10 principles to maximise your happiness…because it’s always good to be reminded

10 principles to maximise your happiness…because it’s always good to be reminded

via Psychology Today by Thomas G Plante

Here at Santa Clara University, I was recently asked to give a lunch time talk to the university community about happiness. Not surprisingly the room was packed with people wanting to be happier. While we have a pretty happy campus with a high degree of job satisfaction as well as very high rates of faculty, staff, and student retention, everyone wants to find ways to be happier in life, right? 

We all strive for happiness. But unfortunately we too often look in the wrong direction. Money, possessions, and status are often the paths that people take to take in search of happiness. We all likely know in our hearts that these pursuits may seem on the surface to supply happiness but they really are not ultimately satisfying at all. Quality empirical research on happiness has consistently found that these popular strategies to secure happiness simply do not work in the long run. In fact, once basic needs such as food, housing, clothing, and so forth are met, more resources are not associated with proportionally higher levels of happiness.

Additionally, wealthy countries (such as the USA) do not have, on average, happier people than many less wealthy countries as long as basic needs are met. There has been much written on this topic and there are some terrific and thoughtful books and articles to read to learn more. I also have blogged about this issue on this Psychology Today site in the past as well.

After reviewing the research literature as well as reflecting on my own work with psychotherapy patients and teaching college students for over 30 years, I’d like to suggest being mindful of the following 10 important principles to support your efforts to be happier. If you keep these 10 concepts in mind and try to use them in your life, your chances of being happier are greatly enhanced.

1. Gratitude: Gratitude is the attitude you want to nurture. Research has found that just keeping a list of the things that you are grateful for can improve your mood, well-being, and happiness. While it is often easy to complain about things or take so many things for granted, focus on what you are grateful for on a daily basis and see how your mood and spirits change for the better over time.

2. Optimism: Optimism, seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty, also has a great deal of research support as a predictor of well-being, happiness, and even both mental and physical health outcomes. An optimistic style has been found to be associated with a wide range of mental and physical health benefits and even with longevity. Without trying to be in denial about problems, try to see the upside of things and circumstances to improve your happiness.

3. Social Comparisons: We can’t help ourselves. We constantly compare ourselves with others. We engage in both upward and downward comparisons watching those who seem to have much more than we do as well as observing those who have much less than we do. Based on these observations, we tend to make critical judgments about our own happiness, well-being, security, intelligence, attractiveness, success, and so forth. If we want to be happier we need to be hyper-vigilant about our tendencies to compare ourselves with others and to work hard to avoid doing so.  For more thoughts on social comparisons…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE