It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that unhappiness is the result of the world around you, and things would be so much better if that world changed.
You might be right – your happiness could very well be increased if the world around you changed to suit your needs. But that’s not going to happen, is it?
Psychologists recommend that you instead focus on what you can change in yourlife to make it a happier affair. What follows are 8 such changes, accompanied by research proving their effectiveness, we could all benefit from implementing.
Change #1 – Use happy words!
A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that with as little as three positive phrases per day showing gratitude, happiness and satisfaction can be greatly increased.
In fact, as the study found, one of the largest contributing factors to happiness in life is how much gratitude one shows.
So next time someone asks you how your day is going, don’t just say “It’s going alright.” If it’s going well, say “It’s going great!”
Change #2 – Be more selfless.
One of the ways you can be more selfless is to change how you spend your money. Think about it. When you buy something, who typically gets to enjoy it most?
That’s right, you. It doesn’t really affect those around you. But studies have shownthat when you spend your money on experiences involving other people, your happiness increases significantly.
Experiential purchases can include theater tickets for you and a friend or a nice meal for you and your partner.
Change #3 – Learn as many new things as possible.
Psychology experts have found that making an effort to learn new things has a remarkable impact on self-esteem and overall happiness, particularly in adults.
The key, experts have found, is to give yourself a challenge just above your current level of skill and knowledge.
Change #4 – Teach those things you learn to other people.
For one, it helps you learn even more about the topic, thereby boosting your learning-fueled happiness.
Successfully teaching someone new things is also strongly associated with increased self-confidence and happiness on its own!
A good goal could be to teach someone something new every day. This is also a great way to boost your selflessness by not hoarding your knowledge.
Happiness all around!
Change #5 – Spend time each day on your hobby.
Researchers have found that valuing your time beyond the pursuit of money can actually work wonders for your happiness.
It’s perhaps no coincidence, then, that many popular hobbies don’t really put food on the table. And as research shows, that’s exactly why you need to spend time hobby-ing.
Try to carve out time for a hobby every day – even an hour or so can make a huge difference.
Change #6 – Change the way you react to mistakes.
What’s the first thought you have after making a mistake – whether it be at work or in your personal life?
If your intuition is to say something negative about yourself or beat yourself up,research has shown that you’re not going to be very happy.
Instead, focus on reacting positively to negative circumstances. Write down what you’ve learned from the experience. If someone else was affected by your mistake, consider telling them what you’ve learned as well.
That will keep you in control of the situation and increase your self-confidence.
Change #7 – Spend more time in the moment.
People spend nearly half their time focusing on something other than the present moment. And even when it’s pleasant, it tends to result in dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
So what should you focus on if you want to be happy? The present moment.
Bam. Your yoga instructor was right.
Change #8 – Declutter
Professional organizer Marie Kondo wrote a book titled The Life Changing Method of Tidying Up. In it, she outlines the importance of getting rid of clutter in your life.
That can include physical things like pointless knickknacks and clothes you hardly wear, but it can also include thoughts and experiences you haven’t quite let go of yet, even though they reside in the past and have little weight in your present circumstances.