Make 2013 Your Happiest Year Yet!
So here we are landed in the New Year and with it fresh possibilities, rich in potential. As you think about what you want for 2013, how about adding in some resolutions that could help make this your happiest year yet. In the decade and a half that I’ve been investigating the science of happiness, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no great secret to happiness. A few simple steps – with practice – can make a big difference. The key is to focus on the things that bring you happiness – put more of your attention on the goal you want to reach rather than on any sources of unhappiness you may want to escape. Here are some of the habits of happiness that have all been tried and tested and come with the backing of science.
1. Savour life’s joys – relish, luxuriate in and positively feast on all the good things that come your way to maximise the enjoyment on offer.
2. Practise gratitude – this is about noticing what’s good in life to overcome the mind’s negativity bias and cultivating a heart-felt sense of awe and enchantment. Increase the benefits by expressing gratitude for the good things that come your way.
3. Use your strengths – get to know your strengths (your positive characteristics and natural talents) and find new ways of applying them in your life.
4. Live life with purpose – explore the deeper happiness that comes with having a sense of meaning in life, something that reaches beyond the self.
5. Nurture your relationships – ‘other people matter’ to your happiness so prioritise your loved ones. Love is the queen of positive emotions. The world’s happiest people have two things in common – good close relationships and active social lives.
6. Learn optimism – challenge pessimistic thinking (imagining the bad stuff that happens is personal, permanent and pervasive, instead find ways that it’s ‘not me’, ‘not always’ and ‘not everywhere’) and learn to reframe – find the silver lining in life’s negatives.
7. Build your resilience on two fronts by upping your ratio of positive to negative emotions (the way you feel) and learning optimism (the way you think).
8. Move & meditate – physical activity gives you a natural mood boost without having to overthink while mindfulness is a form of meditation that can develop your capacity for positive emotions.
9. Set goals for a happier life – having goals gives you a positive direction to move in and when you reach your goals the achievement brings with it a sense of satisfaction with life.
10. Practise altruism – acts of kindness are beneficial for both the recipient and you! So give, give, give.
Wishing you an abundant, flourishing, loving and very happy 2013!