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C'mon Get Happy!

Some of you may know that I am working on my psychology degree toward becoming an art therapist.  Here’s some wonderful and practical advice that really stuck with me.

Evidence Based Suggestions for A Happier Life.  Your happiness, like your cholesterol level, is genetically influenced. Yet as cholesterol is also influenced by diet and exercise, so happiness is partly under your control (Layous & Lyubomirsky, 2014; Nes 2010). Here are 11 research-based suggestions for improving your mood and increasing your satisfaction with life.

  1. Realize enduring happiness may not come from financial success. We adapt to change by adjusting our expectations. Neither wealth, nor any other circumstance we long for, will guarantee happiness.
  2. Take control of your time. Set goals to feel control.
  3. Act Happy. Research shows that people who are manipulated into a smiling expression feel better. So, put on a happy face! Talk as if you feel positive self-esteem, are optimistic and outgoing. We can often act our way into a happier state of mind.
  4. Seek work and leisure that engage your skills. Happy people often are in a zone called flow – absorbed in tasks that challenge but don’t overwhelm them.
  5. Buy shared experiences, rather than things. “The Best Things In Life Aren’t Things.” Plan the gift of a shared moment or activity, the memory will last a lifetime.
  6. Join the “movement” movement. Aerobic activity can relieve mild depression as it promotes health and energy.
  7. Give your body the sleep it wants. Reserve time for renewing sleep and solitude.
  8. Give priority to close relationships. Intimate friendships can help you weather difficult times.
  9. Focus beyond self. Reach out to those in need, perform acts of kindness. It also makes us feel good.
  10. Count Your Blessings. Keeping a gratitude journal heightens well-being (Emmons, 2007; Seligman et al.,2005).
  11. Nurture Your Spiritual Self. For many people, faith provides a support community, a reason to focus beyond self, and a sense of purpose and hope. That helps explain why people active in faith communities report greater-than-average happiness and often cope well with crisis.


 - written by Annette Gaffney

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