Happiness is something you DO not just something you FEEL

Happiness is something you DO not just something you FEEL

by Ben C. Fletcher, D.Phil., Oxon from Psychology Today 

Happy people view things differently to unhappy people. They are more positive, more solution focussed. They look at things in terms of gain rather than loss. More importantly, though, they have a distinctly different set of habits. The small things that happy people do, day to day, are subtly different to what unhappy people do.

How are your own happy habits?

Happiness is the consequence of what we do and how we behave. So when a person who is unhappy shifts their focus and does something different they help themselves to become happier. Trying to think yourself happier is difficult, happiness comes when you change what you do.

We tend to think of happiness as subjective well-being, with a set of emotions and feelings. Wikipedia says:

“Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happiness)

And of course, if you ask someone if they are happy they will probably reflect on how they feel. An unhappy person will bring to mind their feelings of sadness, perhaps some negative emotions or absence of joy. And most would say they want to feel better.

It’s not easy, as any unhappy person will tell you, to think yourself happy. But you can boost your happiness by your actions. And you can sustain and nurture your happiness by what you do. Simply put, if you want to be happier you have to do something different – you have to do new things.

Recent attempts to synthesise the happiness research are beginning to recognise the centrality of what people do. In his 2011 book ‘Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being’ Professor Martin Seligman abandons the simplistic notions of happiness and suggests how people can flourish. For Seligman, the key elements to flourish he labels PERMA – to flourish you need to change how you behave to improve your positive emotion (P), your engagement (E), relationships (R), meaning (M), and sense of accomplishment (A). You cannot flourish just by trying to think differently, because positive thinking has to be accompanied by coherent behaviours. To flourish, you have to Do Something Different.

Happiness is action but happy habits are not hedonic habits, as Action for Happiness recognise in their ‘Ten Keys to Happier Living”’– synthesised from all the happiness research. Their GREAT DREAM advocates…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE