A question we have all wondered at some point. What make me happy, what makes others happy, am I doing enough of what makes me happy?
It should be fairly simple. Do something you love, surround yourself with people you love, make enough money but not excessive amounts and in my opinion, get a dog. Happiness guaranteed. But there is inevitably more complexity here. How do I do something I love that can give me the lifestyle I want? How do I balance time at work and time with family? When I have made enough money do I stop trying? I don't know the answer to any of these questions, if you do please let me know. Inevitably we will all have our own unique answers. If you are looking for more happiness, there are some universally agreed things you can do to achieve it.
Optimistic people are happier than pessimistic people. This makes sense. If every time you hit a bump in the road you think the world is gong to end then you wont have much to smile about. If you think that things will turn out well in the end you will find it easier to raise a smile.
Find People you Like
People who surround themselves with people they love and spend regular quality time with those people are happier than people who have few social connections. When we bond with others socially we produce oxycotoin (also nicely called the 'cuddle hormone'), which puts us in a relaxed, happy state of mind. (Note - researchers have also found that this hormone is released when playing with your dog. Case closed.)
Get Better at what you Love
Happiness comes from getting better at something, especially something that is meaningful to you. Life is a journey of learning and growth. By setting and achieving goals you will increase your levels of personal motivation and live an enriched and fulfilled life.
Believe in Yourself
People who have a good understanding of what they are good at (and conversely what they are not good at) will feel more satisfied with life. Knowing and using your strengths will give you increased confidence and happiness. Combine this with living by your own values and continuing to improve for even more happiness.
And if that doesn't work, then put on some Pharrell Williams and remember...
Everything is Temporary
We tend to overestimate the impact that bad events have on our life. Yes, awful things happen that significantly reduce our happiness. However positive and negative events don't tend to have as much of a long-term impact on our happiness as we tend to think. After about 3 months of an extreme event our happiness will usually return to baseline levels.