Looking for a Happiness Boost? Try These 7 Habits

Looking for a Happiness Boost? Try These 7 Habits

It isn’t realistic to be happy all the time, but these habits can go a long way.

via Psychology Today by Roxy Zarrabi

KEY POINTS

  • Research demonstrates that one’s level of happiness eventually goes back to baseline after any positive change has taken place.
  • Research estimates that genetics account for about 50 percent of one’s baseline happiness level, or “set point.”
  • Regardless of one’s happiness set point, regularly practicing habits that deepen one’s sense of purpose and meaning can increase happiness.
Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

Source: Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

We often have many misconceptions about what truly makes us happy. Many of us are accustomed to thinking, “I’ll be happy if or when ‘X’ happens.” Regardless of the goals we want to achieve or the changes we want to make in our lives, the underlying motivation is often a hope that once these things are accomplished, we will be happy.

While achieving our goals or experiencing exciting life changes can lead to a short-term mood boost, they don’t seem to have the same effect after some time has passed. This is due to our brain’s tendency to become adapted to any changes we experience, with research demonstrating that people’s levels of happiness typically go back to baseline sometime after the change has taken place.

It isn’t realistic to be happy all the time. In fact, our painful emotions and challenging times can contribute to our growth and help us better recognize, as well as appreciate, positive feelings when they do arise. Striving solely for happiness can actually have the opposite effect, so it can be helpful to focus on pursuing meaning and purpose, both of which are strongly linked to happiness.

Research has estimated that genetics account for about 50 percent of one’s happiness set point. This means that regardless of your baseline happiness level, or “set point,” you can become happier by regularly practicing habits that don’t just lead to a short-term burst of happiness but that increase your sense of meaning and purpose.

Similar to physical exercise, you can train your brain and see results over time no matter what level you are starting at when you begin. Below are seven habits that can help increase your happiness.

7 habits to increase your happiness

1. Practice enjoying the present moment.

Many people spend a lot of time worrying about the future or feeling sad about the past; both can prevent them from experiencing the present moment. The only moment in which you can experience happiness is in the present⁠—not in the future when X, Y, or Z will happen. When you are present, you are able to truly savor and enjoy the current moment…

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