We all want to be happy – and yet the secret to true happiness often seems unobtainable!
How many times have you caught yourself thinking:
- “I’d be happy if I had more money”;
- “‘I’ll be happy when I’ve found the right partner”;
- “I’d be happy if it weren’t for my job”;
- “‘I’d be happy if I could go on a holiday”; or
- “I’ll be happy once I retire and the kids leave home”?
What if I told you that you can be happy, right now?
There are numerous scientific studies on happiness, and their results may surprise you.
Do You Know the Secret to True Happiness?
Have you ever wondered why there are so many celebrities who are unhappy, despite being attractive, with a successful career and millions of dollars to their names?
This is because the secret to true happiness is not so much determined by our circumstances – rather it is our thinking patterns and outlook on life that is the key determinant to our levels of positive wellbeing.
Knowing that happiness is achievable for everyone, are you ready to find out some ways you can improve your own happiness levels today?
10 Tips For Happiness
Drawing from the literature, here are my top ten tips to help you improve your happiness levels, and start feeling more fulfilled with your life:
- Identify the things that make you happy, and do more of them! Actively plan to do things that give you a feeling of satisfaction – and do them often.
- Have gratitude and appreciation for what you do have. Write down three things each day in a ‘gratitude journal’.
- Invest time and energy in your closest relationships. There are strong correlations between happiness levels and meaningful relationships with others.
- Be generous and kind to others. You do not need to spend money; studies have shown that people who engage in random acts of kindness or volunteer work are happier than those who don’t.
- Practice relaxation strategies including controlled breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness meditation and guided imagery visualisation.
- Actively engage in a healthy lifestyle. Eat more fruits and vegetables, and cut down on processed foods and sugar. Be sure to exercise regularly, and make sure you get enough sleep each night.
- Identify and challenge your negative thoughts. Replace them with more positive, helpful ones.
- Accept the things you cannot control, and make peace with them. Then, commit to taking action to change the things that are in your control. Manage your own time and priorities. People who believe that they are accountable for their own lives (also called internal locus of control) have been shown to be happier than those who don’t.
- Find your purpose in life. You may find this through your religious beliefs, in looking after your family, or by having a career that you find meaningful. Having a sense of purpose is linked with higher levels of wellbeing.
- Identify your personal strengths and utilise them in your day-to-day life. In his book ‘Authentic Happiness’, Martin Seligman identifies 24 signature strengths and proposes that engaging in your top strengths promotes happiness. (You can take the online quiz to find out your own signature strengths at www.authentichappiness.org).
If happiness seems hard to find, a psychologist can help you with ideas and strategies to help you in your search.
Author: Tegan Gonczar, BA (Hons), Grad Dip Ed (Secondary).
Tegan Gonczar is a Brisbane psychologist with experience in providing psychological counselling to children, adolescents and adults; she has a passion for working with people of all ages, to help them overcome obstacles, learn effective ways of coping and lead happier and more fulfilling lives.
Bookings and Fees: To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychologist Tegan Gonczar, try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.
- Harris, R. (2008). The Happiness Trap: How to stop struggling and start living. Boston, MA: Trumpeter.
- Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. New York: Free Press.
- Sharp, T. (2005). The Happiness Handbook: strategies for a happy life. Finch Publishing, Sydney.