Happiness Psychology and Philosophy: 15 Tips On How to Choose Happiness In Life Instead of Sadness and Depression
Instead of living a life of full of sadness and depression, can you learn to choose happiness in life? If so, what are simple ways to find happiness and greater life satisfaction?
By understanding happiness psychology and applying happiness research findings, more people can learn how to be happy and enjoy greater life satisfaction. A philosophy of happiness is very important to have. Why? Finding lasting happiness is not just about feeling good or having positive emotions for the sake of pleasure.
Happiness and related mental states, such as, optimism, hopefulness and contentment appear to decrease the risk or limit the severity of hypertension, diabetes, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases as well as colds and upper-respiratory infections.
Happiness and other positive emotions can have a powerful effect on
your health. They can provide a protective effect against some
diseases, make your immune system function better and even help you
The good news is that your level of happiness can be changed widely — up or down — based on findings from research studies on happiness and other related positive mental states.
Warning: If you’re always sad or depressed, you may have clinical depression which requires medical attention. If you have clinical depression, the extreme opposite of happiness, this causes important changes in your brain chemistry and can lead to serious problems. Getting help from your physician or mental health professional — for example, by getting medication or therapy — can relieve some of the clinical depression symptoms and help you feel better. Your physician or therapist can also offer you some guidance on how to be happy after your clinical depression is managed.
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15 Tips On How to Choose Happiness In Life Instead of Sadness and Depression
If you’re not as happy as you would like and you want to learn how to be truly happy, here are 15 tips on how to choose happiness in life instead of sadness and depression:
- Accept yourself and your emotions. No matter how happy you are, you are going to be sad, lonely or anxious sometimes. If you try to be happy all the time — and you reject yourself or feel guilty if you’re not being positive or happy — you're actually going to make yourself very unhappy and miserable.
- Wealth does not contribute a great deal to your happiness. Once your basic needs are met, particularly when income is above the poverty level, additional income does not raise your sense of life satisfaction.
- Learn to appreciate the good things in your life. Open your heart. Open your eyes and ears. Learn to appreciate what you already have in your life. Appreciation can only come from paying attention. If you’re too busy, it makes it harder to notice the good things you already have in your life.
- Your happiness depends on your state of mind. Whatever you focus on will become magnified. If you focus on the negative things — whatever your life is lacking and whatever you’ve failed to do — you can significantly decrease your sense of life satisfaction. So, try to focus on the positive things in your life — whatever you’ve already accomplished and whatever you have. This can increase your contentment and sense of satisfaction in life.
- Make a difference in someone’s life or perform random acts of kindness. You can help a friend in need, a stranger or your family. You can volunteer online or you can do volunteer work in your community. You can email, call or visit your grandparents. Performing acts of kindness or altruism makes you feel good about yourself. This can make you feel more connected to other people and can put more meaning in your life.
- Express gratitude at least once a week or as often as possible. Studies have shown that people who take the time to “count their blessings” once a week significantly improved their satisfaction with life. People who express gratitude on a regular basis have better physical and mental health as well as well-being.
- When you’re feeling down, do something to lift your spirits. Pamper yourself or do something special for yourself. Simple activities, such as, enjoying a good meal and shopping can make some people happy. Although studies have shown that they do not lead to long-term fulfillment, they can provide some distraction and pleasure.
- Try to avoid using too many musts, shoulds, oughts and have tos because they can make your life miserable. Instead, replace them with more rational thinking based on acceptance, preferences and tolerance. Change “I should,” “I must,” “I ought to” or “I have to” into “I prefer,” “I wish” or “I can tolerate.”
- If you have lost a friend or a relationship has ended, try talking to your family and friends or try doing an activity that can help you deal with your loss. Use a coping strategy that has worked well for you in the past. Keep in mind that your feeling of sadness will probably not last. Studies have shown that people typically overestimate how long they will be sad after a bad event, such as a romantic breakup. People who have had a loss recover over time. If you're having clinical depression symptoms, get help from your physician or mental health professional.
- Your interpretation of events can affect your happiness. If you fail to achieve your goal, do you see it as a minor setback and a learning opportunity? Or do you see it as a catastrophic failure from which you will never be able to recover? Try to have a more realistic interpretation of events in your life.
- Accept yourself and all your imperfections. People who are happy with themselves have problems and imperfections just like you. So, don’t bother comparing yourself to other people. Accepting yourself just the way you are can give you a more positive self-esteem and greater happiness.
- Having meaningful and enjoyable work — whether it is paid or unpaid activity — contributes to life satisfaction. Being fully engaged in this activity can be so gratifying that some people are willing to do it for it’s own sake instead of what they will get out of it. The activity is it’s own reward. If your job does not give you enough satisfaction, doing some volunteer work might give your life more meaning and sense of purpose. This can create greater happiness.
- Find a hobby or an activity that you can be passionate about. Writing, music, dance, art, travel, sports or related activities can keep you fully engaged and create happiness.
- Develop a stronger relationship with your family and friends. If you have serious problems with your family — involving sexual, physical or emotional abuse — you can deal with the problems to create some resolution. If it’s not possible to resolve your problems with your family, you can develop a family-like relationship with your close friends. Of course, if you're having clinical depression symptoms or serious anxiety, anger management and other mental health issues related to any abuse, get help from your physician or mental health professional.
- Simplify your life. Less is more. If you have too much stuff to do
— if your day is over-loaded
with too may activities or if you’re always too busy with work — there is too little time for you to enjoy
what you’re doing. Instead, you’re probably too stressed out to even
notice things that can make you happy.
Here are easy ways to simplify your life:
- If your day is filled with too may activities, figure out the most important activities that need to be done and just focus on doing those things.
- If your school work keeps you too busy, you may have to decrease the number of classes you’re taking. Of course, you can try managing your time a lot better.
- If your work keeps you very
busy, try organizing, prioritizing and managing your time a lot better. If you just have too much to
do, figure out which tasks are not absolutely necessary for you to do
and stop doing them. You may have to limit your assignments or even
decrease your hours.
- If you are disorganized, you may be wasting a lot of time. Learn strategies on how to be more organized.
- Get help from you family and friends, if possible. You can also consider hiring some people to help you with some tasks.
No matter what your level of happiness is at this time —
whether you’re sad, depressed or just less happy than you would like —
you can learn to be truly happy and get the best out of life.
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Personal Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology Can Help You Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment
to Martin E. P. Seligman, author of “Authentic Happiness: Using the New
Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment,”
the best strategy for increasing your level of happiness involves
working on the three components of happiness:
- Meaning — You can find a sense of purpose in your life. You can find ways to make your life more meaningful.
- Engagement — You can become more engaged in what you do. You can increase the depth of your involvement with your friends, family and other relationships as well as your work, hobbies and play.
- Pleasure — You can savor more sensory experiences and get more pleasure out of life.
addition to having more fun and getting more pleasure out of life, you
can focus on improving the components of happiness that can provide the
biggest and most lasting payoff – engagement and meaning.
The most fundamental finding from studies on the psychology of happiness is that being with other people makes people happy. The “need to belong” is important in life satisfaction. So, it’s important to work on improving your social skills in order to build social support and closer connections with others. In turn, this can lead to greater happiness and satisfaction in life.
Some people want to choose happiness in life, but they have more difficulty making positive changes. If this applies to you, some of your habits may be getting in the way of finding happiness.
By applying the new findings in brain plasticity, you can have a better chance of breaking unhealthy habits permanently and improving your life. You can overcome the roadblocks that have kept you from living your best life. By changing your brain, you can change your life. Instead of trying and failing repeatedly, you can finally achieve your goals and live a happier, healthier and richer, more satisfying life.