5 steps to finding happiness when you’re feeling down

5 steps to finding happiness when you’re feeling down

by Stacey Lawson for the Huffington Post

Happiness. We all want it. We know it when we feel it. Yet, despite its rather high importance in our lives, many of us find the pursuit of happiness to be frustratingly difficult.

Research indicates that our happiness, like slices of a pie, can be split into three pieces. Genetics (which accounts for 50 percent) and life circumstances (10 percent) are two slices believed to be largely out of our control. The remaining slice, our personal attitudes and choices, influences a whopping 40 percent of our happiness factor which we can directly control.

If such a large percent of our happiness is in our hands, why do so many of us seem less than happy?

A relatively new branch of psychology, called positive psychology, is studying how positive (and negative) emotions affect people’s happiness. Researcher Barbara Frederickson, principal investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory (a.k.a. PEP Lab) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has found that when we experience a ratio of at least three times as many positive emotions as negative ones, we can experience chronic happiness.

According to experts on PBS’s “This Emotional Life,” researchers are now documenting what spiritual adepts have known since the beginning of time: “Happiness is deceptively simple. It’s about being satisfied with life, and experiencing more positive emotions than negative ones.”

But how does one go about increasing their positive thoughts and emotions?

“We all have idiosyncrasies in our approach to happiness,” says Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, who I interviewed this week for the launch of StaceyTV, my new video blog. “No two people are alike,” says Rubin, “but we can learn about what might make us happy by hearing other’s stories, then trying them out for ourselves.”

The following are few of my personal keys to staying positive. I hope they are meaningful for you too:

  1. interrupt your mind
  2. be grateful
  3. help someone else
  4. relax
  5. be here now

In her article, Stacey describes these 5 tips for happiness in more detail. To read more…just click here