How to be happy: 101 practical strategies drawn from positive psychology research

You can be happier

Good news: research emerging from the new and exciting field of positive psychology says your happiness level is neither static nor beyond your control. Not only can you boost your own ‘happiness quotient’, but doing so will bring many benefits to you and the people around you.

Stay tuned to this series to discover simple and practical strategies you can use in your own life.

How to use the strategies

This series is divided into lessons from the research – snippets that summarize interesting findings about happiness and wellbeing. Along with each lesson is a strategy – a suggestion you can apply for yourself to move toward a happier life.

The lessons and strategies are numbered but you needn’t read them in order. Just choose a strategy* that appeals to you where you are today. Some will strike you as intuitively right. Others will challenge your assumptions about what makes people happy – and perhaps give you a new perspective on your current approach to happiness.

If you’re wondering how happiness is studied…

You might be dubious about happiness ‘research’ – is it really possible to study happiness?

The research in this series comes mainly from the emerging science of positive psychology, and also draws from old-school psychology and even economics.

What the findings have in common is that they’re the results of studies and experiments using the scientific method. They’re undertaken with careful definitions, hypotheses and methodology and subjected to peer review. That doesn’t mean they’re the ultimate truth on happiness – but it does suggest you can rely on them more than you could rely on opinion, vague theory, or old wives’ tale in helping you to be happy.

Read the findings and decide for yourself what you make of them. I hope that, like I did, you’ll find them fascinating and fun. More practically, I hope these lessons and strategies inspire and equip you to increase your own happiness level.

Being happy is a choice

By seeing happiness as an achievable and worthwhile goal you’ll open yourself up to wonderful changes in your life – and the lives of people around you.

* I’ll be posting at least one new strategy each week, starting 15 October 2007.

001. Get clear about happiness

002. Measure your happiness level

003. Choose happiness for your health

004. Be happy now

005. Spread it around

006. Make happiness a goal

007. Don’t just ease the bad, boost the good too

008. Make happiness an inside job

009. Get off the hedonic treadmill

010. Dont keep up with the Joneses

011. Focus on what you can do to be happier

012. Make peace with your personality

013. Act like you’re an extravert – even if you aren’t

014. Concentrate on intentional factors