According to a recent study published earlier this year in the journal of Happiness Studies, people who rate themselves as the happiest are more likely to share a certain gene. Despite the findings of this study, can it be as simple as that? One’s emotional state or temperament cannot just be boiled down strictly to one’s DNA. That being said, since one might not be able to control their genetic blueprint, there are a myriad of important factors in one’s own life, like their environment, and personal life choices/outlook that can increase or decrease one’s satisfaction in life.
A few are mentioned below. Work to cultivate these traits on a daily basis. Doing so can trump any potential deficiencies in your happiness trait(s) that you might be born with.
1. Let go of inner/outer strife.
Forgiving and forgetting is necessary for your own happiness. Holding a grudge means you’re also holding onto resentment, anger, hurt and other negative emotions that are standing in the way of your own happiness. Letting go of a grudge frees you from negativity and allows more space for positive emotions to fill in. Contrary to popular belief, forgiving is not a sign of weakness, or of forgetting. It is a priceless gift you give yourself.
2. Treat everyone with kindness and respect (especially if you dislike them).
Kindness is not only contagious; it’s also proven to make you happier. Research shows that when you’re courteous to others, your brain produces feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters like serotonin, and dopamine while building strong relationships with others, fostering positive feelings all around.
3. Regard your problems as challenges to overcome, not as obstacles
Change your internal dialogue so that anytime you have a “problem” you view it as a challenge or a new opportunity to change your life for the better. Discard the word “problem” from your mindset entirely. Those that view life this way, succumb a lot less to depression, and negativity. This of course, does not mean to live in a state of denial, which can have the opposite effect. Finding a neutral balance is the key.
4. Express gratitude.
People who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, have more positive emotions, and are better able to reach their goals. The best way to harness the positive power of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. Try to actively write down exactly what you’re grateful for each day. Doing so has been linked to happier moods, greater optimism/outlook for the future and even better physical health. This cannot be done sporadically, or when you are in the mood to, but every single day. Start small to reap big rewards.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
As the research experts note, if the issue you’re mad about will be irrelevant a year, a month, a week or even a day from now, why sweat it? Happy people know how to let life’s daily irritations, frustrations, and hassles roll off their backs, and when to concentrate their energy on important concerns.
6. Speak well of everyone.
It may be tempting to talk negatively about others, but your body soaks these negative energies up. Instead, make it a point to only say positive, nice words about other people, and you’ll help foster more positive thinking in your own life as well. Think of it as a challenging homework assignment, especially when you might find it difficult to come up with something positive to say about someone, when more negativity takes over. If you have nothing positive to say, it is best to remain silent, or express yourself in writing.
7. Stop making excuses.
It’s easy to blame others for your life’s failures, but doing so means you’re unlikely to rise past them. Happy people take responsibility for their mistakes and missteps, then use the failure as an opportunity to change for the better. Don’t let self handicapping get the best of you.
8. Live for now.
Allow yourself to be immersed in whatever it is you’re doing right now, and take time to really be in the present moment. Avoid rumination, and replaying past negative events in your head or worrying about the future; just savor what’s going on in your life right now.
9. Automate your mornings.
It sounds boring, but getting up at the same time every day (preferably an early time) is deceptively simple, but of course hard to do. Doing so will help regulate your circadian rhythm so you’ll have an easier time waking and likely feel more energized. Plus, the habit of rising early every day is one shared by many successful people, as it enhances your productivity and focus. Being the first one to hear the birds chirp in the morning, or to feel the warmth of your coffee mug around your hands when everyone is sleeping can be very therapeutic as you mentally prepare for the day in silence.
It is not always easy in the crazy present to remember to, for example, not sweat the small stuff. Moreover incorporating some of the tips above or ones you may have of your own is not a guaranteed script for happiness and tranquility. It can though, lead you to a more satisfying life filled with inner contentment, and true joy with a positive side effect of a mind at peace, which in and of itself is priceless. You don’t have to be born with all the happiness you will ever have, so work hard to employ these tactics on a daily basis.