Most of us need basic financial security and stability to be happy. Once we feel comfortable that we’ve got enough money to be stable, piling up more is no guarantee of happiness. That’s because real happiness is a journey, not a destination, according to Sherry Benton, Ph.D. Benton has more than 25 years of experience in counseling psychology. Family and friends and social connections increase our happiness. Experiencing new activities and showing compassion for others make us forget about ourselves. Here are 10 choices you can make for happiness right now.
Value experience over buying.
Try to do something new or go somewhere new instead of buying new stuff. Take in a concert or go to the theater. Get outside and walk in the park. Go on a vacation to some place you’ve always wanted to explore.
Focus on what’s good. Put on paper your thoughts about what’s right in your life. Writing a daily gratitude list is a good way to turn off negative thinking. The exercise will help you stop worrying and feel more satisfied.
Connect with your community.
Spend time with family and friends. They are the core of your support network. Make an effort to expand your group of friends and cultivate an active social life. Connecting to your community will help you do better and feel better about your life.
Making another person’s life happier ultimately will make your own life happier. Whether your act of kindness hits close to home such as helping out a friend or family member or whether your compassion extends to volunteering at a soup kitchen doesn’t matter. Showing that you care about others is what counts.
Scientists say happiness relates to the brain’s release of dopamine, which carries signals between your brain cells. Giving in to critical and judgmental thinking shuts down the dopamine system. The result is that you feel even more dissatisfied and unhappy.
Get regular exercise outdoors.
Working out in fresh air will make you feel even better than going to the gym. Add hiking or biking to your regular activities.
Get absorbed in an activity.
Find an activity so absorbing that you totally focus on the experience and forget to think about yourself. Knitting or cooking, writing or painting, playing music, fishing or sailing. These are the kinds of activities that will make you forget about your ego.
Enjoy your work.
Find a career that you genuinely enjoy. Target work that uses your strengths and offers you opportunities for success.
Get some sleep. Seven to eight hours sleep every night will make an enormous difference in the way you feel. Enough sleep will boost your happiness, energy and enthusiasm during the day.
You’ll reduce your blood pressure and pain levels if you meditate for just 10 minutes each day. Mediating also will help reduce your depression and anxiety.