Did you know that yesterday was International Happiness Day? Coming from someone who’s battled depression for practically a quarter of my life, you’d think I wouldn’t have that date down. But I do. You know why? because happiness is a choice.
FYI and according to the experts from Psychology Today: Happiness is not the result of bouncing from one joy to the next; researchers find that achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort. Money is important to happiness, but only to a certain point. Money buys freedom from worry about the basics in life—housing, food, and clothing. Genetic makeup, life circumstances, achievements, marital status, social relationships, even your neighbors—all influence how happy you are. Or can be. So do individual ways of thinking and expressing feelings. Research shows that much of happiness is under personal control. Regularly indulging in small pleasures, getting absorbed in challenging activities, setting and meeting goals, maintaining close social ties, and finding purpose beyond oneself all increase life satisfaction.
- Humor as a resource for well-being. Look for the lighter side of a difficult situation. Discuss how you might bring joy and ease to the situation. Research shows humor enhances pleasure and positive emotions in life decreases social anxiety and triggers positive social communication. At my father’s funeral, instead of focusing on the devastation of his loss, my brothers and I began to tell stories from our childhood about him. Others chimed in remembering just how funny my father was. It helped us come together at one of the most difficult times of our lives.
- Curiosity as a way to improve your relationships. By bringing curiosity to your relationships you can try to understand what people are thinking and feeling. Ask them direct questions, such as, “How are you feeling?” and “What are your thoughts about that?” Be curious about how others have approached challenges similar to those you are facing. Research shows curiosity is associated with happiness, health and longevity, and positive social relationships.
- Taking a “zest break”. A break at work or from a household task can be invigorating and help you be even more productive. Take a brisk walk inside or outside. Commit to getting in “more steps” today than you typically do. One of the very best ways to boost this important character strength is to increase your activity level, even by a little. Zest is strongly connected with various elements of happiness, such as heightened pleasure, engagement, and life meaning. It can activate your inspiration and motivate you to connect with others and complete new projects.
So Chica, What are you waiting for? Today and every day, choose to be happy!