Helpful Monsters Show Us 12 Ways To be Happy

Helpful Monsters Show Us 12 Ways To be Happy

Some may say you don’t “find” happiness. It’s a journey. Or a state of mind. Everyone’s different, and what works for one person may not work for another. But data has shown that certain life choices and situations are correlated with higher levels of happiness. Here’s what they found:

Be happy in the office
If plants don’t do the trick, try the #1 happiest job of 2015: school principal.

Be happy by not focusing on wealth past a certain amount
A survey of University of Liège employees revealed that wealthier individuals are less likely to enjoy simple things like savoring a piece of chocolate.

Be happy by prioritizing experiences over material stuff

Be happy by spending more time with loved ones
Also, experiences often have a social aspect, which adds to the happiness.

Be happy by giving back, even small amounts
A Gallup World Poll surveying 200,000+ people in 136 countries found that most people who had donated to charity during the past month reported greater life satisfaction.

Be happy by knowing that genetics only plays a small part in influencing your happiness
It’s just an estimate and everyone’s different, but yes you can blame your parents, partially.

Be happy: Happiness expressed in the brain
Even without drugs or alcohol, our brains can be tricked into experiencing more pleasure, with just a few words. Experiments have found that people enjoy the same wine more if you tell them that it’s the expensive stuff.

Be happy by finding that special someone
That is until kids appear…

Be happy by avoiding congested traffic, a less congested route even if longer may help
Or use the time as an opportunity to create a mental shift between work and home, leaving work issues behind.

Be happy by exercising

Be happy by remembering to laugh
Laughing also releases happy chemicals including dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in feelings of pleasure and happiness.

Be happy by knowing that it's going to get better
Kids don’t know how good they have it.



[mashshare]

Full text for 12 Ways To be Happy:

1. More Than Genes.

A personality study involving more than 900 fraternal and identical twins suggests happiness is influenced by our genetics. The good news is that there’s room for us to influence it too.

It’s just an estimate and everyone’s different, but yes you can blame your parents, partially.

2. Where’s Happiness? Everwhere.

Scientists now believe happiness exists in a vast communication web.
It’s a complex mixture of desire, anticipation, satisfaction, and everything in between – processes not easily reducible to cells and chemicals.

Even without drugs or alcohol, our brains can be tricked into experiencing more pleasure, with just a few words. Experiments have found that people enjoy the same wine more if you tell them that it’s the expensive stuff.

3. Happiness at the Workplace

Whatever profession you’re in, small changes can make work a happier place. People who have plants at their workplaces are happier than those who don’t.

If plants don’t do the trick, try the #1 happiest job of 2015: school principal.

4. Mo’ Money Mo Problems.

Salary=happiness, but only to a point. Studies showed a 9% increase in life satisfaction with an annual salary jump from $25K to $50K, but virtually no impact on life satisfaction after earning $75K+.

A survey of University of Liège employees revealed that wealthier individuals are less likely to enjoy simple things like savoring a piece of chocolate.

5. Experiences > Stuff.

Material purchases bring big initial excitement, but hype diminishes and comparison with the latest versions can ruin the enjoyment of new stuff. Great experiences become entrenched in our memory, and are personal and therefore tough to measure against one another.

Also, experiences often have a social aspect, which adds to the happiness.

6. Spending time with Loved Ones.

The #1 happiness booster is spending time with close friends and family. People experience the best moods when socializing with loved ones.

So give your buddy a call

Feels Good to Give.

Donating precious time or money is not a waste of either. It has been shown that spending just $5 on others rather than on ourselves makes us happier. Spending on others while sharing the moment together results in the happiest feelings of all.

A Gallup World Poll surveying 200,000+ people in 136 countries found that most people who had donated to charity during the past month reported greater life satisfaction.

Life Partners.

Married couples are happier than singles, even after controlling for prior life satisfaction. The happiest couples are those who married their best friends.

That is until kids appear…

Road Rage.

The longer the commute, the larger the impact on happiness. Congestion is a happiness killer. Taking a less congested but slightly longer route can help. Fitting some physical activity into your day helps with a long commute, even if it’s a simple walk during lunch.

Or use the time as an opportunity to create a mental shift between work and home, leaving work issues behind.

Sweat it Out.

The mood benefits of just 20 minutes of exercise can last 12 hours.
It’s not just cardio – strength training, yoga, and tai chi have been shown to relax the mind/body, reduce anxiety, and relieve stress.

Don’t Forget to Laugh.

In experiments where people watched a funny film, participants immediately performed 12% better at mentally challenging tasks, compared to those who watched a neutral film and those who watched no film at all.

Laughing also releases happy chemicals including dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in feelings of pleasure and happiness

The Happiness U-Curve Theory

It will get better. A study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that happiness is not a downhill slide after college, but a U-curve. That’s not to say mid-life can’t be a happy period, too!

Kids don’t know how good they have it.

(+) SOURCES – Click to Expand

Alexander Weiss, Timothy C Bates, Michelle Luciano. “Happiness Is a Personal(ity) Thing: The Genetics of Personality and Well-Being in a Representative Sample.” Psychological Science 19 (3), 205-210.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, Kennon M. Sheldon, David Schkade. “Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change.” Review of General Psychology 2005, Vol. 9, No. 2, 111–131.
Lyubomirsky, Sonja (2008). The How of Happiness. Penguin Books.
Kringelbach, Morten L. and Berridge, Kent C. “The Joyful Mind.” Scientific American. August 2012.
“Pleasure and Pain.” The Brain From Top to Bottom. McGill University. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
Ulrich Schimmack, Shigehiro Oishi, R. Michael Furr, David C. Funder. Personality and Life Satisfaction. University of Toronto.
http://www.gallup.com/poll/165269/worldwide-employees-engaged-work.aspx
Crabtree, Steve. “The Economics of Happiness.” Gallup Business Journal. January 10, 2008.
Jordi Quoidbach; Elizabeth W. Dunn. Money Giveth, Money Taketh Away: The Dual Effect of Wealth on Happiness, Psychological Science. 2010.
Smith, Tom W. “Job Satisfaction in the United States.” NORC University of Chicago April 17, 2007.
Dunn, Elizabeth and Norton, Michael. Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending. 2013.
http://www.careerbliss.com/facts-and-figures/careerbliss-happiest-and-unhappiest-jobs-in-america-2015/
Lambert, Craig. “The Science of Happiness.” Harvard Magazine. January-February 2007.
Gundi Knies. Life satisfaction and material well-being of children in the UK. ISER Working Paper Series 2012-15.
http://www.gallup.com/poll/102961/charitable-giving-differs-canada-uk-us.aspx
Elizabeth W. Dunn, Lara B. Aknin, Michael I. Norton. Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness. Science Vol. 319, 2008.
Dahl, Melissa. “Married People Are Happier People.” New York Magazine. January 2015.
John F. Helliwell, Shawn Grover. New Evidence on Marriage and the Set Point for Happiness. NBER Working Paper No. 20794. 2014.
S. Katherine Nelson, Kostadin Kushlev, and Sonja Lyubomirsky.“The Pains and Pleasures of Parenting: When, Why, and How Is Parenthood Associated With More or Less Well-Being?” Psychological Bulletin 2014.
Teng Guo, Lingyi Hu. Economic Determinants of Happiness: Evidence from the US General Social Survey.
Smith, Tom W. “Job Satisfaction in the United States.” NORC University of Chicago April 17, 2007.
Sibold, J.S., Berg, K.M. (2010) Mood enhancement persists for up to 12 hours following aerobic exercise.
Brown RP, et al. “Sudarshan Kriya Yogic Breathing in the Treatment of Stress, Anxiety, and Depression: Part I — Neurophysiologic Model,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (Feb. 2005): Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 189–201.
Saper RB, et al. “Prevalence and Patterns of Adult Yoga Use in the United States: Results of a National Survey,” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine (March–April 2004): Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 44–49.
“Laughter Therapy.” The Guardian. Sunday 6 July 2008.
Wolfe, Alexandra. “Sophie Scott and the Science of Laughter.” Wall Street Journal. May 15, 2015.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/12/07/want-to-be-happier-change-your-commute-or-change-your-attitude/
Margo Hilbrecht, Bryan Smale & Steven E. Mock (2014) Highway to health? Commute time and well-being among Canadian adults, World Leisure Journal, 56:2, 151-163.
“The U-bend of Life.” The Economist. December 16, 2010.
Blanchflower, David G. Oswald, Andrew J. “Is Well-being U-Shaped over the Life Cycle?“ Social Science & Medicine 2008.
Emmons, R. (2007). “Pay it forward.” Greater Good Science Center.
Vincent, E. (2014). Writing power: Kent state professor studies benefits of writing gratitude letters. Kent State University.
Jordi Quoidbach, Moïra Mikolajczak, James J. Gross. “Positive Interventions: An Emotion Regulation Perspective.” Psychological Bulletin. 2015.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-happiness/200805/no-middle-aged-people-are-not-less-happy