Everyone wants to be happy. The pursuit of happiness is such a basic human drive that the Founding Fathers included it in the Declaration of Independence.
Researchers have found that there are real benefits to being happy. Happiness leads to:
The problem is, people aren't very good at predicting what will make them happy. Winning the lottery doesn't do it. After the excitement wears off, lottery winners are no happier than non-winners. Wealth isn't the key. Once you have enough money to take care of your needs, having more won't make you much happier.
Maybe what we need to do is look at happy people. What can we learn from them? Most important, can we become happier?
What do we mean by "happy"?
Happy people are not giddy idiots. They don't lead charmed lives where nothing bad ever happens. They have ups and downs like anyone else. When we say happy, we mean people who have:
The traits of happy people
The happiest people tend to have some traits in common. In general, happy people:
Tigger or Eeyore?
You probably know someone with a Tigger personality, bouncy and upbeat. You likely also know an Eeyore, a person to whom things always look bleak. What determines a person's emotional outlook? Research suggests that three factors come into play:
Of course, there is nothing you can do about your genetics. You may have not much control over your circumstances. But research suggests that you can use intentional acts to boost your chance for happiness. It may take practice and persistence, but psychologists believe we can increase our level of happiness.
Try these tips:
Visualize a better you. Think about how you can be your best possible self by building on your strengths. Make some goals to help you get there and then work toward them.
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