Some scientists have argued that happiness is largely determined by genetics, health and other factors mostly outside of our control. But recent research suggests people actually can take charge of their own happiness and boost it through certain practices.
There are some practices that can significantly enhance well-being. The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.
Here are five things that research has shown can improve your happiness:
1. Be grateful – Some study participants were asked to write letters of gratitude to family, friends and neighbors. It found that these people reported a lasting increase in happiness after implementing the habit. And, sending the letter is not necessary.
2. Be optimistic –Optimistic thinking seems to help. Study participants were asked to visualize an ideal future,for example: perfect partner and perfect home, and describe the image in a journal entry. After doing this for a few weeks, these people reported increased feelings of well-being.
3. Count your blessings – People who practice writing down three good things that have happened to them every week show significant boosts in happiness. It seems the act of focusing on the positive helps people remember reasons to be glad.
4. Use your strengths –People should identify their greatest strengths, and then to try to use them in new ways. For example, someone who has a good sense of humor could try telling jokes to lighten up business meetings or cheer up sad friends. This habit, too, seems to heighten happiness.
5. Commit acts of kindness –Helping others also helps ourselves. People who donate time or money to charity, or who altruistically assist people in need, report improvements in their own happiness.
Original article on Live Science