Happiness is hugely important to most of us. But achieving it can sometimes seem like a nearly impossible riddle. Chasing happiness actually tends to make us unhappy, for instance, while experts insist that most people have the happiness equation exactly backwards. While many think achievements and good times bring happiness, research suggests that happiness actually helps us be successful not the other way around.
With a subject this complex and slippery, what you need is someone to boil things down for you -- a simple, easy-to-remember guide that will help you keep the most important ways to increase your joy in mind. Charity Action for Happiness, in collaboration with Do Something Different, is aiming to supply just that.
The British organization surveyed 5,000 people to try to uncover exactly what habits contribute the most to happiness. They then boiled down the findings into a ten-step recipe for boosting your happiness, creating a helpful acronym, GREAT DREAM, to help the curious remember their recommendations. So what do the letters stand for? Here are the daily happiness habits in brief:
- Giving: do things for others
- Relating: connect with people
- Exercising: take care of your body
- Appreciating: notice the world around
- Trying out: keep learning new things
- Direction: have goals to look forward to
- Resilience: find ways to bounce back
- Emotion: take a positive approach
- Acceptance: be comfortable with who you are
- Meaning: be part of something bigger
It's certainly a handy mnemonic, but even a second of consideration reveals that a lot of these points are easier said than done. Exactly how do you become more resilient? What should you do specifically in order to 'take a positive approach'? And how do you discover what's meaningful to you if you're really not sure of your personal passions?
The organization offers many more details on their website, with a little 'how to' section for each point, as well as book recommendations for further learning and a potpourri of relevant research findings. (There's also a course you can pay for if you want a really deep dive.) Plus, there are other round-ups of happiness advice available as well for further reading.
How many of these habits do you currently fit into your day?