Exactly How To Be Happy, According To Science

Sometimes a mere change of perspective is all you need.

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As stated by the Dalai Lama (XIV), “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” Sometimes in our fast-paced, technologically-driven modern lives, it’s easy to become distracted and forget the diverse and dynamic sources that bring us life-sustaining happiness. 

According to research, humans are personally responsible for at least 40% of their own happiness, in any given moment— the rest is genetic and due to external factors. Following extensive studies of lifestyle, behaviour and psychology, scientists seem to agree that the recipe for happiness always seems to have these several ingredients.

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1. Healthy relationships. A major study conducted in the United States, followed hundreds of men over the course of 70 years. They found that the happiest and healthiest men were those who had cultivated loving, trusting relationships and felt supported. Spending time with friends also significant contributes to happiness.

2.  Time is more important than money. People seem to be happier when they prioritize having time, over having money. Furthermore, it makes us happier to spend money on experiences rather than items, although buying things that help us do our hobbies— like a book or camping gear— can also increase happiness.

3. Money is a factor—however. Happiness has been shown to steadily increase along with annual income, up to about $75,000/year.

4. Happy people are full of gratitude. People are happier when they slow down to reflect on, and feel thankful for, the positive attributes in their lives. Keeping a gratitude journal, for example, is a growing practice shown to increase happiness among adults. 

5. No matter how small, acts of kindness make people feel better. Helping others is important in feeling a sense of community and purpose.

6. Exercise cannot be underestimated! “Studies show that increased levels of physical activity are connected to higher levels of happiness” says IFL Science. Exercise also can help mitigate the effects of mental illness, especially depression.

7. Mindfulness and meditation improve well-being. Meditation is actually shown to help restructure the brain, lowering anxiety and making us kinder and more empathic.

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