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The Massive 75-Year Study Shares 3 Secret Recipes To Genuine Happiness With Us

The Massive 75-Year Study Shares 3 Secret Recipes To Genuine Happiness With Us

Social butterflies are scientifically more likely to live healthier and happier lives.  This statement is supported by a Harvard study that lasted 75-years (1938-2013) led by a well-known psychiatrist named Robert Waldinger.  The implication is that isolation, staying to oneself on a regular basis, can actually make you sick.

Happiness is an ever-elusive goal for many people.  It is also one of our major pursuits as humans.  Countless movies, books and visual images reflect our tendency as humans to chase a sense of happiness.

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However, factors such as economics, transportation, social support and outlook on life are just a few criteria that can affect a person’s health and happiness.  Other considerations include diet, sleep schedule and mental health.  The Waldinger study, however, sought to prove that happiness was more easily achieved through relationships.  And although happiness is a subjective term open to interpretation by each individual, it is safe to assume a positive life outlook, coupled with balanced mental health, good nutrition and balanced sleep diet patterns to support a person’s happiness and health.

Lessons about Happiness

1. Happiness is achieved through close relationships

Spending time with people we care about and enjoy is one way to dispel feelings of loneliness. The Social and Personality Psychology Compass journal says biologically we are social by nature and want to be around other people.  Over time, being around with people we can form relationships.  When this happens, we increase our sense of wellness that lasts an entire lifetime.  Our wellness is connected to long-term memory, diet and healthy sleep patterns.

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What to do:  If you are seeking to form new, close relationships, try attending events that reflect your personal interests.  Museums are a great way to drink in beauty while meeting like-minded individuals.  Also, regularly visiting sacred spaces for spiritual renewal can draw us to form close relationships with others who have similar interests.

2. Happiness is achieved through quality relationships, not quantity

The more intimate and strong a relationship, the better it is for someone’s health. A Harvard Health Publication points out relationships that satisfy the mind, body, soul connection promote good health and longer lives.  We can reduce the levels of stress in the body through social connections.  In fact, even if a person smokes, the chances of them dying early is reduced if they have quality, strong relationships, the Harvard report says.

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What to do:  Social gatherings are an opportunity to groom relationships.  If you feel a liking to someone or a group of people, arrange a social gathering for quality time together.  Plan an event that reflects common interests for an opportunity to sit, chat and chew good food.  This is an opportunity to groom quality relationships.

3. Happiness is achieved through stable, supportive relationships

Any old relationship just won’t do. The chances of increased happiness occur when a relationships is positive, free of drama and supportive.  So not only is isolation bad for our health, so are toxic relationships.  Our survival as humans, the Social and Personality Psychology Compass report says, is connected to our ability to shun hostile external situations and gravitate to hospitable and friendly connections.  This is especially true in marriages as several reports state.

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What to do:  Seek out positive people.  Listen to what people say and determine whether their outlook on life is positive or negative.  If you try to steer conversations toward positive thoughts and acts, but a person keeps returning to the negative, think about how their words impact your sense of happiness and wellness.  The same is true for connecting with people who show signs of stability in their personal and professional lives.  These kind of supportive relationships allow us to survive, reproduce and experience happiness.

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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