Time magazine released an interesting article on what steps were proven to make you happier. I think it is useful, as it is many of the areas that Solution Focused Hypnotherapy focuses on. Obviously, to some degree it is our genes that indicate how much we are naturally happy. However, there is a great deal that we can add to this ourselves and some of the points highlighted you may want to put into practice.
I will summarise some of things that researchers have found helpful.
1) Gratitude – Showing gratitude for the good things in your life has been found to make you happier, improve relationships and is better for everyone around you.
2) Signature strengths – This is doing the things you are good at, as much as you can. Imagine the best possible version of yourself and move towards that.
3) Who you spend your time with – Try and spend as much time as you can with people you like. Many research papers indicate that the happiest people are those that socialise regularly and have a good supportive social network. If you don’t have a set social circle, then look at ways you might develop one.
4) Compassion – When we share the best events of our day with others, ensure we find out about them too.
5) Giving – If we volunteer our time for others then we can generally reap the rewards, in the sense that we feel better about ourselves.
6) Being in the moment – By not letting our mind wander to unhappy events or times, we can immerse ourselves in the present. Meditation and trance are ways of being in the present and have been found to be really helpful.
7) Savour – Taking time to really enjoy the good things in life. It could be something that you are looking forward to or something really good that is happening. This is a skill that we can develop and it is felt to be the secret to the happiest people.
8) Optimism is key – Those who feel that they are going to succeed generally do!
The ideas that the article talks about are not new, but they are backed up with research. The general theme is to do a little of each as frequently as you can. So start by thanking someone close to you for something they have done today.