29 Dec 12 Ways to Be Happier in 2020
via Psychology Today by Lawrence R Samuel
Even historians of happiness like myself freely admit that we still know relatively little about the subject, especially regarding how to generate more of it in our everyday lives. Some of the most brilliant minds since antiquity have struggled with understanding the nature of happiness, yet no single reliable revelation toward achieving it has come forth. (Even the term itself remains nebulous.) Happiness is an emotion, after all, and one of the more ambiguous ones, making it difficult if not impossible to realize it simply because one desires to.
Despite the major obstacles facing those wanting to be happier, many of us have pursued it with considerable vigor. The gap between the desire for greater happiness and the finding of it has caused much frustration and consternation over the years, a failure of sorts that continues to this day. The emergence of a happiness movement powered by “positive psychology” represents the most direct and grandest attempt to enable people to be happier, but I’m not convinced that any significant degree of any emotion can be concocted or conjured up by self-determination and/or discipline.
Still, findings from the abundance of research in the field lead us to some fundamental truths regarding happiness and its sources. Here, then, are what I propose to be the twelve essential ingredients of happiness based on my deep dive into the subject. Listing a dozen pithy actions obviously does not do justice to the enormity of the subject, but is a worthwhile exercise, given how many of us are searching for greater happiness, especially as a new year and a new decade beckon.
- Stay positive. Optimism, accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative, has always been strongly correlated with high levels of happiness. Seeing the glass as half-full rather than as half-empty (to use another cliché) is vital to maintaining the most basic rule of life: that it is worth living.
- Find purpose. A good reason to get up in the morning goes a long way to being a happy person. Having a sense of direction, setting and reaching goals, and taking pride in accomplishments are all woven into the fabric of happiness.
- Reside in the present. Living as much as possible in the moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, is a guiding principle of happiness. Today is infinitely more valuable than yesterday or tomorrow, making those living in the now much more likely to be happy than those thinking about what might have been or what might be…
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