How to be really happy

So happiness – isn’t that the thing that all of us strive to find and keep? Nobody is happy all of the time, but some people are definitely more fulfilled than others. Studies on what makes people happy reveal that it doesn’t have much to do with material goods or high achievement; it seems to whittle down to your outlook on life and the quality of your relationships with the people around you. First of all, be realistic. Nobody is happy all of the time and it is perfectly normal to have variations in moods and feelings from day to day, month to month, and even year to year. According to a study based on data from the British Household Panel Survey, overall levels of happiness decline from one’s teens until one’s 40s and then pick up until they peak in one’s early 70s [for more data click here]. So the chances are that your happiest days are yet to come. Doesn’t that make you happier? At any time and at any age, though, it is possible to feel happier than you have been and here are some ideas for you to consider. More importantly than anything else, if you can live with a partner whom you love and respect and who feels the same about you. Kiss and cuddle and compliment often and regularly buy unexpected little gifts. Share your triumphs and your troubles. Evidence shows that a good relationship will not only make you happier; it will enable you to live longer. Be in the moment. Instead of worrying about your check-up tomorrow while you have dinner with your family, focus on the here and now — the food, the company, the conversation. Just anticipating a happy, funny event can raise levels of endorphins and other pleasure-inducing hormones and lower production of stress hormones. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, tested 16 men who all agreed they thought a certain videotape was funny. Half were told three days in advance they would watch it. They started experiencing biological changes right away. When they actually watched the video, their levels of stress hormones dropped significantly, while their endorphin levels rose 27 percent and their growth hormone levels (indicating benefit to the immune system) rose 87 percent. One benefit of being grateful and expressing your appreciation to others is the reciprocal nature of such things. The natural response to somebody saying, “thank you” or “wow, I really appreciate you” is the discovery of reasons to respond in-kind. If you’re constantly finding things to be grateful for and sharing your discoveries with others, be assured that they’ll begin to notice things you do and express their gratefulness to you before long!