5 Tips to Find Lasting Happiness
By: Nicole Pyles
March 20th is the official International Day of Happiness – and achieving a lasting joy may not be as hard as it sounds. Happiness has less to do with what you buy and how much money you have in the bank, but more to do with the relationships in your life, according to a recent Harvard study. Yet, happiness is more than just wearing a smile, it’s what is going on inside of you. People who are generally happier experience more positive emotions, bounce back from negative emotions, and also have a sense of purpose. But if you want a sense of overall lasting happiness - that lasts far longer than a social media trend - we have for you 5 tips for finding last happiness.
Start a gratitude journal.
If you are going through a challenging time in your life, it can be difficult to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. However, if you are trying to achieve happiness that will last you far longer than a mere moment, consider changing your perspective and focus on the positive things in your life. Start a gratitude journal and write down 5 things each day (or each week) about what you are grateful for. Even if you are in a particularly difficult time in your life, write down the small joys in your life, whether it’s the sound of birds, quality time spent with family, or a good sleep at night. When you begin to really pay attention, you’ll notice that you have a lot to be thankful for. Consider these tips for your future gratitude journal.
Do something kind for someone else.
According to a recent Harvard study, people who did one small act of kindness each day experienced a boost in happiness. It can begin in small ways, such as paying for someone’s coffee behind you in line to lending a hand to a coworker who is behind on their work. These gestures make a tremendous difference not only to other people – but also yourself. In fact, it can give you a natural high – also known as the “helper’s high” – and once you begin to look for ways to extend your kindness to others, it can completely change how you see yourself and the world.
Stay off social media.
Most of us spend far too much time on social media and unfortunately, social media leads to unhappiness. So, if you find yourself scrolling through social media on a Saturday wondering why you are feeling let down, it’s time to put the smart phone down (or laptop). Using social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram can lead to anxiety and an overwhelming feeling. So, instead of scrolling through social media, call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and set up a coffee date. Read a book you haven’t read in a long time or go for a walk around the neighborhood. Not only can social media be addicting, it also can reduce your attention span and reduce interacting with your real, in-person relationships. So, it may be time for you to log out and let go.
Spend time with people you love.
It’s no coincidence that the theme this year for the International Day of Happiness is “happier together.” Relationships are an essential feature to lasting happiness. So, today, make it a point to spend quality time with those you love. If you have a friend you haven’t reached out to in a while, send them an email or a text or call them to rekindle the friendship. Get to know your neighbors by walking over and introducing yourself. Break down the barriers in your life and open up and share with others which will improve your relationships and your happiness.
Become a pet owner – or at least, spend time with one.
It may not be too much of a surprise, but having a pet makes you happier. Recent studies show that pet owners provide support to their owners, as well as improve self-esteem, physical health, and healthier relationship habits. So, if you want a pet in your life, but can’t own one at the moment, consider volunteering your time at a pet shelter. Not only do you get that “helper high,” but you can also get the benefits of spending time with a furry friend.
So, as International Day of Happiness draws to a close, hopefully with these tips in mind, you will experience more than just a mere boost in mood but a generally lasting sense of joy.
Nicole Pyles is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. She enjoys reading, writing, spending time with her family, and tweeting. Say hi to her on Twitter @BeingTheWriter and check out her writing portfolio at http://npyles86.journoportfolio.com.