How to be Happy?

Last updated on Feb 24, 2009

Posted on Feb 24, 2009

Was reading through Psychology today and came across this very fine article on “Pursuit of Happiness”.  It brings together learnings from various research inputs in the Psychology field.  Worth reading each one of them.  Suggestion print this article out! 🙂

Some are born Positive: Some always see opportunity and beauty in everything and can challenge their own fearful thoughts internally.

Fulfilling Desires doesn’t bring Lasting Happiness: No matter what we get and what we want, we invariably jump back to our previous levels of happiness once it is done, except for some exceptions like loss of a job or a loved one (only these events permanently bring people’s happiness levels)

Pain and Happiness go together: It is meaningless to imagine happiness without its contrasting pain.  Pain makes us realize Happiness.

Awareness, not Judgment is Happiness: Psychology Today says it beautifully “Mindfulness, A Mental state of relaxed awareness of the present moment, marked by openness and curiosity toward your feelings rather than judgments of them, is a powerful tool for experiencing happiness when practiced regularly.”

Chasing, and not reaching brings Happiness: University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Richard Davidson has found that “working hard toward a goal and making progress to the point of expecting a goal to be realized, doesn’t just activate positive feelings – it also suppresses negative emotions such as fear and depression”.

Money can buy Happiness only to a point: You buy happiness from money only to the point of being comfortable.  After that its an ego trip!

Happiness is Relative: How your peers and known are doing versus you does affect your happiness!  So… choose your company properly! 🙂  Don’t buy the small house in a rich neighborhood, but a big house in a middle class neighborhood for happiness!

Curse of Too Much: The “Paradox of Choice” kicks in when we face more choices.  Although we think more options make us happy.. Not so!  It makes us more miserable!

Good relationships bring Happiness: Good personal relationships make for a happier life  as they act as buffers against life’s bad times.

Strive to be Happy: Happiness despite the ups and downs requires hard work.  Learn from other’s experiences and experiment to find your “way”.

Short term and Long term Happiness are not the same: A moment of happiness is not the same as a life of happiness.  A win in a game does not make the rest of your life happy or a happy life make a moment of personal loss any happier!  Macro and micro definitions are different and change.  Evaluate yourself accordingly and be happy.

You are wrong about why you are Happy!: Daniel Gilbert, Harvard Psychologist found an amazing thing:   Things are almost NEVER as good or bad as we expect them to be! You might think a promotion will end all your miseries.  Well, when you get it, you know you are still not!

Be Yourself: Everyone has his or her own way to cope up.  Know yours.  And just be at peace with it.  Some people are wired to put up a brave face and be stoic.  Some are emotional.  Both are natural ways of people, don’t try and imitate.  “One size fits all” doesn’t work in bringing happiness!  Julie Norem found that anxious people can be handled differently to get them better results and make them happier!

Live your Values: Ask yourself the question – If no matter what you do, you will have the agreement and approval of everyone in the world, WHAT will you do?  Whatever that “is” – constitute your values!  Look for principles to live by not morals.

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