7 Steps to Becoming a Happier Person

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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