How to be Happier
"Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States
Think of a happy friend, neighbor, or classmate. When you think of them, you become happy too-- and people you touch may also become happier. A happy person's influence spreads out three degrees, according to scientists who have been studying people over twenty-plus years (Framingham Heart Study).
We have some control over how happy we are. Here are some tips on how to be happier:
1) Find ten things to be grateful about -- every day.
This is one of the most effective ways to be happier. Studies of lottery winners and paraplegics alike show that a person's individual level of happiness is directly related to their own perception and ability to find happiness, regardless of the situation. When you are grateful you are happier.
2) Seek out happy friends.
Make friends with people who have a cheerful outlook and an enthusiastic attitude. They will help remind you of things to be happy about in life. As an alternative, start minimizing your time with negative, whiner, or complaining people.
3) Go for a 15-minute walk.
Fresh air and a change of perspective help move you towards happiness. Find a patch of nature like a community garden, a park, or a lake to walk around.
4) Breathe deeply.
Believe it or not, you may not be getting enough life-giving oxygen. Sit still for a moment and breathe deeply ten times --- with the added boost of revitalization, you may find yourself in a happier frame of mind.
5) Find the small stuff that makes you happy - and do it every day.
As creatures of habit, we crave routine. Incorporate something that brings you happiness into your daily routine, so you experience that mood enhancement every day. A "small thing" could be anything that elevates your spirit and is healthy for you and the people around you: it might mean using a favorite toothpaste, watering your potted plants, a familiar bike ride to campus or work, a sharp pencil, five minutes of doing something relaxing, a happy picture on your screen, your favorite tunes on your playlist, a daily massage, or anything that brings you pleasure.
Think of happiness as a number of happy moments, stretching out to infinity --- and go from one of these moments to the next, to the next, to the next.