We’re coming up on Thanksgiving, a time for gratitude. Some of us are not happy. We think that ‘if only’ we had this or that, we could really enjoy life. Studies indicate that though your natural happiness ‘set point’ has genetic components, happiness is also a choice. Here are seven happy tips.
Choose – Happiness is an intentional decision that you pursue with determination. It isn’t according to studies, dropped out of the sky for you. Choose to be with people who lift your spirits and not those who are always sad, disappointed or grumbling.
Gratitude – List things, either out loud or in a journal, for which you are thankful. You have so many gifts, talents and blessings. Think about those things and you will feel happier.
Forgiveness – You can’t live for any length of time and not have been hurt. Carrying that around leaves you heavy and sad. More and more research shows, according to experts, that forgiveness is tied to mental health. Life’s not fair and it sometimes hurts. You, too, have been the source of pain. But for your health and happiness let it go, little bird, and be free.
Give negativity the boot – Negativity is no fun. And sometimes we carelessly ruminate about how life stinks or seems unfair. There is not benefit in such thoughts. When you become aware of them replace them with your list of blessings. Sing upbeat songs, dance in the living room. Chase the bad away with joy.
It’s not the money- All the money in the world doesn’t bring peace and contentment, as you may observe from the sad shenanigans of Hollywood celebs and the idle rich. Making enough to pay modest bills is a threshold for normalcy. Increasing amounts of money does NOT bring joy. Not according to the research.
Make friends – Want more friends? Reach out. Take a risk. Invite folks put. They don’t know how to make friends and are not ignoring you so much as they feel unsure how to become better buds. Make the effort to keep and expand your real-life social connections. You’ll do better with buddies than you will do alone.
Meaningful life – Finally, when you give your time to activities that change lives, that change your community, where you are challenged high levels of happiness are recorded. TV viewing, which is a common, and not bad, leisure activity, doesn’t produce the same high level of joy as meaningful work.
So as you practice gratitude this Thanksgiving, think of this list and expand your decisions for happiness.
Marion Syversen, MBA
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