, satisfaction, and well-being.
Being happy is something that people seek to find, yet what defines happiness can vary from one person to the next. Typically, happiness is an emotional state characterized by feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment. While happiness has many different definitions, it is often described as involving positive emotions and life satisfaction.
When most people talk about the true meaning of being happy, they might be talking about how they feel in the present moment or referring to a more general sense of how they feel about life overall. Because happiness tends to be such a broadly defined term, psychologists and other social scientists typically use the term ‘subjective well-being’ when they talk about this emotional state. Just as it sounds, subjective well-being tends to focus on an individual’s overall personal feelings about their life in the present.
Many books, blogs, articles, and motivational speakers have attempted to answer this question. The list of things you could do to boost your happiness and well-being is long, and the specifics are in large part determined by your individual preferences and goals. But here are some do’s supported by both experts and newer research that can definetly make you happy.
While some people just tend to be naturally happy, there are things that you can do to cultivate your sense of happiness.
Pursue Intrinsic Goals
Achieving goals that you are intrinsically motivated to pursue, particularly ones that are focused on personal growth and community, can help make you happy. Research suggests that pursuing these types of intrinsically-motivated goals can increase happiness more than pursuing extrinsic goals like gaining money or status.
Enjoy the Moment
Studies have found that people tend to over earn—they become so focused on accumulating things that they lose track of actually enjoying what they are doing. So, rather than falling into the trap of mindlessly accumulating to the detriment of your own happiness, focus on practicing gratitude for the things you have and enjoying the process as you go.
Cultivate Strong Relationships
Social support is an essential part of being happy. Research has found that good social relationships are the strongest predictor of happiness. Having positive and supportive connections with people you care about can provide a buffer against stress, improve your health, and help you become a happier person. So if you are trying to improve your happiness, cultivating solid social connections is a great place to start. Consider deepening your existing relationships and explore ways to make new friends.
According to studies, there’s strong evidence linking feelings of gratitude to higher levels of happiness and well-being. Studies have also found that cultivating gratitude can actually boost happiness. Making an effort to tell the people in your life that you’re grateful for them — and why — is one way to cultivate gratitude. Another is taking time each day to think about the things you are grateful for.
Mindfulness comes up so often these days that it almost feels like a cliche. But research continues to find that practicing mindfulness really can make you happy. Mindfulness-based practices have broadly been found to have several benefits including, but not limited to, reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as enhancing attentional focus, working memory capacity, cognitive flexibility, positive mood, resilience, immune functioning, interpersonal relationships, and well-being.
Exercise is good for both your body and mind. Physical activity is linked to a range of physical and psychological benefits including improved mood. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise may play a role in warding off symptoms of depression, but evidence also suggests that it may also help make people happy, too.
Take care of a pet
Simply spending quality time with your dog or cat can help make you feel happy, and there have been studies to prove this. According to research, social interaction with your pets increases the feel-good chemical oxytocin, which lifts your spirits. Additionally, pets can help reduce stress.
Reframe Negative Thoughts
When you find yourself stuck in a pessimistic outlook or experiencing negativity, look for ways that you can reframe your thoughts in a more positive way. People have a natural negativity bias, or a tendency to pay more attention to bad things than to good things. This can have an impact on everything from how you make decisions to how you form impressions of other people. Discounting the positive—a cognitive distortion where people focus on the negative and ignore the positive—can also contribute to negative thoughts. Reframing these negative perceptions isn’t about ignoring the bad. Instead, it means trying to take a more balanced, realistic look at events. It allows you to notice patterns in your thinking and then challenge negative thoughts.
Being happy isn’t a goal that you can simply reach and be done with. It is a constant pursuit that requires continual nurturing and sustenance.