Need an instantaneous mood makeover? The relatively young academic field of happiness research shows you can take go from feeling moody to feeling great easily if you pick the right approach. Life is so full, hectic and filled with challenges. There are also innumerable opportunities for personal enrichment. Still, while the pursuit of joy can sometimes seem baffling or passing, there are effective ways to increase your satisfaction.
There are several scientifically-proven actions which when done habitually, can help us in our pursuit for happiness. Looking through many of these suggestions which are supported by studies and experiments. I’d like to focus on researches which show the importance of time and how you spend it. Ps. What do you think? Is it more money or more time, that makes happier.
1. Nurturing social connections
Research has shown that time spent connecting with others tends to be the happiest part of most people’s day. And experiences shared produce greater happiness than those experienced alone. Put in even simpler words, get out there and socialize! In these high tie days of social media people easily slip into their little bubble, sitting behind their computer looking at wonderful pictures of others. Or sometimes they are out with friends, but still spending most of their time looking at their phones.
Action: try to actively contact your friends, family, and other loved ones. The time spent with them will raise your pleasure and strengthen the bond with them.
2. Use more time engaging in positive projects
To promote daily delight, you should consider spending increased time engaging in actions that enhance a ‘good’ mood instead of a ‘bad’ mood. Researchers have discovered fundamental evidence that people experience a more ‘good’ mood when they are involved in leisure activities, such as exercising and socializing. Are you that person that works too much? Or that person that is relaxing home alone? Either one isn’t the best way to be inspired and enhance your life’s satisfaction. Finding people that you can share your passions with, for example, if you love running, then join that runner’s club now. Do you like to paint and be creative, go take that creative drawing class in town!
Action: try to find your passion and see what social activity is available in your neighborhood.
3. Helping others
Giving time to helping others is another habit that can enhance your mood. Studies showed that people who spend time helping someone else (versus who spent time on themselves) reported feeling like they had more time. Who doesn’t want to feel like they have more time? Of course, helping others can mean anything, from offering help to that old lady crossing the street, to helping a lost foreigner find his way to the train station. And if you have time, you can help out with more substantial projects, such as helping your neighbor paint their living room walls. Whatever you do for another person, will give you instant gratification and activates your positive attitude.
Action: Look around, what do you see? Who can you help, in your direct surroundings? But also spontaneously on the street. Just see how many smiles you will gather.
4. Be more active & increase the variety
As already mentioned above, engaging in leisure activities seems to increase happiness. Consistent with these findings, people also report greater satisfaction when they are busy. Across the actions that fill your life, greater variety also increases enthusiasm and engagement. Therefore filling your week with highly varied activities increases joy. Of course, packing your week excessively is the catch in this paragraph. The goals aren’t to cramp your week with so many activities that you can’t even take a breath.
Action: Therefor make a priority list for yourself. Try to answer some simple questions for yourself. Which activities are important to you? Which people would you like to see that week?
5. Spend money on others
Buying yourself those dream sunglasses? Or buying your best friend a tasty cup of coffee? Rising research suggests that the material acquisitions we make for ourselves (from designer bags to houses to gadgets) often fail to pay off in increased happiness. Yet, spending money for others and buying experiences can promote joy. In this paragraph, we emphasize ‘spending money’ but of course it’s not about the amount of money spend. It’s regarding the experience of the receiver and the social aspect of giving.
Action: Did your best friend ask you to go to the movies? Why don’t you surprise him/her and pay the tickets? Take your mom for a drive to the beach and buy her ice cream!
Science has found that gratitude can significantly increase your joy, and protect you from stress, negativity, anxiety, and depression. Sometimes, it can seem like a single event can throw our entire day off and we can miss some of the more delightful parts of the day. With this realization that our mind tends to adhere to the negative, we can deliberately focus on the good elements of our day to equalize this imbalance.
Action: Pick a moment of the day, this can simply be 5 minutes of your time at breakfast or lunch. Or the moment you start up your computer at work and wait for your emails to come in. Write down 3 points you feel grateful for and try to this every day. Keep it simple and compact. You will see how your attitude will change in just a few weeks.
7. Don’t chase happiness
Last in order but not of importance. Research shows there is a crisis of so-called ‘meaning’ in our world today. Many people feel overcome, isolated, and unfulfilled. In pursuing the “good life”. They have forfeited their relationships, their health. At the end of the day, still, find themselves with lives and work that bring them little fulfillment and purpose. According to Alex Pattakos, Ph.D. the solution or antidote is not about the search for joy. Joy is an emotion that is linked to pleasure but it is temporary. We can share a happy moment when we are enjoying a good meal or a good laugh with a friend, but this emotion only lasts a short time. Sooner or later, we must confront and react to the challenges life throws at us. We must be ready to take on the fullness of life. Including all its ups and downs, all the joys and sorrows, the pleasures as well as the suffering. As can be found in his book. The ancient Greek philosophers, such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle wisely taught us the following. Life is not about living a happy life, it’s about living the complete life. The meaningful life.
Action: Start living your life with meaning. Do this by nurturing your social connections, spending more time engaging in positive activities. Help others, be more active and increase the diversity of your adventures. Use your money on creating experiences with others and be grateful for the material things you already have, and, the experiences you have realized.