4 ways to plan your happiness

4 ways to plan your happiness

via Success.com by Patty Onderko

We put money in our 401(k)s. We take calcium supplements. We exercise. We hope these precautions will protect us as we age. But as we safeguard our money, bones and blood pressure, we forget to safeguard the one thing that can make a difference in the quality of our lives as we get older: our happiness.

Decades of positive psychology research has shown high levels of subjective well-being (the combination of overall life satisfaction and in-the-moment positive feelings) can translate into better physical health and a longer life. In a 2011 report from the International Association of Applied Psychology, Edward Diener, Ph.D., a psychology professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, analyzed over 160 relevant studies and found that while positive feelings did not improve outcomes for people with certain diseases such as cancer, the evidence that happiness leads to better health is “clear and compelling.”

Here’s how to start planning for your happy future:

1. Create meaning.

“Well-being is a state that occurs when we consistently—and to the best of our abilities—align our day-to-day actions with our values and goals,” says Beth Vagle, a certified life and ADHD coach in Denver. “As we get older, this alignment is even more crucial to our well-being. We need to feel that our lives are meaningful. And rather than search for meaning, we need to actively create it.” How do you create meaning? Take time to reflect on your values and then find activities that honor those values, Vagle says. If you love learning, for example, make a list of regular habits that would fulfill this value, such as reading before bed or visiting local museums…

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