Happiness is an Inside Job
What are the most important things you want in life? When asked that question most people will choose health, wealth, and of course happiness. Out of the three, happiness seems to be the most elusive even for those with good health and enough money in the bank to keep them comfortable. The harder we chase happiness the harder it is to find it. But when you finally pin it down it appears that it's the small things that bring you joy. It's also clear that happiness is something that's defined by our attitude and our actions.
What's interesting is that happy people have something in common. And you know what it is? It's defined by their habits. So this begs the question, what habits should you develop to achieve happiness in life? The following celebs radiate happiness and know a thing or two about integrating the right habits. So we present to you these research-proven tips and the celebs that personify them.
1. Get Busy, But Not Too Busy
"The formula of happiness and success is just, being actually yourself, in the most vivid possible way you can." - Meryl Streep
Be busy, but keep it in moderation. I mean, you need to lead a productive life but do so at a comfortable pace. Getting too involved in day-to-day activities can leave you miserable. On the other hand, idleness can take a toll on you as well. In fact, it's one of the major causes of boredom. Let's face it, we all have our obligations, right? However, don't live on the fast track of life. So how do you get to achieve that? Simple. Say "Yes" only to the things that are doable but not overwhelming.
2. Keep Up Your Close Relationships
"You know it's love when all you want is that person to be happy even if you are not part of their happiness." Julia Roberts
Close relationships keep us happier and add years to our life. But hey, we aren't talking about just any ole' friends. What you need are true friends you can count on through good and bad times. According to the book "Finding Flow," national surveys conducted came to the conclusion that those with at least 5 true friends have a 60% probability of saying they're "very happy". But take note: the exact number isn't that important. What matters is the effort put into your relationships. After all, even some of the best relationships don't always last a lifetime. Closeness doesn't come on a silver platter, instead, it's something you need to earn over time. Therefore, strengthen the bond with those close to you, check on them regularly, and you'll get a little shot of happiness every day.
3. Don't Make Your Happiness Dependant on External Events
"Happiness comes from you. No one else can make you happy. You make you happy." - Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
When people tie their happiness to outside forces, such as buying the winning lottery ticket, getting discovered by a talent scout, or hoping their boss notices their hard work, they are setting themselves up for heartache. By accepting personal responsibility, we gain the freedom to create our own life, any way we want it. Making happiness dependent upon our attitude and our actions is the key to leading a truly fulfilling life.
4. Stay Fit
"True beauty is the energy you give out, and that comes through being HAPPY." - Cindy Crawford
Hate it or love it, exercise releases endorphins that give us a happy feeling. Regular exercise has been associated with improved mental well-being and a lower incidence of depression. The Cochrane Review (a medical review) has produced a landmark analysis of 23 studies on exercise and depression. One of the major conclusions was that exercise has a definite clinical impact on depression. Many studies are proving the ancient adage, "A sound body leads to a sound mind."
5. Build Your Signature Strengths
I think we are all born with certain traits and qualities and it's important to just work with it and be happy." - Jennifer Lawrence
Zero in on your "signature strengths" - those strengths that come naturally to you but need to be developed further. Becoming proficient at something can be quite stressful. You need to struggle before you can make progress. However, once you master a skill you feel a sense of happiness and satisfaction when you look back at your achievement. In short, the feeling of becoming proficient at something overshadows that short-term discomfort you may experience at the early stages of learning.
6. Spend More on Experiences Than Things
"Happiness is the best makeup; a smile is better than any lipstick you'll put on." - Drew Barrymore
This is known as "experiential purchases", when you choose to spend money on experiences rather than products. According to a variety of studies, money spent on experiences makes us happier compared to that spent on material possessions. Unlike physical items, experiences tend to improve over time. In fact, they can be relived for years and it's no surprise that most people tend to revisit them more often. Experiences are unique to us.
As you know, comparisons tend to make us unhappy at times. Experiences are slowly adaptable. In fact, it's something you take longer to "get used to". For example, that refreshed, energized feeling you get after a fun dinner or weekend getaway lingers on as you remember/relive it. It's something you don't get from material purchases. Additionally, experiences are social and get us out of our comfort zone. We get to meet new people or involve ourselves in close relationships that make us happy.
7. Follow Your Dreams
"Don't waste a minute not being HAPPY. If one window closes, run to the next window or break down a door." - Brooke Shields
If you've got something stirring inside, some big dream that you are afraid others will laugh at, it's time to give it a try, despite the naysayers. Don't keep your dreams bottled up inside anymore. There is only one "today". Take the opportunity while it is available, while it still lasts. Find a way to pursue your dream as a hobby, on the weekends or late in the evenings so you can explore it first before you share it with the world.
So how about you? What specific habits and mindsets make you happy?