10 Thoughts on Happiness
“I just want my child to be happy.” That is the wish for most American parents. But if our children are to be this way, they must first learn this skill from us. So how are you doing on being happy? The wrong pursuit of happiness can actually backfire, say experts at the University of Denver. People who place a high value on trivial happiness have, on average, 17 more symptoms of depression than those who don’t.
So in order to be happy, you can’t place too much emphasis on it. Hmmm. Confused? Find out the answer to this on our 10 thoughts on happiness:
1. Trying too hard
The pursuit of happiness can actually backfire, say experts at the University of Denver. People who place a high value on happiness have, on average, 17 more symptoms of depression than those who don’t. Instead, happiness is the byproduct of doing something worth doing well. Focus on that and happiness could very well follow.
According to Dr. John Grohol, CEO and founder of Psych Central, people who spend their time and money on doing things together — whether it be taking a vacation to someplace or going on an all-day outing to the local sporting event — report higher levels of happiness than those who buy more stuff. This is because our memories keep an emotional photograph of the experience, whereas the material things don’t make as big an emotional imprint. Also, use your money and time in a lasting, meaningful way by helping others.
3. Musical Inspiration
Music has an effect on the listener’s mood. Studies have found that listening to music can lift your spirits and put you in a better mood. The genre makes no difference as long as it is something that you enjoy. “For some people it’s Bach; for others it’s heavy metal,” says Elizabeth Lombardo, author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness.
4. Be Content with where You are
According to Stanford psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, American culture is obsessed with climbing the ladder of success, but at what cost? Too often we get caught up unsatisfied with ourselves because we are comparing ourselves to others. This constant comparing is damaging to happiness and self-esteem. Find happiness in who you are, where you are, and the strengthens and talents that God gave you.
5. Happiness is a Choice
Internal factors play a larger role in personal happiness than external factors. Studies have shown that only 10% of happiness occurs because of external factors. Personal happiness relies more on internal factors such as attitude, relationships, and outlook on life. In fact, outlook on life determines at least 50% of a person’s happiness.
People who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis are healthier, more optimistic, and more likely to make progress toward achieving personal goals, according to author Robert Emmons. Research by Martin Seligman, founder of positive psychology, revealed that people who write “gratitude letters” to someone who made a difference in their lives score higher on happiness, and lower on depression – and the effect lasts for weeks. Requirements – paper and pen.
7. Books are Healthier than TV
Researchers at the University of Maryland have found that people who read books are happier than people who watch TV. This even goes for books with depressing plots. The logic makes sense, as reading a book is an active process and the person can really get involved unlike TV.
8. The Outdoors
In a University of Rochester study, 90 percent of subjects got a boost in energy and had their outlook brightened by spending time outdoors around trees, grass, and living creatures. Meaning, get outside and get some fresh air. Take a quick walk around the block to take in the outdoors. Who knows what you’ll see? Every time you go outside, there’s something new to see; it’s never the same.
Time Magazine records that, “People are 30 times more likely to laugh in groups than alone and, not surprisingly, laughter is associated with helping to develop person-to-person connections…” Laughter reduces certain stress hormones and strengthens your immune system. Laughter promotes better health and sense of happy contentment. On the inside, it releases childlikeness. So try to fit some good clean television comedies into your day for a quick laugh.
10. We Are Designed for Companionship
Close relationships with family, friends, and loved ones bring happiness say researchers like the father-son team Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener. Take a look a really happy people; you will notice that they likely have supportive families, close friends, and strong relationships. Don’t go through life alone. What are things like money and success at the end of the day if we have no one to share them with?