How to be happy – 6. Make happiness a goal

Lesson:
A review of happiness perks

By now you probably need no more convincing that being happy is a good thing. We’ve seen how happiness supports your health, how happiness comes before, and sometimes causes, many other benefits, and how happiness is good for people around you, too.

Before moving on to new research lessons and strategies for applying them it’s worth reviewing the perks of choosing to be happy:

  • Enjoying physical health
  • Enjoying mental health
  • Having better coping skills
  • Being more resilient
  • Feeling satisfied at work
  • Having good relationships with colleagues, friends and loved ones
  • Living a long life
  • Having immune system strength
  • Liking yourself
  • Being more altruistic
  • Liking others
  • Being better at managing conflict

Of course, these findings are generalized across people – for some the effects are small or non-existent, for others they’re significant. In general, though, simply being happy is likely to have advantages for you and the people in your life.

The research is compelling, but you also know yourself that you have greater energy, get more done, suffer fewer colds, and find work better when you’re happy. When you’re down everything seems to go wrong.

Happiness strategy: Make happiness a goal

Contrary to being a selfish preoccupation, choosing to be happy can help boost your mental and physical resilience, improve your work, relationships and health, and lead you to be more altruistic, sociable and better at conflict management. It puts you in a strong position to contribute to your family, friends, community and society.

What all this means is that you can feel really good about making happiness a goal for yourself. Happiness isn’t just an end in itself, it’s also a means to being, doing, and giving more. With that in mind, let today be the day you make the choice to be happy. And there are many more strategies ahead to help you do just that.

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.

Image by by matsukawa1971 under Creative Commons.

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