How to be happy – 4. Be happy now

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketLesson: Happy people enjoy all kinds of success

You might be surprised by the sheer breadth of benefits associated with happiness.

One study performed a meta-analysis of 293 separate findings to tease out the relationship between happiness and success.

First they looked at correlation studies – what goes with happiness. They found happier people tend to be favored in plenty of areas, including:

  • Relationships
  • Work
  • Self-control
  • Health
  • Coping
  • Immune system functioning.

Maybe you’re thinking anyone would be happy if they had it together in all these ways. But the long-term studies showed people were happy before, not because of, enjoying good relationships, work and health.

Perhaps most interesting were the experimental studies, where good feelings were created artificially – for instance, by asking people to recall a pleasant memory or showing them a cheerful film. It seems being happy itself caused people to experience a range of benefits, including self-liking, social skills, altruism and better immune functioning.

It’s not so surprising that being happy is linked to many good outcomes across life areas – if your relationships, work and health are good then of course you’ll be happy!

The big lesson is that happiness seems to come first.

Happiness strategy: Be happy now

Some people have decided they can’t – or won’t – be happy until they…

  • Meet their dream person
  • Finally get that big break
  • Lose weight
  • Get someone else to change.

You can spend your whole life waiting for circumstances to be just right. If you put off happiness until that perfect situation, you may be denying yourself happiness in the meantime – and for what? Being happy now may be just the boost you need to help you get some of the other things, too.

So don’t wait another moment to choose happiness. And start enjoying those perks.

Research sources:

Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131(6), 803-855.

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

This post is part of a series covering simple, practical, research-inspired, happiness strategies you can use in your own life. For more information about the series, check out the 101 Happiness Strategies main page.

By Michele Connolly

Choose to be happier – and you will be.

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