Increasing Our Happiness Level

by CB Blog Team on December 12, 2014

Americans will spend about $550 million on self-help books this year and more than $1 billion on motivational speakers. So it’s obvious, many of us are on a quest for happiness.

 

We all want, and deserve, that sense of well-being. Achieving happiness is easier than you may think. We all experience emotional highs throughout our lives — with a job promotion, on our wedding day, with the birth of a child. But these moments only yield temporary feelings of elation, and experts say that they alone are not enough to achieve true happiness. It’s learning to be happy, and more of a state of being, rather than an experience.

 

Try these tips on being a happier person. Focus on one aspect per day, and tell me that you don’t become a happier person!

 

Learn from other happy people.

Denmark has earned the top spot on the European Commission’s “Eurobarometer” for well-being and happiness every year since 1973. And when the United Nations went on the hunt for the happiest nation in the world, it ranked Denmark No. 1.

 

So what makes Danes more satisfied with their lives? Sure, things like life expectancy, gross domestic product and a low-corruption rate help. But the overall level of happiness in Denmark has more to do with the generosity that’s common among citizens, their freedom to make life choices and a strong social support system.

 

Work less.

The Danes seem to strike a great work-life balance, which increases their happiness level. They don’t overwork. In fact, the average workweek in Denmark is 33 hours — only 2% of Danes work more than 40 hours a week. Almost 80% of mothers in Denmark return to work after having a child, but they balance their free time between families, weekly happy hour with their girlfriends and participating in community club programs.

 

Experiences bring happiness, not objects.

Danes also pay less attention to things and more attention to building memories. Studies show that people who focus on experiences over “things” have higher levels of satisfaction, long after the moment of the experience has passed. Too much stuff tends often leads to debt, not to mention the time and stress associated with keeping up all those gadgets, cars, properties, clothes, etc.

 

Researchers say when people focus on experiences, they feel a greater sense of vitality or “being alive” during the experience and afterward. It also brings you mentally closer to the people around you, which may contribute to your happiness boost.

 

Change your attitude.

A Harvard University study found that optimists are not only happier but are 50% less likely to have heart disease, a heart attack or a stroke. It turns out that keeping a positive outlook actually offers protection against cardiovascular disease. The science doesn’t fare as well for pessimists. They have lower levels of happiness compared with optimists and are three times as likely to develop health problems as they age.

 

 

Give your time and volunteer!

People who volunteer are happier with their lives than those who don’t. The United Nations even credits volunteerism as one of the reasons Denmark is the happiest nation in the world — 43% of Danes regularly give back to their community, compared with 25% of Americans. The sacrifice doesn’t have to be big — donating or spending as little as $5 on others has emotional benefits. We are all inherently compassionate. Performing acts of kindness, volunteering time and donating money increases happiness by improving your sense of community, purpose and self-image.

 

Laugh throughout the day.

Laughing doesn’t just signal happiness, it produces it. When we laugh, our stress hormones decrease and our endorphins rise. Endorphins are the same brain chemicals associated with the “runner’s high” you get from exercise. Our bodies can’t differentiate between fake and real laughter; you’ll get the health boost either way. So you can even fake it until you make it. Laugh in your car, in the shower — force yourself to start laughing a few minutes every day.

CB Blog Team

CB Blog Team

CB Blog Team

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