How can I be happy? It’s a question many spend their entire lives asking as they search for a key to unlock everlasting mental and emotional prosperity.
Even scientists have dedicated time to cracking the happiness code. In fact, researchers from more than 60 countries met in Melbourne, Australia, in July for the International Positive Psychology Association’s 6th World Congress to discuss what does and does not make people happy.
Kira Newman, the managing editor of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good magazine, was among the attendees. She heard many ideas concerning what can influence happiness and give our lives greater meaning, but three insights in particular stood out to share:
1. Positive or productive solitude
Nobody wants to be alone 100 percent of the time, and many of us thrive when we’re with other people. But according to researchers at the Higher School of Economics University in Moscow, Russia, people who learn to enjoy solitude tend to be more positive.
It’s about putting time aside to focus on individual interests or even just relax. And in the process, we can change our perspective so the experience of being alone is uplifting rather than depressing. That small adjustment could help give us peace of mind.
2. Feeling active
We all know exercise is good for our health, mentally and physically. But researcher Sarah Pressman and her colleagues found feeling active was a large part of linking positive emotions to how long we live. Her team defined feeling active as being full of life and energy, and they believe more effort should be dedicated to exploring the concept.
3. Thinking about the future
According to Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist and coauthor of the future-minded book, “Homo Prospectus,” the happier a person is, the more they contemplate and look forward to their future. In doing so, these people may set more goals and keep their current behavior in check by imagining the perspective they could have years in the future. It’s a simple concept, and if we manage to adopt it, the practice could give us a better outlook!
We’re feeling more positive already! It’s great to know we have plenty to strive toward when it comes to living our best lives.
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