Research as recently shown that there are eight things that the happiest people seem to have in common.
1. They devote a great deal of time in nurturing their relationships with friends and family.
2. They regularly express gratitude for what they have.
3. They are often the first ones to offer a helping hand when it is needed.
4. When it comes to their futures, they express optimism.
5. Happy people live in the present and savor life's little pleasures.
6. They make exercise a regular habit; some weekly, some daily.
7. They are deeply committed to lifelong goals and ambitions.
8. While happy people have their share of sadness and crises and become just as distressed as the rest of the population, but they possess poise, strength, and grace. They have learned how to accept and deal with whatever life throws at them.
But what good is this list, really, if we don't put any of these things into actual use? Here's an interesting trivia fact about happiness: frequency beats intensity. Okay, so we know it's better to be a little happy all the time than it is to be really over-the-moon happy once in awhile. But how do we sustain that daily happiness? Going to church and/or exercising regularly gives humans a disproportionate amount of happiness, so says the latest research. Why? Because both activities give humans frequent boosts. This proves that we if we do the things we enjoy, on a regular basis, we automatically become happier. Find time to do the things that matter to you and do them more often. That's the easiest and quickest way to our daily dose of happiness. It's just what the doctor ordered.
Here's an interesting tidbit of information. Research shows that 40% of happiness comes from intentional activity, That means that any of us can increase our happiness by 40% just by what we choose to do each each day. We schedule work, medical appointments, hair appointments, PTA meetings, and the like. But few of us ever schedule "happy time." Why is that? It's because much of what we do everyday is done on autopilot; it's not done based on conscious decision-making but, on habit. So how do humans and frogs begin making the conscious decision to be happy? How do we take all those great things we learn online (and, hopefully, in this blog) and actually do them? Well, experts say it starts with ARG!
Anticipation Recollection Gratitude. That's it. We probably all know by now that morning rituals are important. They set the tone for the entire day. Anticipation is a powerful happiness booster. Just think back to when you were a kid anticipating your birthday, or all the wonderful toys you might find under the Christmas tree. It boosted your mood and made you feel happy for a long time. And even though those days are far behind you, it's important to know that adults, too, need things to look forward to....that's the power of Anticipation. Don't have something to look forward to? Schedule it! Plan a special dinner with someone you love or plan to call a dear friend you haven't seen or talked to in a long time. Schedule a movie date with your best friend. How about a nice bubble bath with your favorite tunes playing, a scented candle, and a nice glass of wine? Recollecting good times has a similar effect. Recalling wonderful memories allows us to relive good times and that helps to relieve stress. Next time you 're feeling down or overly-stressed, take a few minutes and recall a couple of good memories. Dig out you photo album and look at old pictures that make you smile. Gratitude is the absolute king of happiness! Having gratitude for all the good things you have, has a way of increasing happiness exponentially. Science has shown that the more gratitude someone expresses, the less likely he/she will be depressed, anxious, lonely, envious, or neurotic. The ARG combo often leads to more optimism which, as we discussed earlier, is a "powerful predictor of happiness."
This may sound a little corny, but every morning wake up and say ARG! Remind yourself what these letters stand for, then get up and savor your morning tea. Try a little yoga or meditation to help ease you into your hectic schedule. Play your favorite music as you get get dressed. Enjoy a nourishing morning meal that looks as good as it tastes. Morning routines and rituals can get your day off to a wonderful start. Then, no matter what else happens, you have the very recent memory of what a great morning you had. And the anticipation of doing the same thing again tomorrow. Now doesn't that make you grateful for your own wonderful life? See? ARG!