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Is it possible to feel happy – every single day?

Posted on the 5 December 2018

From self-help books to inspirational quotes, society has become obsessed with happiness.

And it’s no surprise why.

As research reveals, being happy matters big time. Happy people are reported as more confident, creative and sociable. They’re also more likely to have better relationships, more successful careers and longer lives.

Add that to its health benefits: happiness can reduce the risk of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, hypertension, colds and upper respiratory infections.

It’s clear. This happiness thing is serious business.

But what even is this desired state called ‘happiness’ – and how can we enjoy more of it every day?

To break it down for you, we’re sharing our approach to happiness, as well as some easy ways to welcome more joy into your daily life.

Happiness – from a psychologist’s perspective

More than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle pioneered the study of happiness. He concluded that ‘happiness depends on ourselves’.

Since then, humans have learnt a lot about this joyful state. Yet the same philosophy still applies.

Here at Positive Psychology, we view happiness as a state that exists within all of us. Not a destination – but a way of life. A place to visit, not a place to stay.

And what’s the key?

Cultivating your individual strengths instead of fixing what’s wrong. This is the most powerful way to create a positive, fulfilling life.

Start by trying to become more engaged in your activities – or finding new ways to make your life more meaningful. It could be as simple as reading more or joining your local football club, if that’s what you enjoy.

‘But life isn’t always rainbows and sunshine…’

We know. And any advice that ignores the inevitable challenges of life is naïve and misguided. You will hit unexpected roadblocks – and that’s okay.

In fact, a hyper focus on positivity can actually hurt your chances of happiness.

According to research psychologist Brock Bastian, a willingness to experience pain is key to our pursuit of genuine happiness. Many experts say that it’s only when we know darkness that we can appreciate the light.

And remember: true happiness is not about instant gratification. Hollow pleasures, such as chocolate, pokies and mega shop-a-thons – may bring immediate joy, but they’ll leave you feeling dissatisfied in the long run.

Here are some easy ways you can be happy – every day

Now you know what happiness is. But do you know how to implement these ideas into your daily life?

Here are four ways to attract more joy every day:

  1. Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night

This amount is the sweet spot for maintaining a healthy wellbeing. Yet almost one in three of us are missing the mark, achieving only six hours or fewer (source: Australian Unity).

Too much sleep isn’t ideal either, with over-sleeping being a potential indicator of depression. Like everything, balance is key.

  1. Surround yourself with positive people

Strong relationships are the hallmark of a happy person. That’s why it’s crucial to enjoy the company of those around you.

In fact, people who consistently spend 6-7 hours a day with loving friends and family are 12 times more likely to feel joyful (source: Happify).

  1. Practice gratitude

Revealed through our own research, gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness. And it makes sense. When we’re thankful for what we have, we feel better about our situation and ourselves.

It can be as simple as making a conscious effort to appreciate the people in your life – or the natural beauty you pass on your way to work.

  1. Perform a random act of kindness

Here’s the thing about giving: it often benefits the giver just as much – or even more – than the receiver. That’s science.

According to researchers, just thinking about doing something generous has mood-boosting benefits in the brain (source: Time Magazine). And the effect can be as powerful, whether you give one dollar… or one thousand dollars!

So go buy someone a cup of coffee. We promise the feeling will taste even better than the drink itself.

 

Looking for more practical ways to improve your wellbeing? Our team of psychologists are here to help. Call us on 1300 995 636 to book a consultation.