Web MD has an article called Strategies for Happiness: 7 Steps to Becoming a Happier Person By Tom Valeo. Reviewed by Cynthia Dennison Haines, MD.
Here’s a quick summary of the 7 strategies from the article:
Happiness Strategy # 1: Don’t Worry, Choose Happy
First, make a decision to be happy. Then you can select the strategies to help you. The remaining strategies are the sorts of things psychologists suggest.
Happiness Strategy #2: Cultivate Gratitude
It can dispel bitterness and despair.
Happiness Strategy #3: Foster Forgiveness
Grudges can affect physical and mental health, and ruminating is stressful.
Happiness Strategy #4: Counteract Negative Thoughts and Feelings
Valeo suggests meditation, rhythmic breathing, yoga, or relaxation techniques as well as learning to identify and dispute thoughts of inadequacy and helplessness.
Happiness Strategy #5: Remember, Money Can’t Buy Happiness
Readers of this blog know all about this one! See the recent Happiness Strategy How to be happy – 10. Don’t keep up with the Joneses.
Happiness Strategy #6: Foster Friendship
Valeo mentions that an Australian study found people over 70 with rich friendship networks enjoyed greater longevity.
Happiness Strategy #7: Engage in Meaningful Activities
Do more of what means more to get more out of life.
My 2 cents
In his introduction to the strategies Valeo says ‘your talent for happiness is, to a large degree, determined by your genes’. I say puh-huh! In fact, as we saw in a recent Happiness Strategy – How to be happy – 11. Focus on what you can do to be happier – research suggests that only between 25% and 52% of happiness variance is related to genes. And these figures reflect potential – environment (what you experience) and volition (what you choose to think and do) also contribute to whether and how genetic dispositions are expressed.
Apart from that quibble, the list of 7 strategies is an excellent one.
Valeo sums up by noting ‘happiness can be a matter of choice — not just luck’.
I’d add — and not just money, genes, or life circumstances either.
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