What can help make you happier, bring more joy? This is a hugely popular topic. The latest formula goes something like this. Life circumstances influence our happiness 10% and our given DNA accounts for about 50%. But then there is the other 40%, which we have control over in order to become happier. This includes our attitude, perspective, choices, gratitude and lifestyle. Even if you are blessed with a more cheerful temperament, happier people are still intentional about their life choices and lifestyle habits.
The good news is that regardless of circumstances and your natural disposition, you can cultivate a brain, emotions, body and relationships that will naturally bring more contentment and joy. I like to hear that. Its very encouraging.
Another formula is that in order to have a healthier, happier and flourishing life, the tipping point is experiencing positive emotions in a 3 to 1 ratio with negative ones. It doesn’t have to be all good, all smiles, all the time. Life can be hard. You will have stress and challenges. However research has proven that it is possible to be happier and probably even laugh and smile more, regardless of one’s circumstances. Here are a few ways to start.
1. Love God and practice your faith
Those who practice their faith daily with an active spiritual life will have stronger immune systems, be more resilient in difficult times, feel more hopeful and even live longer. Learn to live in awe and wonder. Be mindful of the present moment and the goodness of God to you in the here and now. Meditate on the Word of God. Look for the verses on about those who are ‘blessed’ and ‘happy’. Apply these to your life.
2. Love People and stay connected
Research is very clear on this one. The happiest people have the strongest, healthiest relationship connections. They are surrounded with a close network of meaningful relationships that they nurture. Who do you do life with? Who are your top 5 connections?
3. Set goals with passion and purpose
When we have a sense of purpose and a specific goal to move towards – short and long term – we are happier. It helps our brain get organized and focused around a timeline. We know where we are going, we have direction and we have some purpose and hope to get up for in the morning.
4. Reach out and make a difference
Altruism and volunteering is important for enduring meaning and fulfillment in life. Have you heard of the ‘givers high’? The brain actually secretes the same happy hormones when we give as when we engage in other things that hit the spot for the pleasure center, like eating.
5. Be a grateful joy spreader
Gratitude leads to psychological and physical well-being. Grateful people have more positive emotion, report higher life satisfaction and less depression and stress. Throughout the day, think of what you can be grateful for. Actually feel appreciation in your heart. Before going to bed at night, write down at least three things you were grateful that day.
6. Don’t worry, be happy
What are the happiness and joy busters in your life? Often it is stress, fear and worry. If you want to keep your joy, don’t believe everything you think or dwell on what you can’t control. Worry for about 10 minutes, then give it to God in prayer, and let it go. Focus on what you can control, what you are grateful for and on making good choices in the here and now.
7. Boost natural happiness hormones
Listen to enjoyable music. Sing. Eat well. Exercise. Go for a walk outside. Spend some time in the beauty of nature. Meditate. Breathe deeply. Laugh a lot. Journal. Forgive – yourself and others. Do something creative. Be enthusiastic about something. Spend time with a ‘joy spreader’. Reminisce on good memories. Discover your strengths – and use them daily. Give a card and small gift to someone. Spend time with a pet. Buy some fresh flowers. Okay, have a little chocolate too.
Question: How do you naturally boost your joy and happiness? You can leave a comment below.