“Am I happy? Does this make me happy? What can I do to be happier?” At a certain point in our life, we find ourselves asking these questions.
Everyone will come up with different answers to these questions based on their unique perspectives and attributes.
What if I told you that there is a scientific way to figure out what actually makes one happy? Just to let you know, there are a lot of things you can do daily to increase your levels of happiness.
“Happiness, not money or prestige, should be regarded as the ultimate currency — the currency by which we take the measure of our lives.”
Let us start by debunking the three most common myths about happiness.
MYTH 1 - One should aim to be happy 24*7
Well, this is the most common myth that many people believe to be true. Due to the rise of social media and people portraying themselves as happy all the time, it might seem that this is the goal we are supposed to follow.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but feeling happy at every moment of the day, always, is not healthy. It is not even possible.
True happiness (or peace), in fact, results from giving yourself the permission to be human. What does this mean? By giving yourself permission to be human, you allow yourself to feel negative emotions. Once you accept negative emotions it becomes easy to understand and process them. This makes you feel at ease.
MYTH 2 - The happiness levels of an individual are genetically determined and fixed
This myth is somewhat true. Some percentage of the happiness you experience is determined genetically.
Researchers Sonja Lyubomirsky and her colleagues found that 50% of happiness levels are genetically determined. 10% are determined by your life circumstances. 40% of your happiness is determined on the basis of your actions.
This 40% of happiness is what you can control, even if you are not naturally a “happy-go-lucky” person.
Good news - You can increase your happiness levels through your actions and mindset.
MYTH 3 - Happiness lies in the future
This myth manifests itself in our daily life. Our thinking has been crafted around the thought that “we need to struggle, work hard and happiness will be waiting for us somewhere in the future”.
Since childhood, we are fed this idea that once you get good grades, then you will be happy. Once you get a well-paying job, you will be happy. Once you get married you will be happy. Once you have children you will be happy and so on.
By thinking this way we spend most of our time waiting for happiness in the future when we should be experiencing it in this present moment.
What if you realise that you can choose to be happy in this moment as well as in the future?
Research shows that by cultivating positive habits, you can actually increase your level of happiness in the long run. These are the activities that feel good in the present as well as result in increased happiness and meaning in the future.
The positive habits could include a practice of gratitude, spending more time with your loved ones, taking time off social media, working out in the gym or exercising more, etc. These habits lead to an increase in feeling positive emotions.
Do you need more such tips on increasing happiness?
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