Did you know that when most people are asked what it is they want more than anything, their answer is “To be happy“? And yet, very few people actually say that they ARE happy. Even with all the technology we have to make our lives easier, and all the reports that the economy is on the rise––most are still not really happy.
Even in the happiest country in the world (Denmark), people don’t report to be especially happy. Rather, they’re simply less unhappy than people in other countries!
It’s not like there aren’t solid benefits to being happy; in fact, happy people are more successful in every area of their lives! So why is it that some people have found the elusive state of happiness while others just don’t seen to be able to make it stick?
That’s the question I’ve been pondering and researching for many years now. After combing through more than two-hundred hours of scientific research and data (a big shout out to the Flourishing Center for compiling the most relevant research), I’ve teased out five of the top tips that I’m happy to share with you:
Get your PERM on!
Psychologist and author, Martin Seligman created the P.E.R.M.A. model that outlines how to truly flourish (rather than simply survive) in life. It looks like this:
- P = Positive Emotions – Get in the habit of conditioning yourself to steer towards positive thoughts and feelings (rather than always defaulting to the negative thoughts that humans are programmed to think in order to survive). Remind your brain that you’re not in danger and then quickly move to pinpointing what’s good in any given situation.
- E = Engagement – Make sure you’re not “sleep-walking” through life! Pay attention to what you’re eating and doing and savor every positive moment. Make sure to make eye contact and connect with those you love and care about.
- R = Positive Relationships – Surround yourself with people who gravitate towards the positive aspects of life. You don’t need to keep your head in the sand, but you do need to make sure that investing time with positive people who support each other is one of your top priorities.
- M = Meaning – Ensure that part of your days are devoted to doing things that somehow matter to you. If you feel you were born to create, love, teach, sing, dance, be the voice of reason, grow, learn, share . . . you name it . . . do it! And do it often.
- A = Achieve – Regularly set a few important (and challenging) goals for yourself and then work towards achieving them. It’s better to set one or two goals that really matter rather than set fifty goals that don’t matter and are never achieve.
- V = Vitality – This is SO crucial to maintaining the happiness you’ve achieved! Make sure that you’re somehow keeping your body and mind active and stimulated. Walk, move, exercise, laugh, play games, stay connected to friends, read, etc. and do whatever you can to keep yourself “in motion” rather that settled into steady decline.