Recent research on happiness indicates not only does being happy feel good, it’s good for you. More than an emotion, happiness is a state of being. What may surprise you is happy people succeed in being happy because they have learned to embrace discontent and sadness. Surprised? There are some “happy” people that you may have wished had an on/off switch. I’m not necessarily speaking of those people who seem artificially happy, with a smile always plastered on their face. I mean those people that are content with their lot in life and move through their problems with precision and grace.
In the July 2013 article What Happy People Do Differently, Psychology Today provides insight into how psychologists may want to answer the frequently asked question, What can I do to be happy? Summarizing from the article, there are several key characteristics that happy people share:
- Happiness requires self reflection and growth, therefore happy people aren’t afraid to live outside of their comfort zone and experience the anxiety, etc. that may accompany curiosity and vulnerability.
- Staying happy involves not always focusing on the small things and being able to let it go and not take things personally. Striving for perfection is a fruitless cause and interferes with acceptance and expectations.
- Celebrating each other’s accomplishments and not succumbing to envy or jealousy is a healthy way to share in the joy of others.
- Not denying one’s own feelings and letting them serve as indicators of an issue to be dealt with means not sweeping problems under the rug. Confronting problems head-on and tolerating the accompanying negative feelings allows people not to wallow in self-pity.
- Self-care means rewarding ourselves with indulgences and balancing pleasure with purpose. Meaning in life is found in everyday occurrences and that might include watching Dirty Dancing for the 27th time (and trying a few moves) and truly stopping to smell the roses (mindfulness).
The article concludes that the goal isn’t being happy but rather the ability to be psychologically flexible enough to withstand the hardships that accompany life. A positive attitude also goes a long way.
Visit www.psychologytoday.com for more information on this subject and other intriguing articles.
This post is dedicated to my beautiful sister-in-law, fighting brain cancer, and who embodies happiness:
On April 23, 2014, Lee’s mark of happiness was left on earth. Please pass it on….