The Keys to Happiness, and Why We Don’t Use Them

Yeah, I take anti-depressants.  According to this article, I shouldn’t need them.

“Research shows that people who are grateful, optimistic and forgiving have better experiences with their lives, more happiness, fewer strokes, and higher incomes,” according to Easterbrook. “If it makes world a better place at same time, this is a real bonus.”

Hmmmmm.  Have you ever seen Groundhog day?  The scene where Andy McDowell’s character is listing her traits of a perfect man and Bill Murray’s character says “Me. Me. Also me.” comes to mind here.  Only for me, I’d think of the above characteristics and say “Not me.  Not me.  Not me.”

“If you are looking for something to complain about, you are absolutely certain to find it,” Easterbrook told LiveScience. “It requires some effort to achieve a happy outlook on life, and most people don’t make it. Most people take the path of least resistance. Far too many people today don’t make the steps to make their life more fulfilling one.”

Hey!  Now that’s starting to sound like me.    🙂

One route to more happiness is called “flow,” an engrossing state that comes during creative or playful activity, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has found. Athletes, musicians, writers, gamers, and religious adherents know the feeling. It comes less from what you’re doing than from how you do it.

Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California at Riverside has discovered that the road toward a more satisfying and meaningful life involves a recipe repeated in schools, churches and synagogues. Make lists of things for which you’re grateful in your life, practice random acts of kindness, forgive your enemies, notice life’s small pleasures, take care of your health, practice positive thinking, and invest time and energy into friendships and family.

The happiest people have strong friendships, says Ed Diener, a psychologist University of Illinois. Interestingly his research finds that most people are slightly to moderately happy, not unhappy.

Well, I have strong friendships.  It’s just that mine are with the same people I was friends with 20+ years ago or with people I only know online.  But that counts for something, I’m sure.  And look – I’m up there in the list of people who know the feeling of the “flow.”  See, I’m a gamer.  My wife will be happy to know that I know how to be happy.Oh, and according to the article, happy people “…on average have stronger immune systems, are better citizens at work, earn more income, have better marriages, are more sociable, and cope better with difficulties. “  Sounds just like me.  See, this article has already improved my life, my wife’s life, and my marriage.

[tags]Happiness, How to be happy[/tags]