If happiness is partly determined by genetics, health and other factors relatively independent of us, we can still improve it in some ways, through our own motivation, playing and practicing what will improve our well-being, both daily and over the long term.

 

At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2010) Sonja Lyubomirsky from the University of California presented a retrospective review of studies on happiness and well-being. The results of this analysis were published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

These studies were simple tricks, convenient and easy to implement, among which we could list the following behaviors:

 

1. Express your gratitude

 

Several studies show that expression of gratitude significantly increases the well-being: in these studies, generally, we ask participants to write letters of gratitude to people who helped them in the past. Studies report almost systematically increased the well-being of participants, well-being that persists also for weeks or even months! And most surprising is that post the letters is not even necessary: even people who have not sent their letters to their recipients, feel better after having written them, and for a long time.

 

2. Be optimistic

 

The wishful thinking is another simple and effective practice. We asked participants to visualize what they might see as their “ideal” future. For example, living a true love with a partner, getting that job you’ve always been looking for … Participants were asked to describe this visualization, it was so clear: participants acknowledged, after a few weeks of this treatment optimism, they felt new.

 

4. Use our strengths

 

Another study asked participants to identify their strengths (character, skills …), and then imagine new ways to use it (and in particular to help others). For example, one participant thought he had a good sense of humor, and has found a few ways to use it: telling jokes to his friend who was a little depressed or use humor to improve his Business meetings skills  … This habit is also now recognized to boost the happiness felt by those who practice it.

 

5. Perform acts of kindness

 

Research and experiments have shown that altruistic behavior increases the welfare and happiness in a short and long term. Some studies suggest that the same altruistic behaviors are associated with a longer life or happy marriage and bring happiness at home. It is when you help others you are also helping yourself: People who spend their money to others, a volunteer in social work, give time, money to associations, or help people in distress, report a fairly consistent improvement in their welfare.

 

6. Write letters of forgiveness

 

To people who have offended you (You do not necessarily need to send them letters!). Forgive, even if we do not ask you to reconnect with so many people who have hurt you, seems to facilitate the “transition to something else.” Feelings of frustration or the whims of vengeance, and although everyone says without necessarily believing in it, does not relieve as you might think. Indifference, strictly speaking, makes it much less unhappy.

 

7. Enjoy the happy moments

 

To enjoy happy times even if they are too short is great, some psychologists suggest to take a “mental picture” ( remembering that event and we appreciating it ), Some studies show that the small pleasures of daily life are even better than the bing ones, and have more effect.

 

8. Invest time and energy in relationships

 

Friends or family are more important than your job. Several studies have shown that one of the most important factors for happiness, is the force of close relationships, which is significantly correlated with a happy life.

 

9. Take care and use your body properly

 

Research shows that while health itself has less impact than what we think, on the satisfaction of our lives, certain actions, which is usually exercised in a health goal, have an impact: sports, talk, laugh, smile, keeping good sleep habits … , All these behaviors are known to improve your well-being sporadically. In the long term, they become habits, these behaviors are quite likely to improve the overall satisfaction of your life.

 

10. Develop strategies and beliefs to deal with stress.

 

It is well known that religions generally are there to deal with stressful events, whether individual. This is not just religion that gives you that effect, but the fact is that beliefs can help you overcome difficult times or give you rules to manage your daily life. Other rules, other doctrines, other systems of thought, which have nothing to do with religion, have the same effect: meditation or yoga help you to achieve happiness “… The fact is that believe bring us that effect.

 

You have to remember that these behaviors, which may seem small, trivial or with no effects … actually have been proved to bring you some happiness. Drink with a friend, watch a movie with your friends … all those little joys of everyday life help us to make us happier.

 

These simple pleasures are the essence of a happy life. Focus, enjoy, remember happy little things has much more impact than finding great happiness. I invite you personally to share these little pleasures, that I like and hope they have given you a smile.