Steps toward a Happier Life

Here are a few take away’s from my informal happiness research, I plan to focus on one of these each day to improve my level of happiness and links to a related TED Talk video:

1. Accept that everyone struggles with being happy because of the natural human behavior effects, discussed below.  It’s not just me.OK happy face_full

2. Our memories directly effect our happiness, and focusing on happy memories or the positive aspects of an event will impact my emotions now and in the future.  Anything I can do to have an event end on a positive note will improve my emotion of that event, and taking time to reflect on the positive aspects of the event will improve the status of my memory of the event.  Dan Kahneman

3. Too much choice causes stress: choice of where to live, what job to have, who to marry and when, should we have kids and when, what to achieve…  Keep it simple.  Barry Schwartz

4. Happiness is based on comparing our current situation to some expectation.  Consider if the expectation is reasonable, and separately consider to what degree the expectation is helpful to have.  Even better is when we can tell ourselves that the things we have give us happiness.  Dan Gilbert

5. Keep a calm mind, to calm my mind I need to slow down and focus on one thing at a time.

6. Do something nice for someone.  Buy them a coffee, tell them a joke, give a sincere compliment.  Michael Norton

7. Love what I do by focusing on the good it provides.  Everyone contributes to society in some way, performing a task that we don’t have time or knowledge to perform.   Skilled labor is just as valuable as CEO’s.  Mike Rowe

8. Remind myself of my priorities, and try to avoid taking on too much.  I am too easily distracted by many different interests.

9.  Being Thankful.  Thank people for all the ways they contribute to my life and experience.  Science of Happiness webpage, this article by  Mike Robbins, or see tips and ideas about creating a gratitude journalDavid Standl-Rast, or check out the The Gratitude Experiment video.

10.  Make believe is a wonderful thing.  Play is a wonderful thing.