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7 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be the Happiest Person on Earth

7 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be the Happiest Person on Earth
happiest person on earth
    A little bit of gratitude, and one third of savoring, plus one quarter of making friends…now that’s a happiness recipe!

    Have you read The How of Happiness by University of California, Riverside Prof. Sonja Lyubomirsky? No? Here are seven scientifically proven ways derived from Sonja’s research on how to be the happiest person on earth!

    1. Practice gratitude once a week.

    Expressing gratitude, or counting your blessings, does not just make you happy—it also improves your health. However, you need to be strategic about how you do it. In one of the author’s experiments they directed the participants to keep a gratitude journal and contemplate five things that made them feel grateful. They would start the exercise by saying “This week I’m grateful for…”

    Half of the participants were instructed to do that once a week, while the rest of them did that three times a week for a total of six weeks.

    Here’s what’s strange: Only the group that counted their blessings once a week achieved happiness results because of it.

    Why?

    Probably because the participants who did it three times a week found practicing gratitude to be a chore, while the others were looking forward to it. So once a week, make sure you count your blessings!

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    2. Make friends and invest in your relationships.

    Happy people are renowned for their circle of friends, their relationship with their family, and their loving marriage

    What is amazing about friendships and intimate relationships is that their happiness effect does not get reduced by hedonic adaptation. That means that you won’t get used to your loving marriage the way you get used to your new furniture.

    So make time for your friends, express appreciation and make them feel good, be kind, and just have fun with them. You’ll be happier in doing so.

    3. Become a stress resilience ninja.

    Happiness is not just about feeling good all the time. Happy people also get to recover from bad situations and stress more quickly. They are the stress resilience ninjas!

    Here’s an example: One study found that the life of breast cancer survivors had been altered for the better after the disease! Actually two-thirds of the women said so. These women talked about having a wake-up call that made re-prioritize their life for the better. They found the good in the bad.

    If that’s an excellent coping strategy with cancer, then I bet it’ll do wonders for any type of stress that appears in your life. The next time something bad shows up, ask yourself what you can learn from it.

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    4. Take care of your body.

    Did you know that aerobic exercise has the same benefits on depression as taking Zoloft? Well, in a 1999 study researchers divided a group of 50+ men and women who suffered from depression in three groups.

    One group did supervised aerobic exercise three times a week, another group took Zoloft—an anti-depressant—while the third group did both.

    The result? After four months all three groups were doing better with increased self-esteem and happiness. Even better, six months later, participants who had recovered from depression were less likely to relapse back to depression if they belonged in the exercise group compared to the ones who just took Zoloft.

    So there you have it. Exercise works miracles in your happiness!

    Don’t know how to get started it or how to find a routine that you actually like? Check out Exercise Bliss, a unique program that helps you make exercise a daily ritual, and you just might find what works for you.

    5. Take care of your soul.

    The numbers speak for themselves:

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    • 47% of people who report attending religious services several times a week describe themselves as “very happy”.
    • Just 28% of people who attend less than once a month can claim the same.

    It seems that the social support and the sense of identity that people get from belonging to the same religious group is unparalleled.

    It is possible, however, that this happiness discrepancy has nothing to do with people’s relationship with the divine and everything to do with people’s relationships with each other, as people who attend religious services are proven to have larger social networks than those who don’t.

    Still, religious people who believe that the divine is helping them are three times more likely to be alive six months after a serious cardiac surgery. One way or another, it seems that religious people definitely score some happiness points.

     6. Commit to your (intrinsic) goals.

    People who strive for something personally significant, like raising a family, learning a new skill, or even changing careers are happier. The author explains that pursuing goals provides with a sense of purpose and a feeling of control over our lives.

    Not all goals are made equal, though: intrinsic goals make you happy, while extrinsic goals might not be as effective.

    • Intrinsic goals are the ones meaningful to you, the ones that allow you to grow and be more. Examples: doing a hobby while on vacation, working on a skill because you want to become better, etc.
    • Extrinsic goals are the ones that are a means to an end—you go on a diet to lose weight, you work hard to make more money, etc.

    Research is crystal clear: Intrinsic goals are much more likely than extrinsic goals to give a sense of competence and autonomy, and hence, make you happier.

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    7. Enjoy life’s pleasures to the fullest!

    Researchers have even come up with a word that describes enjoying life: savoring.

    “Savoring: Thoughts or behaviors capable of generating, intensifying, and prolonging enjoyment”

    When you take a walk and suddenly think about how beautiful everything around you is, you are savoring. When you listen to your wife and cannot help yourself but feel lucky for being with her; you are savoring.

    The immediate benefit of savoring? You are more confident. You are actually enjoying every little or big pleasure life has to offer to the fullest. Now that’s a habit I want in my life!

    But how do you make savoring a habit? By practicing mindfulness. Here’s what happened to me in my first two weeks after I got into a mindfulness experiment, and here’s how the experiment evolved one month later. Not bad huh?

    There you have it. Seven ways to become the happiest person on earth. Which one will you choose to expand on?

    More by this author

    Maria Brilaki

    Maria helps people create habits that stick not just for a month or two but for years and decades.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

    How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

    There will always be times in your life when you may need to learn how to reinvent yourself. This could come when you experience a big change, such as leaving your job, moving on from a relationship, transferring to a new home, or losing a loved one. If you are going through a major shift in your life, you may have to find new ways of thinking or doing things, or risk failing to reach your full potential.

    “When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”

    Many people who dared to leave their old unhappy lives enabled themselves to pursue their passions and find a renewed zest for living. You can also achieve the same if you take a leap of faith and make things happen for yourself.

    To help you always be at your best wherever you may be in your life, here are some practical tips on how to reinvent yourself.

    The Reinvention Checklist

    Before embarking on a journey of self-reinvention, you need to make sure that you have everything that you need to make the trip bump-proof. These things include:

    Resilience

    Problems and obstacles are guaranteed to happen. Some of them will be difficult and may knock you off course; the important thing, however, is that you learn from these difficulties, never lose focus, and always get back up. This requires building resilience to get through the tough times.

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    Support

    Humans are social beings. Although it is important that you learn to rely on yourself when facing any challenge, it is also important to have a support team that you can lean on to give you a boost when things get too tough and to correct you when you’re making mistakes.

    The key is to find the right balance between independence and dependence. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share the difficulties you’re facing. When you open up, you’ll find the people who are really going to be there for you.

    Self-Care

    During the process of learning how to reinvent yourself, you will have to pull yourself away from your old comfort zones, habits, roles, and self-perceptions. This can be difficult and cause you to question your self-worth, so it’s important to engage in self-care to maintain a positive outlook and keep your mind and body healthy as you face the challenges that await you. Self-care can include:

    • Participating in a hobby you enjoy
    • Spending time with your support system
    • Taking some time to walk in nature
    • Practicing loving-kindness meditation

    Find what works for you and what helps you feel like your true self as you seek a reinvented version of you.

    How to Reinvent Yourself

    Once you’re sure that you’re equipped with all the tools in the self-reinvention checklist, you can begin your journey of learning how to reinvent yourself.

    1. Discover Your Strengths

    This step provides valuable information on how you deal with certain situations. If you have this information, you will be able to manage difficulties more efficiently.

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    To find out what your strengths are, you can ask your friends and colleagues for feedback, engage in self-reflection, or try these 10 Ways to Find Your Own Personal Strengths.

    2. Plan

    This step calls for a thorough assessment of your current emotional, psychological, and financial status so that you can develop plans that are realistic and practical.

    It’s okay to have ambitious dreams, but your plans have to be realistic. Making use of SMART goals can help you plan your life better.

    You can also consult your mentor or life coach for practical tips and advice.

    Ultimately, you’ll want to create specific long-term and short-term goals that you can create milestones for. By doing this, you’ll lay out a specific roadmap to your reinvented self.

    3. Try Things Out

    Sometimes, we don’t know if solutions actually work until we try them out. This is why it is important to experiment whenever possible, especially if you’re dealing with a career change. You may need to simply experiment in order to find the things you like. This can be the same with hobbies. If you’re not sure what you would like doing, accept invitations from friends to join them in their favorite sport or take a class, like pottery or photography.

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    By seeing what’s out there in any area of your life, you’ll have a better chance of finding the things you enjoy and the goals you want to create.

    4. Manage Your Finances Well

    Changes may require a bit of money. If you’re shifting to a new career, you may have to pay for training. If you’re going through a tough divorce or having a hard time dealing with the death of a loved one, you may have to pay for therapy. If you’re moving to a new home, you’ll definitely have to pay a whole lot of expenses.

    All of these things are possible, but it will require a bit of money savviness as you learn how to reinvent yourself. If you have that cushion, you’ll feel more comfortable straying from your current path to try new things.

    5. Muster Your Courage

    Fears and self-doubt may arise when you encounter difficulties and setbacks. Sometimes, they may also come when you’re taking risks. You have to manage these negative emotions well and not allow them to discourage you. Tap into your courage and try doing at least one new thing each week to develop it.

    Learn how to deal with your self-doubts to move forward in this article: How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It)

    6. Use Your Support Group

    As stated above, you need to build a strong support group before you even start the process of reinventing yourself. Your group will keep you from taking wrong turns and encourage you when you get too weighed down by problems. Don’t be afraid to call them, or even ask them out for coffee if you need to vent about the current difficulties you’re facing.

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    7. Remind Yourself Every Day of Your Commitment

    Write your goals on different-sized cards and scatter them at home and at work in places where you can easily see them. This way, you will constantly be reminded of where you want to be. Remember, writing down your goals helps them stick[1].

    8. Accept Failure, Learn, and Resume Your Journey

    Failing is normal, especially when we’re trying out something new. When you fail, simply recognize it, learn from it, and move on. Failure, in the end, is the best way to learn what does and doesn’t work, and you simply won’t be able to learn how to reinvent yourself if you don’t accept the inevitable failures that await you.

    Final Thoughts

    If you truly want to learn how to reinvent yourself and live the life you desire, take the advice above and start taking action. It will take time, patience, and plenty of effort to make the change you want happen, but it will be all worth it.

    More Tips on How to Reinvent Yourself

    Featured photo credit: Ashley Rich via unsplash.com

    Reference

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