By Brad Aronson
I Found These In An Article Called 'How to be Happy: Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier'......This Will Also Help You With Parenting, Providing A Healthy Environment For Your Kids. These Positive Traits We Can Develop Make Us More Cheerful And Raise Stronger Kids.
See the positive
Researchers have found that we’re happier when we see the positive. This doesn’t mean we live in a dream world where we don’t see problems. It means we notice the positive. The good news is that we can train our brains. over time, to more often see the positive.
Here are some ways we can be Positive
Perform at least one act of kindness daily.
As you start performing acts of kindness, you’ll notice more and more opportunities to be kind. A study from Michael StegerOpens in a new window showed that kind acts increase happiness, and performing kind acts starts shifting our mindset to a more positive outlook.
As far as acts of kindness go, think small. A “thank you note” in your spouse’s lunch, an email to one of your kid’s amazing teachers, etc. To get you started, here are over 100 easy, meaningful acts of kindness, and here are 25 random acts of kindness for kids.
I know you can find at least one person to compliment every day. Maybe it’s your spouse for making breakfast, the barista you saw doing great work, a colleague who did solid work. Give at least one compliment a day. Perhaps you could begin each morning by sending a short text telling someone why you appreciate them.
You’re training your mind to notice more of the good things happening around you, which increases your own positivity and happiness.
Keep a journal and record what makes you happy as well as
what makes you unhappy.
I thought I knew what made me happy and unhappy – and I did to an extent – but when I started recording it, I became much more aware of what I should incorporate more of and less of into my life.
Find the benefits of Flow.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi led pioneering research on flowOpens in a new window, noting that lasting pleasure and satisfaction comes from activities that bring about a state of “flow”, a state where we’re fully engaged in an activity that is easy, rewarding and occupies our minds completely. Something that makes everything else fade away. For me it’s playing softball. For others it might be meditation.
Your journal might uncover some flow opportunities. Spend more time on them. They’re a lasting boost that clears your mind and raises your overall happiness level long after the activity has been completed.
Keep the right company.
Write down the three people you hang out with the most. Next to each person’s name write their qualities. When you’re done, continue reading…
Do you want to be like these people? We’re most heavily influenced by the people we hang out with the most. This large-scale studyOpens in a new window shows, that being around happy people will make you happier. And, of course, if you’re around negative people, it will make you more negative.
Help other people
I’ve always believed that helping others makes us happier, and now I’ve got scientific proof (By the way, even helping people at work makes you happier, according to this University of Wisconsin Madison studyOpens in a new window). Instead of focusing on your own problems, you’re helping someone else and empowering yourself in the process.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Multiple studies show that social media causes unhappinessOpens in a new window. Why? Because you’re comparing your real life to everyone else’s highlight reel.
I try to remind myself that I can’t assume anyone has it better, because I don’t know their lives or their problems.
Focus on you. What would be great for you? And, what can you do to get there?
Give people the benefit of the doubt
This is another suggestion that’s easier said than done, but still worth trying…Instead of getting frustrated with someone, try having compassion.
If someone is rude, I think to myself that the person is probably having an awful day, and I remind myself how lucky I am not to be him (and not to be rude).
Remember, You’re not a mind reader.
This goes along with the prior suggestion. Don’t interpret someone’s actions as a slight. If you don’t know what someone meant assume the best or ask them to explain.
Holding a grudge only makes you feel bad. Don’t let someone who has treated you poorly have the power to take away your joy. (Of course, this is way easier said than done.)
At one point I was upset about a decision I had made, and I thought about it daily. Finally, I spoke to someone about it. After a while, the person asked, “What advice would you give to a friend, if she came to you with this problem?”
Live for today
Waiting for a day that is less busy is waiting for a day that won’t come. Don’t put off what makes you happy. Don’t look back, you’re not heading in that direction.
See setbacks and obstacles as growth opportunities
Live your values
Believe and act upon your personal values. That builds contentment over time.
Take steps towards life goals
Many people have huge life goals — so big that working on them never starts. Break big dreams into small achievable steps, and then focus on taking one step at a time. The progress makes us happy, and the small steps give us a chance to succeed.
Put more effort into understanding the people around you. Really listen and ask questions. You’ll have better conversations and better relationships.
Don’t talk bad about people
Look for the positive and talk about that. You’re also helping with your positivity, changing your mindset to see the positive, which makes you happier.
When the little things someone does drives you nuts, it helps to keep an eye out for the positive. Let’s take your spouse. When you start noticing the great things your husband does every day, it’s easier not to be bothered by the small things, like dirty socks on the floor.
Choose to see the positive
This ties to being thankful. You have a choice to see things in a positive or negative light. Seeing things more positively increases happiness. I’m not suggesting you embrace someone who is trying to hurt you or tell someone it’s good that they’re sick, but you can train yourself to view things more positively.
You can be the person who looks outside and says, “it’s a beautiful day, and I’m excited,” or the person who says, “I’m disappointed it’s supposed to rain tomorrow.”
Having more stuff creates work, and stuff can simply weigh you down. Seeing your clutter is a constant reminded that you have work to do and things to clean.
Change how you view chores
I’m not doing the dishes, because I have to. I’m doing the dishes because I want to make my wife happy. That makes me a lot happier about chores, and makes me look for more things I can do around the house (although my wife might debate this point). You can also say you’re doing chores because you enjoy the outcome – like a clean house.
Don’t keep score
No one owes you for your acts of kindness. You’re doing the good deeds because you want to make a difference and you also know it will help you feel better. Keeping score takes away some of your joy.
Keep reminders of happy moments
Hang happy photos, keep mementos around the house, create photo albums. Research showsOpens in a new window that reminding yourself of enjoyable times increases happiness.
Recognize and embrace your inspirations
Maybe there are movies, stories or people that inspire you. Seek them out and expose yourself to them–repeatedly. Some people like to read about individuals who have overcome enormous struggles to give them perspective. Others like to read about people who are saving the world. Choose what resonates with you.
Listen to music.
According to a study from the Group Health Research InstituteOpens in a new window, over a 3-month period, people who listened to music had the same 50% decrease in anxiety symptoms as patients who received ten hour-long massages. (Note that their findings point to massage as helpful in reducing anxiety as well – it’s just a lot more expensive than music.) Choosing the right music can play a part in happiness. Happy and upbeat songs work for me. Some studies have found that sad songs increase happiness, so you might want to try different types of music to see what works for you.
Laugh More Often
At yourself, at funny movies and with your friends. Scientific studiesOpens in a new window have shown that laughter releases endorphins and even significantly increases our thresholds for pain. If you want a great laugh right now, check out this hilarious 1 minute read about unbelievable, real life courtroom exchanges recorded by stenographers — Disorder in the Court.
Although all laughter is good, group laughter has more of a benefit.
Focus on health and wellness
30 minutes of exercise has been scientifically provenOpens in a new window to have more of an impact on happiness than antidepressants. Wow! In the six-month study, of depressed people, 38% of those using medication slipped back into depression. Only 9% of those exercising did. 31% of the people doing exercise and taking medication became depressed again. If nothing else, start walking 30 minutes a day.
You’ll feel better; that’s what numerous studiesOpens in a new window say.
Get more sleep
Studies showOpens in a new window that 60-90 minutes more sleep would make most of us happier and that most of us don’t get enough sleep.
Naps aren’t just for grandparents.
This studyOpens in a new window shows that naps desensitize us to negative emotions while making us more responsive to positive ones.
Go Outside More Often.
Numerous studiesOpens in a new window reviewed in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that being outdoors as well as being in nature increased happiness and vitality. Taking a walk outside might be a great step for boosting happiness.
Meditating Is Helpful – If You Don’t Complicate It.
Meditating is a great way to be in the moment. There are countless studiesOpens in a new window showing that people who meditate are happier. I haven’t mastered meditating, and I don’t think it makes me happier. However, I was introduced to a mini meditation that was helpful when I had a period of high stress.
I focused on counting and my breath, clearing my mind of everything else. Here’s how the mini meditation works:
- Close your eyes
- Count slowly to 4 while you take the biggest breath you can. Expand your stomach and then your chest as you breathe. Sit up straight to take in as much air as possible. You want to feel like you’re going to explode.
- Count slowly to 4 as you hold your breath.
- Then, count slowly to 4 as you exhale. Feel a little bit of tension leaving your body as you exhale.
- Repeat 8 times.
I was recommended to do this at the same time every day and when I was stressed. It worked great.
Optional addition: Try counting to 4 (or less) after you exhale and before you take your next breath.
Over time, I wound up increasing most of my counts above 4.
Some Meditation Advice
Although meditating for 20 minutes (or even 10 minutes) didn’t seem to work for me, I used to start my meditation by thinking about what I wanted to improve. I wanted to be less bothered by little things. After a month, the daily reminder helped me to catch myself before I got upset.
At the start of each meditation, I also thought about how I wanted meditation to make me a better husband and dad, and I think it helped.
Keep in mind that you’re not going to be happy 100% of the time. Even though social media feeds make it seem like so many people are happy all of the time, they’re not. Have realistic goals and expectations. Aiming for incremental gains in happiness is a realistic goal, and it can change our lives.
Seeing the positive is an important part of being happy.