Above is the article where I got the following information from, but here is a short summary…
Psychology professor David T. Lykken argues that each human has a happiness ‘set point’ which is what I initially believed while studying psychology at university. I believed that some people are happy, others are not, and it doesn’t really matter what external situations they have (to a degree).
However, Lykken also points out that although resistant to change, it is possible to change your happiness set point (which is what I’m trying to do). He says it is possible to thwart negative emotions such as pessimism, resentment and anger, and to foster positive emotions such as empathy, gratitude and serenity.
1. Don’t worry, choose happy
– Make a conscious effort to choose to feel happy. Think of things that make you happy, surround yourself with people and situations in which you feel happy. Make the effort.
2. Cultivate Gratitude
– Remind yourself of things you feel grateful for
3. Foster Forgiveness
– the opposite of forgiveness is dwelling on the transgression. Nothing positive ever came from dwelling on negative aspects of the past. It no longer exists, it is part of the past, so let it go.
4. Counteract Negative Thoughts and Feelings
– Our unconscious thoughts and feelings are difficult to control, but that doesn’t mean impossible to control. What creates your feelings? Your thoughts. And who controls your thoughts? You, and you alone. When you remember that your thoughts are entirely yours, and only thoughts (they don’t really exist), you will learn to treat them less seriously. Once you’ve done this you can disregard the negative thoughts and create and focus on the positive ones.
5. Remember, Money can’t buy Happiness
– Research has found that once income is above the poverty level, increases in wealth does little to increase happiness. There will always be someone richer than you, so comparing yourself to others and aspiring to their level will not bring happiness even when you reach it!
6. Foster Friendship
– Surround yourself with people who care about you, their positivity towards you will rub off and make you feel better when you’re feeling down.
7. Engage in Meaningful Activities
– Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says people are seldom happier than when they’re in the “flow.” This is a state in which your mind becomes thoroughly absorbed in a meaningful task that challenges your abilities. This is similar to the state of ‘Mindfulness’ which is concentrating on the present moment (more about mindfulness and its benefits in a future post!)