9 Simple Ways to Be Happy

What makes people happy? How do you define happiness? Can you measure it? How do you know you have it? If I knew the answers to all of these I would be super happy!

I think it is safe to say that happiness is something that everyone searches for yet it seems virtually impossible to define as it so personal. Science has nonetheless provided some interesting research into what makes people happy.

Happiness Research

Positive psychologist Dr Martin Seligman divides a happy life into three different types: the Pleasant Life, the Good life and the Meaningful life. A Pleasant Life is when a person looks for pleasurable activities, feels pleasure in everything they do and has a large network of relationships. A Good Life is when one knows about their interests and strengths and indulges in activities that optimise these. A Meaningful Life is when happiness is derived from helping others. According to Seligman, a person needs to have a mix of all three types to be the most happy. How do you fare?

One of the most convincing studies on happiness was carried out by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The study involved interviewing hundreds of successful people in different fields and results show they share a similar feeling when describing the time they were most happy. This is referred to as ‘Flow’.

Professor Csikszentmihalyi states that throughout the day people fluctuate between eight different states: apathy, boredom, worry, relaxation, anxiety, control, arousal and flow. In order to achieve flow, a person should be involved in a challenging situation and have the skills to handle it. Too much of a challenge may bring anxiety, whilst too little leads to boredom, thus implying the importance of challenging yourself in order to be happy.

What makes you Happy?

Have you ever asked yourself if you are happy? Do you know what makes you happy? Make a list of what makes you happy (it can be anything, just jot down any thoughts that come to mind). How long did you take to come up with it?

9 Simple Ways to Be Happy

1 – Be your own boss
Freedom of choice is power. Use it. Do what you want to do and not what others expect you to. Do things you enjoy.

2 – Treat others as you would like to be treated
If you respect others and treat them with kindness they will do the same to you.

3 – Try new things
Sometimes we get bored because everything is the same in our lives. Challenge yourself. Learn. Be open to change.

4 – Have a positive outlook
Don’t dwell on the negative. Stop worrying about every little thing. Think about things that make you smile.

5 – Take a break
Go on a holiday. See new things. Meet different people. Explore.

6 – Do something daunting
Overcoming fears is important to be content. Don’t worry about failing. Try or face something that scares you.

7 – Take pleasure in the little things
Take a bubble bath. Buy fresh flowers. Admire a sunset. Enjoy the feeling and smell of fresh linen. Cook a new recipe. (These are some of my little things, I am sure you have many of your own!)

8 – Have music in your life
Music creates moods. Use it to increase your energy levels, help you relax, improve creativity, set a romantic scene, dance. Play it your way.

9 – Loved ones
Spend time with those you care about. Let them know how you feel.

What else will you add to this list?

Take a look at the following video.

WARNING – Once you try these suggestions as well as your own you may become Annoyingly Cheerful!

If you are having problems viewing the video on here you can watch it directly on YouTube.

I look forward to hearing how you get on.

Go forth and be happy!

Additional useful reading, tests and articles on Happiness on Meaning and Happiness. Start preparing for National Happiness Day.

Photos provided by Flickr users only alice and s.o.f.t.

5 Responses to “9 Simple Ways to Be Happy”

  1. Diana Pereira says:

    You are right, there is no real formula, but definitely going through a simple list like you outlined above helps you put things in perspective and re think your own happiness. Very difficult to distinguish between being happy and content though…

    • Hi Diana. I am delighted that my post has led to some self reflection and a wonderful thought provoking question. Do you think there is a difference between being content and being happy? Do you think you can be happy but not content and content but not happy? I would love to hear your thoughts.

  2. Very good article. Coherent and informative just like a good article should be. I’ll definitively be back for more.

    • Ana says:

      Thanks Elvera. I’m delighted you enjoy my posts. Do let me know if there are any particular topics you would like to read about.

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