I’m fairly certain, you want to live a long, happy, fulfilled life.
Wandering through life probably isn’t one of your major goals.
The problem is no one wants to take a step back and understand what makes us happy.
When discussing happiness most people respond in one of the following ways:
- It’s having enough money to do what you want
- It’s climbing the corporate ladder
- It’s buying your dream car
Although these are good goals, none of these really give us lasting happiness.
In fact, they decrease our happiness because they teach us to chase happiness and once we achieve the accomplishment we just want more. We start this never-ending game of wanting more…then “I’ll be happy someday syndrome.”
There are no winners in the chasing game.
Even children don’t make us happier. Many studies state our happiness levels decrease after children. It’s crazy to imagine something so miraculous makes us less happy!
Happiness – The Science
The science of happiness is a fairly new, but there have been major breakthroughs to help understand this subject.
Most experts believe 50% of our happiness comes from our genetics. This is good news because we can increase our happiness quotient – technically there isn’t a ceiling.
More good news is happiness doesn’t solely depend on the following:
- The cars you drive
So How Do You Increase Your Happiness?
There are several ways to increase your happiness – none include purchasing a new BMW or getting the corner office.
Let’s discuss 5 ways you can improve your happiness.
Walk into a restaurant and simply look around.
How many people are trying to figure out what they want to eat, hold conversations with their family, and typing away on their phones?
It’s insane! And I’m guilty of it too!
We don’t only do this at restaurants. Most of us are guilty of doing this at home, at work, and on vacation. We are constantly trying to keep up with our emails, text messages, and work while doing a million other things.
All of this multitasking creates anxiety and depression.
Two disturbing facts I recently read are:
1) In a recent study, Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert discovered most adults only spend 50% of their time in the present moment
2) They also found we are happiest when we are in the present moment, no matter what we are doing
If we are happiest in the present moment then why do we only spend 50% there? How can you be present more often?
Two ways to help you become more present are learning the art of meditation and going on a tech fast once a week. Try implementing these into your life for a month and you’ll notice a big difference.
The old saying goes, “Money doesn’t buy happiness”. I would say the answer to this is yes and no.
If you are among the poorest people in the country, then more money will make you happier. However, once basic needs are met earning over six figures doesn’t increase your happiness much.
Just look at Donald Trump!
We also have it all wrong when it comes to how we spend our money.
America has a bad consumption problem (that’s probably why my Amazon business does so well) and we buy things we don’t want or need. These things end up collecting dust and then a show like Hoarders does a special on you.
Instead of spending your money on things; happiness experts say to spend money on experiences. You’ll be much happier going on a vacation than purchasing iPhones for the entire family. Even if your vacation is horrible, our brains remember it being much better than it actually was.
Sleep is the most underrated weapon in the world. We live in a society that believes sleep is for the weak and it’s a badge of honor to get by on as little as possible.
This is the farthest thing from the truth.
Sleep is an integral part of our lives. People who get an appropriate amount of sleep have fewer health problems, are more creative, make fewer mistakes, and much more.
Additionally, people who get an average of 8 hours of sleep per night are the happiest. To learn more about improving your sleep, then check out my previous articles on sleep.
If you don’t believe me about the correlation between sleep and happiness; you should believe the Happiness Coach. He has a great article about the two.
You don’t have to run ultra marathons or go crazy at the cross fit gym to find happiness. A little bit goes a long way.
Exercise is important to our happiness for so many reasons. It helps improve our confidence, increase energy, fight depression, and much more.
I’m not an expert on fitness (yet), but I’m learning. However, there is a great article from the 12 Minute Athlete about exercise and happiness. You can read it here.
One area of your life that helps your happiness is marrying well.
In a recent Time article, The Marriage Plot, it states “according to pretty much all the scholarship, a good marriage is worth whatever pleasures are forgone, because few things are as good for life, limb, and liquidity as finding a spouse and sticking with him or her.”
Furthermore, many studies conclude married people usually are healthier and more sexually satisfied than unmarried people.
They say there are few things that make people happier than staying with their spouse. Just remember the grass isn’t always greener.
We have determined there is no happiness ceiling. I also believe there is no happiness floor.
You have the ability to increase your happiness. There are many ways to improve your happiness, but focusing on being present, spending money appropriately, sleep, exercise, and your marriage; then you will be much happier than 99% of the population.