What is Happiness? How to Be Happier Every Day
“Happiness comes one smile at a time, strung together moment by moment to make a beautiful life.”
– Tyler Way 11 years old
Happiness: it’s the one thing we all strive for in life, yet it can be so elusive that we search for it. We often think of happiness as something that just happens to us, a fleeting emotion that comes and goes like the wind. But what if we could actively cultivate more happiness in our lives? What if we could learn the skills and practices that lead to greater well-being, not just for ourselves but for those around us too? March 20th marks the International Day of Happiness. Let’s explore and answer your most pressing questions about happiness—the science of happiness, the emotion of happiness, and the well-being of happiness – so we can better understand how to live more joyful, fulfilling lives and find a way to be happier every day!
What is Happiness?
Happiness is a positive emotion that comes from feeling content, joyful, satisfied, and well-being. It’s a personal experience that can be affected by things both inside and outside of us. Happiness is often described as a state of mind, and while it may be difficult to define and measure objectively, it is generally considered to be a desirable state to strive for in life.
What Does Happiness Mean?
Happiness means something different to everyone. For some, it’s spending time with loved ones, while for others, it’s accomplishing a big goal. You need to dig in and become aware of the moments in your own life that make you happy. Sometimes we are just unaware that we have so many happy moments in a day. Here are five questions to ask yourself. Write down your answers and start looking for ways to be happier every day.
- What activities or hobbies make you lose track of time and bring you happiness?
- What type of people or relationships in your life bring you happiness and fulfillment?
- When do you feel the most energized and alive? What were you doing at that moment?
- What are your core values and how do they align with your daily life and actions?
- What accomplishments or achievements have brought you the most satisfaction and pride in your life?
What Research Tell us About Human Happiness
Research in the field of positive psychology and human happiness has provided some interesting insights and data into what makes people happy. Here are some key findings:
- Genetics play a role in happiness: Studies suggest that genetics may account for up to 50% of our happiness levels, while the remaining 50% is influenced by our life circumstances and choices.
- Money doesn’t buy happiness: While money can certainly make life easier, and bring pleasure and peace of mind, studies have shown that beyond a certain income threshold, more money doesn’t necessarily lead to more happiness.
- Relationships are key to happiness: Strong social connections and supportive relationships are consistently found to be key predictors of happiness. This includes both close personal relationships as well as a broader sense of community belonging.
- Gratitude and mindfulness boost happiness: Practices such as gratitude journaling, meditation, and mindfulness have been found to increase feelings of happiness and well-being.
- Acts of kindness and giving increase happiness: Studies have shown that the spirit of helping others, volunteering, and performing acts of kindness and small acts of giving can lead to increased happiness and a greater sense of purpose and meaning.
- Happiness improves physical health: Research has found that happier people tend to have better physical health, including a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease.
By focusing on building strong relationships, cultivating positive emotions, and engaging in acts of kindness and gratitude, we can increase our overall happiness and well-being 365 days a year.
Can We Increase Our Happiness Every Day?
Absolutely! Here is the good news. Dr. Amen reports in his book You Happier an up to 30 % increase in just 30 days! By focusing on positive thoughts and experiences, and doing things that bring us joy, we can increase our happiness every day.
Five Ways to Increase Your Happiness and Joy Every Day
- Know your brain type: Understanding your unique brain type can help you determine which activities and experiences will be most beneficial for you. Take the quiz here!
- Exercise regularly: Exercise has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, promote the growth of new brain cells, and release feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
- Practice gratitude: Focusing on what you’re grateful for can help shift your mindset towards positivity and increase the release of dopamine in your brain.
- Manage stress: Chronic stress can lead to negative changes in brain function and increase the risk of depression and anxiety. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as meditation or deep breathing, can promote better brain health and happiness.
- Connect with others: Building positive social connections is important for brain health and happiness. Spending time with loved ones or participating in group activities can help promote feelings of joy and fulfillment.
- Get enough sleep: Quality sleep is essential for brain health and can affect mood, memory, and overall well-being. Aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night.
- Eat a brain-healthy diet: Consuming a diet rich in whole foods you love, healthy fats, and nutrients can help support brain function and promote feelings of happiness and well-being.
Is there a key to happiness?
Good news! There is more than one! The three keys to happiness are positive emotions, engagement, and meaning. By focusing on these three elements, we can cultivate a happier life.
3 Keys to Happiness
- Positive emotions: Cultivate positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, and contentment through mindfulness, positive self-talk, and focusing on the good in life.
- Engagement: Engage in activities that challenge you, allow you to learn and grow, and give you a sense of accomplishment.
- Meaning: Pursue activities that align with your values and give you a sense of purpose, such as volunteering, helping others, or pursuing a meaningful career.
Start Your Happiness Habit Today
Are you ready to start cultivating a daily happiness habit? Happiness is not just a feeling that randomly descends on us – we can actively cultivate it – through our daily actions and habits. By taking small steps every day to prioritize our own happiness, we can begin to create a positive cycle that reinforces our well-being and helps us to navigate life’s challenges with greater ease. Check out the “Happiest Man Alive” TedTalk on happiness habits. So, let’s dive in and explore some simple ways to start cultivating happiness today!
10 Simple Ideas to Start a Daily Happiness Habit
- Practice gratitude
- Spend time in nature
- Meditate or do deep breathing exercises
- Exercise or do yoga
- Read a book or watch a movie
- Spend time with loved ones
- Listen to music
- Journal or write down positive affirmations
- Treat yourself to something you enjoy
- Give back to others through volunteering or random acts of kindness
Is happiness contagious?
Yes, happiness is contagious! We can actually spread it from person to person. When we surround ourselves with happy people, we are more likely to feel happy ourselves. This is because of the mirror neurons in our brains that allow us to pick up on other people’s emotions and mimic them. Additionally, when we are happy, we are more likely to engage in positive behaviors, such as being kind and generous to others, which can in turn make them happier.
What are 5 ways I can spread happiness?
- Smile at others: Something as simple as a smile can go a long way in brightening someone’s day.
- Give compliments: Taking the time to offer sincere compliments to others can help to boost their self-esteem and confidence.
- Offer to help someone in need: Whether it’s helping a neighbor with their groceries or volunteering at a local charity, offering to help someone in need can be a powerful way to spread happiness and positivity.
- Listen actively to others: Being a good listener can help to create a sense of connection and empathy with others.
- Be kind to yourself and others: Practicing self-compassion and kindness towards oneself can help to cultivate a more positive self-image and reduce negative self-talk. Similarly, extending kindness toward others can create a more positive social environment and make us happier.
Why is happiness important?
Happiness is important for a variety of reasons! For starters, it feels good. When we experience happiness, we often feel positive emotions such as joy, contentment, and pleasure, which can have a range of benefits for our mental and physical health. But beyond just feeling good, happiness can have a range of positive impacts on our lives.
5 Ways Happiness Impacts Our Lives
- Improved relationships: Happier people tend to have stronger, more supportive relationships with others.
- Better physical health: Research has found that happier people tend to have better physical health outcomes, including lower risk of chronic illnesses, improved immune function, and reduced levels of inflammation.
- Increased resilience: When we’re happy, we’re often better equipped to deal with life’s challenges and setbacks.
- Greater creativity and productivity: Studies have found that positive emotions such as joy and happiness can boost creativity and productivity, leading to better performance in work and other areas of life.
- Increased motivation and goal attainment: When we’re happy, we’re often more motivated to pursue our goals and work towards the things that matter most to us.
What school and your mother never taught you about happiness
At 365give we are on a mission to teach, inspire and empower the world to be happier! Happier people are more generous and giving which will create a brighter world for us all. We have some books for you to add to your reading list that will keep you working on your own happiness 365 days a year.
5 Books to Educate Your Heart and Mind for Happiness
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin: A New York Times bestseller that chronicles Rubin’s year-long journey to increase happiness in her life.
The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler: A spiritual and philosophical guide to happiness based on conversations between the Dalai Lama and psychiatrist Howard Cutler.
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert: A book that explores the science of happiness and why our brains often make inaccurate predictions about what will make us happy
Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill by Matthieu Ricard: A book that draws on Buddhist teachings to provide guidance on cultivating happiness.
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle: While not strictly a book on happiness, Tolle’s teachings focus on living in the present moment and letting go of negative thoughts and emotions.
Happiness is the path to living your best life! When we’re happy we’re more connected to other people, and we feel like we can handle anything life throws our way and we freely give it away. By making happiness a priority, we can create a life that feels fulfilling and meaningful. Plus, it’s totally doable! You can work on being happier every day – 365 days a year, and it’s a great way to spread good vibes and positivity to those around you. So let’s get out there and be happy every day! It will change the world around you!