Lifestyle

14 Guaranteed Ways To Create Happiness In Your Life Today

SO Matchmaker

By Paul Carrick Brunson

Sunday, May 04, 2014    

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You are responsible for your own happiness.

That's what our marriage counsellor told my wife and me a few days before we jumped the broom. At the time, I didn't get it. I thought as a couple, we were supposed to complete each other and therefore make each other happy. It didn't fully register until a few years into our marriage that no matter how well intentioned my wife or I were, we could not "change" each other and therefore our ability to "make" each other happy was futile. Sure, I could tell a joke and make her laugh or she could surprise me with tickets to the game and light up my face with a smile but ultimately those things were not happiness, they were kind acts with kind responses. Happiness is much greater, it's much deeper, and it can only be self-directed.

If you are struggling with your own happiness (regardless if you're in a romantic relationship or single) the following are 14 things you must know.

1) Know The Ingredients Of Happiness

There are three keys to happiness. You must have all:

a) Pleasure (stuff that feels good in the moment - go anywhere you want with that statement...Laugh out loud

b) Meaning (belief/religion/philosophy)

c) Engagement (interaction with family & friends)

2) Visit The Double G (Gold's Gym & God's House)

Exercise and religion both make us happy and it's because they provide small boosts to well-being on a regular basis. Although, I did once workout at my church and it was a miserable experience.

3) Understand Rich People Are Not Happier

Don't think Diddy is truly any happier than you. Well, on second thought, Diddy might be but know the super-wealthy aren't that much happier than the average person. Studies show once you make US$75,000 a year, more money doesn't make you all that much happier.

4) Buy More Experiences And Fewer Material Goods

This means more putt-putt golf and vacations. Fewer cars and new TVs. In a survey from the Journal of Consumer Psychology, people were asked which of two purchases made them happier. Fully 57% of respondents reported that they had derived greater happiness from their experiential purchase, while only 34% reported greater happiness from their material purchase.

5) Be A Giver

It's the first of the month, you just got paid, and you're thinking making it rain on yourself is the quickest route to happiness. WRONG! Several studies show that those who give or what's called buy "prosocially" (ex: day-to-day activities that include friends and family) are happier than those who simply spend on personal items.

6) Drop The Mean Muggers In Your Crew

Research by Nicholas Christakis, a social scientist and internist at Harvard, states "the reality is straightforward: our friends strongly shape our behaviour. We imagine ourselves as individuals, responsible for our own choices and emotions, but that sense of independence is a romantic myth. There is no wall between people." So this means happier friends, happier you! No Mean Muggin'!

7) Don't Move To Russia

I found this to be fascinating. Take a look at the happiest and least happy places to live in the world and see where you reside falls.

8) Set Ambitious Goals

People who set conservative goals have a harder time achieving satisfaction than those who set ambitious goals. This is according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

9) Know Happiness Can Come In A Few Seconds

Thinking about the absence of a positive event from your life allows you to better appreciate the presence of that positive event in your life. Try it!

10) Think Faster

The Psychology of Science reports that we experience an independent increase in positive mood when we think fast rather than slow. Therefore, I'm going to need everyone to read this entire blog post again, but do it in 30 seconds!

11) Take Vacations

Port Antonio, on the beach, Red Stripe in one hand, my favourite book in the other. Same for my wife except replace the beer with Baileys Irish cream. Not much else needed to explain here.

12) Tell Someone "Thank You"

"Thank you" is one of the most powerful word combinations. Use them often but use them genuinely. The result is a sense of overwhelming gratitude.

13) Spend More Time With Friends

Happiness expert Daniel Gilbert prophetically stated in an interview, "We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends."

14) Do This Gratitude Exercise...

Take a few minutes to write down five things you're grateful for each week. Do this for 10 weeks. Studies show those who follow this simple exercise exhibit higher levels of happiness.

Paul Carrick Brunson is an international television personality, relationship coach and personal branding expert. In addition to being the world's first African-American matchmaker and a 2013 NAACP Image Award nominee, Brunson blogs for the Huffington Post & Essence. His bestselling book It's Complicated (But It Doesn't Have to Be) is in stores now. Contact him directly through PaulCBrunson.com or Facebook.com/PaulCBrunson.

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