If you’re unhappy today, you’ll be unhappy tomorrow — unless you take action. I am not trying to be alarmist, just saying it as it is. Research by the University of Edinburgh shows that up to half of our happiness is down to our genes. We have a certain predisposition towards a level of happiness and satisfaction. But while genetics may dictate some of our happiness quotient, each of us is responsible for 40 percent. Interestingly only 10% is determined by our circumstances. So here are the two things you can do today you to increase your happiness.
You can improve your level through intentional activities. As you begin to appreciate how your behaviours affect your emotional and mental states, happiness can literally become a habit. I am currently working with individuals who want to increase their happiness by developing their confidence and assertiveness so that they can handle difficult situations and people better.
Thus, it’s possible to remodel yourself into a happier person! Happiness, more than anything, is a state of mind — a way to perceive and approach the world. When you choose activities that boost happiness, you’re effectively managing your emotional well-being.
What else can you do to become happier? Recent findings in happiness research reveal that it’s important for us to:
- Be grateful for what we’ve got and express our gratitude.
- Cultivate an optimistic outlook
When expressing gratitude, you improve positive feelings and behaviours in almost every situation. Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, neutralising anger, envy, worry and anxiety. It helps stave off the boredom associated with taking things for granted and constantly wanting more and feeling that we need the latest gadget or car etc.
Expressions of gratitude are causally linked to mental and physical health rewards. Your goal is to turn gratitude into a habit. Two activities that greatly improve your chance of adopting this vital habit are
- regularly writing down gratitude statements and
- keeping a gratitude list.
Whilst many people recommend that you think about all the things you have to be grateful for, I believe that is not enough. Thoughts are fleeting and easily forgotten. If you wish to turn gratitude into a habit that improves your overall happiness, you need to take action. Make a list of the things you appreciate.
Then make an effort to tell someone what you’re grateful for. Tell them face-to-face, phone them, write them a letter of thanks. Not only do you make the other person’s day by helping them understand the difference they make to your life but you will also get the pleasure of doing it. Happiness is an inside job but it’s improved by taking action.
Your behaviours that reflect your inner mindset create the positive habits of a happy person.
In the work I do coaching people, I find ways to practice expressing gratitude and appreciation more often. You’d be surprised at the difference it makes.
What’s been your experience with using these two things to increase your happiness?
I’d love to hear from you; leave a comment below.