8 Life Tips for How to be a Happier Person
Joy and happiness are more skill than circumstance. Here are 8 science-backed easy-to-use strategies to boost the positive feelings you get from everyday events and become a happier person. Four of them are in the "what to do" category and four are "what not to do".
4 What To Do — Happy Person Strategies
The Science of Happiness: Researchers from Belgium and Canada called these What To Do happiness tips Savoring Strategies in their research paper entitled "Positive emotion regulation and well-being: comparing the impact of eight savoring and dampening strategies".
1. Display your happiness.
Studies show that displaying your happiness with a smile increases feel-good emotions. Take more notice of what pleases you and make yourself smile. Prolong the smile a little longer to make the happiness grow and give yourself more of a lift.
2. Be present in the now.
Training yourself to focus on what is happening now, in the moment, has been shown to increase both the frequency and intensity of positive emotions.
3. Celebrate positive events.
Capitalize on positive events in your life by talking about them and celebrating them. Talking about positive events and celebrating them increases positive feelings over and above those that are there from the events themselves and boosts a sense of life satisfaction.
Celebrate even micro wins that happen throughout your day.
4. Visualize positive events - past and future.
You will have the same emotional response to something you vividly imagine as you do with something that really happens. Vividly remembering positive events from the past or vividly visualizing the possibility of positive events in the future increases overall happiness.
Try this right now. Remember something positive that happened to you in the past. Close your eyes and vividly remember the happening. Notice what you see. Notice what you hear. Notice what it feels like physically. Notice what it feels like emotionally. Let the feel-good grow as you savor the experience.
4 What Not To Do — Happy Person Strategies
The Science of Happiness: The Belgian and Canadian researchers called these What Not To Do for happiness tips Dampening Strategies. Some of the dampening strategies are the opposite of the savoring strategies.
1. Don't suppress your happiness.
Suppressing or hiding positive emotions because of shyness, discomfort, fear of showing enjoyment, or for other reasons reduces feel-good emotions specific to positive events and in general. It is also associated with lower life satisfaction and reduced psychological and physical well-being.
I have noticed that many of my adult clients who were raised by depressed mothers or fathers learned to suppress their positive emotions so that they didn't annoy the depressed parent. These clients needed to learn how to be joyful as adults in order to undo that dampening down of their happiness.
2. Don't be distracted from the now.
When your mind wanders to past or future events or ruminates over worries, you miss out on the opportunities to experience happiness now. Research shows that this strategy reduces people's short-term and long-term happiness.
A couple of quotes about worrying come to mind:
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy. —Leo Buscaglia
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength. —Corrie Ten Boom
3. Don't miss the positive by focusing on the negative.
Focusing on the negative aspects of positive events or seeing only what could have been better contributes to reduced happiness and life satisfaction.
We need to pay attention to where improvements can be made but we also have to pay attention to what is working.
4. Don't negate the positive.
Discounting positive events (i.e. seeing it as a one-off or undeserved) or picturing negative consequences to positive events (i.e. thinking that this good thing can't last or must mean something bad is about to happen) gets in the way of happiness.
Don't over-focus on the negatives and under-focus the positives in your life. ―
- Ann Silvers