Pursuit of happiness

15 ways to boost your bliss and outsmart stress

Pursuit of happiness
15 ways to boost your bliss and outsmart stress

Through the ages, great thinkers (and not so great), from Aristotle to Britney Spears, have waxed poetic about the meaning of happiness. And still, we’re no closer to pinpointing what it really is. That hasn’t stopped us, however, from doggedly pursuing our bliss. What’s different now is that a bevy of scientific brainiacs are figuring out why happiness is so important to total well-being – both emotional and physical.

With that in mind, here are some strategies to waking up on the right side of the bed and staying there all day.

Keep a gratitude journal
Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky from the University of California, Riverside, found that when people recorded the things for which they were grateful each day over a six-week period, they reported greater life satisfaction.

Make connections with others
Researchers have found that nearly everyone feels happier when they are with other people.

Have a little faith
There’s scientific evidence that suggests those who practise some sort of religion are happier and more optimistic. The social support that religion provides and a comforting belief system are thought to be the reasons.

Come out of your shell
Acting extroverted (even when you don’t feel like you really are) makes people happier than behaving like a wallflower.

Here’s to your health
Sociological research done by Glenn Firebaugh of Penn State University in Pennsylvania found physical health was the best single predictor of happiness.

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Talk it out
A Time magazine poll showed that the top tactic for improving mood is chatting with friends or family.

Get moving
Physical activity, whether it’s dancing or having sex, boosts your happiness quotient.

See the glass as half full
In addition to being happier, optimism has been linked to good physical health, longer life and less depression and mental illness.

Get married (for a while anyway)
Many studies confirm that those who are married are happier than those living the single life. Yet, the mood boost that comes with being part of a couple only lasts for about six months, then it returns to regular pre-marriage levels.

Give a little
A 2001 study found that happy people were more likely to do volunteer work, plus they became even more cheery the more they lent a helping hand.

Embrace the notion of growing old gracefully
Some research has demonstrated that elderly folks are just as happy as the young. The theory is that older adults remember, and focus their attention on, more positive information.

Forget about fame and fortune
Young adults focused on money and image tend to have less enthusiasm for life and suffer more physical ailments.

Harness your power
Seligman suggests that lasting happiness comes from figuring out your strengths (such as kindness and capacity for love), then discovering the best way to use them.

Play with kids
The Time poll also found 35 percent of its respondents believed kids or grandchildren were their top source of happiness.

Laugh and giggle
A good chuckle helps reduce stress and puts the brakes on unhappy brain chemicals such as cortisol.

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