Hows Your Happy?
“happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude” –Dale Carnegie Happiness is a relative term; every individual has their own perception of what it is and how we attain it. How we view our happy is dependent upon the types of people that we are and the things that we typically enjoy in our lives. How happy a person really is depends on a number of things, mainly how they experience their life on a daily basis. Being happy has a lot to do with the overall outlook or attitude we have towards our life; if we are generally positive people we are more inclined to live happier lives. A number of studies have been conducted that show that having a positive mindset can vastly improve the quality of our life experiences. For example, several members of the Department of Psychology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong published a study in the Journal of Counseling Psychology in October of 2011 that explored the relationship between having a positive cognitive triad (positive views of the self, of others, and of the future) and experiencing general life satisfaction. The results of this particular study show that having a positive view of oneself, the world, and the future can significantly improve overall life experiences and enhance overall satisfaction. Other studies have shown that optimism can enhance other specific areas of our lives. Several members from the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University conducted a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in August of 2007 that proved that optimism plays a role in successful romantic relationships. Another study was conducted by members of the Department of Organizational Behavior and Environment, and was published in the Journal of Stress Management in August of 2003. The results of this particular study showed that optimism and coping are mediators between work resources and burnout in information service workers; this means that optimism and coping provide a balance to these workers so that they do not get too stressed to go on with their lives and their work. Optimism has been found to play an active role in enhancing several elements of our personal lives, such as our careers, our love lives, and our overall lives in general. “Happiness is not something that is made, but something that comes from your own actions” –Dalai Lama It has been shown time and time again that optimism plays a key role in having a positive life experience, but since happiness is what I refer to as a “relative” term, optimism is only one of the many elements that play into living a happy life, and it may not work for everyone. Some of us may be generally more on the pessimistic side, so we might have to push ourselves to see things in a positive light. In order to do so, in his book “Happier”, Ben Shahar suggests that we establish several happiness boosters to help us gain a more optimistic life perspective over time. These happiness boosters are essentially activities that leave us feeling fulfilled, inspired, and invigorated. These activities should be engaging, rather than passive, so that we can really feel involved and accomplished as a result. When we take part in activities that force us to step outside of our daily routines and really become involved in something worthwhile, it gives us a feeling of true positivity that will vastly improve our moods, and over time as these activities add up, they will greatly improve our overall outlook on our lives. I decided to give Ben Shahar’s advice a try and I was surprised to discover just how efficiently his suggestions enhanced my satisfaction and my overall well-being. I made a list in a journal of ten basic but active and engaging happiness boosters that I felt I was capable of accomplishing in the upcoming weeks and set goals for myself to have them finished by a certain date. My list included things like going for nature walks, meditating,...
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