Are you happy? How to be happy everyday?
This is a really subjective question when you think about it.
Happiness can’t really be measured easily through quantitative measures. Happiness is dependent on a lot of things, including your circumstances.
But one thing is for certain. You need to develop certain habits in order to become happier overall.
Factors Leading To Greater Happiness
Though happiness may be subjective and deeply personal, there is still a basic formula to it. Factors that affect our general happiness include economic, social, and the state of our health.
- Economic -Income, employment, career
- Social – Education, friends, family life, peer interaction
- Health – Mental, physical, access to healthcare
The Happiest Place Isn’t Where You Think
Contrary to popular belief, that amusement park with animals isn’t the happiest place on earth- for that you’d want to visit Norway.
Residing in a cold and often dark climate, Norwegians’ survival depends on strong community support and close communities. Norway is also one of the wealthiest countries on the planet and their economic and security benefits offer universal education and family allowance.
Apart from that, Norway also:
- Sees months with very little sunlight and the natural vitamins that boost the brain’s “happy” receptors
- Is the fourth wealthiest country in the world based on GDP per capita
- Offers free education in the university level for all citizens
The US comes in at #19 of 155 countries in terms of happiness, far behind Norway. From social unrest, healthcare concerns to education, the level of happiness Americans express is less than ideal.
The case of American happiness is a unique one and the following are cited as contributors to their decreased happiness:
- Perception of lowered personal freedoms, such as body pat downs and invasive government surveillance
- Income inequality issues and deteriorating educational systems
- Political unrest and a general frustration with current political climates
Though it’s clear Americans collectively have a lot on their mind, it isn’t all bad. In fact, the happiness level and optimism of Americans are rising.
- In 2017, 33% of Americans say they are happy (an increase from 31% in 2016)
- 86% of Americans say they have positive relationships with their family members
- 72% of Americans express they are optimistic about the future
Happy Habits Are The Key
When it comes to happiness there is a no one-size-fits-all solution. We all must approach happiness on our own terms. That said, there are steps that encourage happiness as a habit.
Here are some of them:
Practice gratitude: Psychology research shows that feelings of gratitude and thankfulness are associated with happiness.
Embrace and accept negative feelings: By acknowledging the full spectrum of our emotions, we can better appreciate the complexity of life.
Place a higher value on time than money: Prioritizing time is a behavior associated with greater happiness.
Practicing compassion and generosity with others: This will lead to more self-compassion and less negative self-talk
See Also: 8 Inspiring Habits of Happy People
Even physical effects can make us feel happy. Even just spending some time outdoors can do wonders for one’s mood and can even help establish happy habits.
- Serotonin is secreted when the eyes come into contact with sunlight.
- Vitamin D, produced when UV rays hit the skin, literally makes us feel happier.
- Simply forcing a smile can “trick” the brain into feeling happy.
Happy people do have some traits in common with one another.
Living in the moment: Happy people seek out new experiences, even if they may seem a little scary at first.
Goal-focused and big-picture oriented: Happy people don’t necessarily sweat the small stuff but still keep the endgame in sight.
Optimistic and idealistic: Instead of dwelling on the problems of the world, happy people tend to be more proactive.
How Can You Become Happier Today?
The happiest man in the world, Matthieu Ricard, meditates daily for at least 15 minutes on happy thoughts and compassion. Start this habit today and see how it can uplift your mood.
Learn more about the habits of the world’s happiest people from this infographic!
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Author: Brian Wallace
Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, and hosts the Next Action Podcast. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019.