Really happy people have these 11 things in common…and you can have them too!

Really happy people have these 11 things in common…and you can have them too!

Successful people often learn from other successful people. 

Happy people also often learn about happiness from…others who're happy! 

The happiest of people tend to have certain characteristics in common; and you can learn from them right now…

by Drake Baer

Only a third of Americans describe themselves as “very happy.”

Perhaps that’s why there’s such a market for happiness-related wisdom: Amazon has over 64,000 books on happiness ready for your ordering.

But you don’t need to read every book to get a survey of the happiness literature. Below, we’ve combined thoughts from a few insight-packed Quora threads with the latest in psychological research.

1. Happy people savour it. “Old cliches like ‘stopping to smell the roses’ and ‘it’s the little things in life’?” asks user Durga Ranjan. “They’re true. The happiness researchers call it ‘Savouring.’”

Savouring an experience is “mindfully attending to and appreciating a positive stimulus,” writes Loyola University-Chicago psychologist Fred B. Bryant. His examples of experiences to savour include “a virtuoso musical performance, eating a gourmet meal, soaking in a warm bath, receiving a compliment, spending time with a good friend, or winning an honour or award.”

2. Happy people don’t compare themselves to others. “I work in psychiatry and can tell you first-hand that so many seemingly happy and successful people are burning themselves alive on the fire of their inner turmoil,” shares user Matthew Manning. “Focus on you.”

Indeed, the psych research shows that the way we stand relative to others changes our sense of subjective well-being. It’s for this reason that having a higher status than your immediate peers is a better predictor of subjective well-being than getting paid.

3. Happy people are grateful. University of California, Davis, professor Robert Emmons has been studying gratitude for more than a decade. In experiments, he’s found that people who are prompted to feel gratitude — for a sunset, a friend, or just being alive — are 25% happier than people who haven’t been primed to graciousness. User Ian Vogel likes comedian Louis C.K.’s advice: just appreciate what you got: “People who complain about their cell phone coverage are crazy. Shut up! It’s magic! Enjoy it!”

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