Did you know that happiness is actually a superpower?
And not only that, but consciously cultivating happiness and joy in your life on a daily basis, especially in the midst of a world that can seem pretty dark and depressing most of the time, be truly transformative for your health, your relationships, and your overall well-being.
Happy people live longer. They’re more attractive. They have more fun.
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So I guess the question we need to ask is HOW. How can you be happier, right where you are?
How can you be happier when there’s so much about life that ISN’T all sunshine and roses?
How can you be happier TODAY?
Because the truth is that despite what we often think, happiness is NOT just a feeling that either comes or goes, and it’s also not just a state of being that some people are born with and others are not. It’s not your circumstances.
Happiness is actually a SKILL that you can learn. It’s a muscle that you can strengthen. It’s a superpower that you can cultivate. And the more you understand about what happiness actually is and how it works, the more you can do to increase your happiness levels on a daily basis.
And not only that, but the more you work on increasing your own happiness, the more you’ll find that it has a ripple effect on SO many other aspects of your life—your physical health, your emotional well-being, your relationships with others, your productivity, your resilience, and even your ability to lose weight and get healthier.
What is Happiness?
When it comes to defining happiness, it can be a little bit tricky, because happiness is not just one thing, but actually a combination of many different things.
For the most part, happiness is a subjective experience, and what makes one person happy may not do the same for someone else. But that doesn’t mean that happiness is completely arbitrary and that everyone has a different definition.
In fact, researchers have actually been able to identify a few key elements that are common to most people’s experience of happiness.
The first of these is what’s known as “hedonic well-being,” which basically refers to the presence of positive emotions and the absence of negative emotions. This is the feeling of joy and contentment that comes from doing something that makes you feel good.
The second element of happiness is what’s called “life satisfaction,” which is a more cognitive assessment of how happy you are with your life as a whole. This is the feeling of fulfillment that comes from living in alignment with your values and purpose.
And then finally, there’s what’s known as “eudaimonic (you-day-monic) well-being,” which is a combination of both hedonic well-being and life satisfaction. This is the feeling of flourishing and thriving that comes from living a meaningful life and having a sense of purpose and contribution.
So in other words, happiness is not just about feeling good in the moment or having a positive mood, although that’s definitely a part of it. It’s also about having a sense of fulfillment and eudaimonia—that you are living a life that matters.
And I think that’s an important distinction to make—that happiness isn’t just about feeling good, but about having a sense of purpose and fulfillment in your life—because if you don’t feel like you have purpose or fulfillment, then it’s almost impossible to be truly happy.
And if that’s the part you can relate to, this feeling of not having a clear purpose or deep sense of meaning in your life, then we’re actually going to talk a lot about that eudaimonic well-being and how to cultivate more of that fulfillment in your life, because I think it’s a really, REALLY important part of the happiness equation.
So that’s what happiness is. But why does it matter so much? Why is it worth actually working on and trying to increase in your life?
Why Happiness Matters
Well, it turns out that happiness actually matters in a BIG way for our overall health and well-being. And not only that, but it has a huge impact on SO many other areas of our lives—our relationships, our productivity, our ability to bounce back from failure, and even our likelihood of success in general.
In fact, numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between happiness and a whole host of positive benefits. For example, happy people have been shown to have stronger immune systems, better cardiovascular health, and a lower risk of chronic disease. They also tend to live longer.
Happiness has also been linked to greater success in general, as well as higher income levels. Happy people are more likely to be promoted, more likely to have fulfilling careers, and more likely to be seen as leaders.
And then there’s the impact on our relationships. Happy people have better relationships with others, including spouses, friends, and family members. They have more empathy and compassion, and they’re also more likely to attract positive people into their lives.
And perhaps most significantly, happiness has a huge impact on our ability to overcome adversity and bounce back from failure. Happy people are more resilient, and they’re more likely to see failure as a learning opportunity rather than as a reflection of their worth.
So in other words, happiness is not just a nice thing to have—it’s actually a game changer. It’s the secret sauce to all of the things that we want in life—better health, more success, stronger relationships, and greater resilience. It’s a superpower that has the ability to transform your life in so many ways.
And that’s why it’s worth spending a little bit of time and effort to actually understand what happiness is and how to cultivate more of it in your life.
Because the truth is that happiness is not something that just happens to us. It’s a choice that we have to actively make every single day. And that can be a little bit scary—to realize that we have the power to choose happiness, but that we can also choose not to be happy.
And that’s a choice that a lot of us make every single day, without even realizing it.
I mean, think about all the little things that might make you feel unhappy. Maybe it’s the traffic on your way to work, or the fact that your kids were fighting this morning, or that the scale said you gained a pound, or that you’re worried about something that happened yesterday. Or maybe it’s just the fact that you’re too tired to feel happy, or that you feel overwhelmed with everything you have to do.
But we all have those things, right?—the everyday stuff that can make us feel unhappy if we let it. But the choice to be happy is really just the choice to FOCUS on something different—to focus on the good, on the positive, and on the things that we have to be grateful for.
And that’s really the key to understanding happiness—that it’s not just an emotion that happens to us, but a way of thinking and perceiving the world that we have the power to change.
So how do we actually do that? How do we cultivate more happiness in our lives, and make the choice to be happy every single day?
How to Level Up Your Happiness
Happiness is not just one thing, but a combination of many different factors and elements. And what that means is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to increasing your happiness levels. What works for one person may not work for someone else.
But that being said, there ARE a few strategies that have been shown to work for just about everyone. These are things that have been backed up by scientific research, and that have been proven to have a positive impact on happiness levels.
And while you certainly don’t have to do ALL of these things, the more you can incorporate into your daily life, the more likely you are to see a significant increase in your overall happiness.
So let’s dive into these 7 simple strategies for increasing your happiness levels in your every day life.
Strategy 1: Practice Gratitude
The first strategy—and probably the most important one—is to practice gratitude on a daily basis. This means taking the time to intentionally focus on the things that you have to be thankful for, and to actually express that gratitude in some way.
And honestly, this is SO simple, but it can be really powerful. Because when we’re feeling unhappy, it’s usually because we’re focusing on the things that we DON’T have, or on the things that we wish were different. But when we intentionally focus on gratitude, it changes our perspective and helps us to see all the things that are going RIGHT in our lives.
And there are a lot of different ways you can do this. Some people like to keep a gratitude journal, where they write down 3 things they’re grateful for every day. Other people find that it’s helpful to just take a few minutes to think about those things before they go to bed at night. And still other people might choose to actually express their gratitude out loud, either to themselves or to someone else.
But the key here is to be intentional and to make it a daily practice, because that’s what allows it to become a habit that actually changes the way you think and perceive the world.
Strategy 2: Cultivate Mindfulness
The second strategy for increasing your happiness levels is to cultivate more mindfulness in your life. And what I mean by that is to try to be more present and fully engaged in each moment, rather than getting caught up in thoughts about the past or the future.
Because the truth is that most of us spend a lot of time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, and that takes us away from actually experiencing the joy that can be found in the present moment. And that’s a big problem, because when we’re not fully present, we’re not actually living our lives—we’re just going through the motions and missing out on all the good stuff.
So one of the best things you can do to increase your happiness is to start practicing mindfulness. This could be as simple as taking a few deep breaths and really focusing on the sensations in your body, or it could be something like going for a walk in nature and paying attention to all the sounds and smells around you. Or it could be something that you do on a regular basis, like yoga or meditation.
Strategy 3: Prioritize Meaningful Relationships
The third strategy for increasing your happiness levels is to prioritize meaningful relationships in your life. Because the truth is that happiness is not a solo endeavor—it’s something that’s meant to be shared with others. And when we don’t have strong, meaningful connections with other people, it’s really hard to be happy.
So take the time to think about the relationships in your life—both your romantic relationships, and your relationships with friends and family. Who are the people that bring you joy and make you feel loved and valued? And how can you make more time for them in your life? How can you seek out those good people who will enrich your life if you don’t have them. Sometimes it really is as easy as inviting them over for Martini night!
Strategy 4: Find Your Purpose
The fourth strategy for increasing your happiness levels is a bigger one, and frankly it might take some time to figure it out, but you’ve got to find your purpose and live in alignment with your core values.
Because as I mentioned earlier, a big part of happiness is having that sense of eudaimonic well-being—the feeling that you are living a life that matters, and that you have a purpose and a contribution to make.
So take the time to think about what’s really important to you. What do you want from life? What do you feel called to do? What is the legacy that you want to leave behind? What are the things that make you feel most alive and fulfilled? And how can you make more time for those things in your life?
But in the meantime, maybe it’s time to start exploring. Read books on topics that interest you. Take a class or try a new hobby. Start volunteering. Seek out opportunities to learn and grow. Because the more you can tap into that sense of purpose, the happier you will be.
Strategy 5: Take Care of Your Body
The fifth strategy for increasing your happiness levels is to take care of your body. And honestly, this is one of the things I love so much about our Thinlicious System. Because the reality is that if you don’t feel good in your body, it’s really hard to be happy.
We’ve got plenty of blog posts specifically on this topic, so I won’t go into it too deeply here, but in a nutshell it means getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. It means drinking lots of water and avoiding excessive caffeine and alcohol. It means taking time to rest and recover.
It also means being willing to take a look at what you’re putting into your body in other ways, like the media and social media you’re consuming. Because all of that stuff has an impact on how you feel and how happy you are.
So the more you can prioritize taking care of your body, the happier you will be.
Strategy 6: Seek Out Joy
The sixth strategy for increasing your happiness levels is to seek out joy on a regular basis. And what I mean by that is to actually take the time to do things that bring you joy, on purpose.
Because the reality is that happiness isn’t just something that happens to us—it’s a choice that we have to actively make every single day. It’s about being intentional and choosing to focus on the good, on the positive, and on the things that bring us joy.
So what are the things that make you happy? Is it spending time in nature? Listening to music? Dancing in the kitchen? Playing with your kids or grandkids? Cooking a delicious meal? Reading a good book? Whatever it is, make time for those things on a regular basis, and don’t let yourself get so busy that you forget to actually enjoy your life.
Strategy 7: Practice Self-Compassion
And finally, the seventh strategy for increasing your happiness levels is to practice self-compassion and give yourself grace. Because the truth is that we’re often our own harshest critics, and that inner voice of self-judgment can really bring us down.
So try to be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small. And be willing to give yourself a little grace when things don’t go as planned.
Because the more you can cultivate that sense of self-compassion, the happier you will be.
So there you have it–seven simple strategies for increasing your happiness levels. And honestly, while they may seem simple, they’re not always easy. Because the reality is that happiness is something you have to choose, every single day. It’s not always the default emotion, and it’s not always the easiest emotion to feel.But it is the best choice you can make.
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