At last! All the secrets of HAPPINESS explained!
True security means feeling good about your current place in life. It’s
recognizing that becoming rich or the most popular party host on the block will
only get you a bigger, more crowded house. It won’t change you, and
that’s a good thing. “Happy people simply like who they are,” says Baker.
“They’re not slaves to popularity or financial status.”
Security also stems from the knowledge that who you are today is the
culmination of all the little moments in your history that can never be taken
away from you. Your family history, your education, shared experiences with
loyal friends -- none of these things can be whisked away by the whims of fate,
a fact that instills a sense of grounding and inner peace. So whenever you’re
feeling off-kilter, Niven recommends conjuring one of those self-defining
moments (accepting your diploma, say, or listening to your best friend’s toast
at your wedding). Mentally reliving these formative experiences will help you
keep your footing in the rockiest of situations.
7. Good health
The mind and body are intrinsically connected, so taking care of yourself
both above and below the neck makes for head-to-toe happiness. “One of my
favorite quotes is from a famous 1920s physician who said, ‘Health is the
optimal condition that allows for the ultimate engagement in life,’” says
Baker. “What he’s saying is that health doesn’t necessarily mean being fit, but
being able to live fully.”
The easiest way to achieve this optimal state of being: Get moving. Regular
activity -- be it walking, dancing, or playing Frisbee with your dog --
releases endorphins (the substances responsible for a runner’s high) and
increases levels of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. Best of all, just
10 minutes of exercise is all it takes to produce the mood-boosting brain
changes, according to Northern Arizona University researchers.
People who tap into their spiritual side have greater life satisfaction than
those who don’t, according to a growing body of research. It reminds us that
life may have bigger meaning beyond our knowing, explains Niven, so we don’t
dwell so much on the little things.
Research also reveals that religion can have a positive effect on both physical
and mental health: People who regularly pray or attend religious services are
less likely to suffer from hypertension, anxiety disorders, and depression,
according to experts at Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and
Health. Any soulful act, including meditation, walking in the woods, reading an
inspiring book, or listening to a moving piece of music, can help you dial into
the bigger picture, assures Baker.
Giving without expectation is one of the easiest ways to feel good about
yourself, your world, and life in general: “Altruism connects you to others,
gives you a purpose, and gets you outside yourself,” says Baker. Having a
positive impact on somebody else’s life generates feelings of goodwill that
help minimize whatever negativity might be occurring in your own life.
Looking for inspiration? Log on to volunteermatch.org, a nonprofit site that
allows you to search for philanthropic organizations in your area that match
your interests. And if you’re strapped for time, don’t fret: Taking a
girlfriend out for a hot-fudge sundae when she’s having a rough week has the
same happiness-inducing benefits as participating in an organized volunteer