8 Things To Do For A Happier You | inc.com


From www.inc.com Today, 8:42 AM

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”300px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”5″ border_color=”#d6abce” ]This first “key to happiness” is my favorite because it isn’t hard to accomplish without input from outside sources. When we were first married my husband and I played a game for married couples with some long married friends.  One of the questions was, “How would you describe yourself in one word?”, and your spouse had to choose the one to match yours in order to get a point in the game.   I don’t remember all the choices, but rose and book were the two that stood out to me.  I recall hoping that my husband would know that I would instinctively choose book.  Not because I love to read or that I think I’m smarter than everyone else BUT because I LOVE to learn new things.  Thankfully, he didn’t choose rose and we kicked the other couples butts!!!

I enjoy attempting to master new skills like making pottery (I so want my own potter’s wheel and a small kiln!), building things, learning to knit or crochet or sew, learning a new language, making kombucha, learning to ferment vegetables, making bread, baking something new, learning about how to keep chickens, gardening difficult to grow flowers or vegetables, figuring out how to fix my bike by myself. . . You see, I’m not afraid to get myself dirty.  What my husband finds frustrating about these things is that though the habits become part of my regular routine I don’t develop them to the point of perfection so I can make a business of it.  There is a very good reason for this.  I want to continue learning skills which will benefit my family and bring me joy and have the freedom to practice them without the stress of it becoming a burden.   At one time I wanted to have my own business.  Then I saw the reality of things. . .

My husband has a cabinet shop.  Really that is a misnomer – he has a manufacturing facility.  He USED to be a cabinet maker.  He USED to enjoy making things out of wood and took pride is the work of his hands.  Now he is slave to his business.  His entire life is his business – keeping customers happy and people employed so the business can continue to grow.  He has employees who make boxes for his clients.  His hands rarely ever touch the materials with which he once so loved working.  What was once his creative outlet is now his living nightmare, his taskmaster, and the focus of all his attention.

He has a wife who loves him and two beautiful, sweet, smart little girls who are growing so fast and he has little time to spend with them.  They’ll be grown and gone before he knows it and he’ll have missed it all.  Time will go by and I’ll become more and more the stranger who is married to a house that he happens to sleep in.[/dropshadowbox]

1. Learn something new, even if it’s stressful: Mastering a new skill means more stress now but more happiness later.

If you are willing to push through a bit of added stress in the short term, you can experience huge gains in happiness for the long term.

So learn a new skill. Though you’ll take on a bit more stress, research shows you’ll be happier on an hourly, daily, and long-term basis.

The gains from this investment in time and energy were documented in a 2009 study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies. Participants who spent time on activities that increased their competency, met their need for autonomy, or helped them connect with others reported decreased happiness in the moment yet increased happiness on an hourly and daily basis.

The key, according to the study, is to choose the right new skill to master, challenge to undertake, or opportunity to get out of your comfort zone. The greatest increases in happiness come from learning a skill you choose, rather than one you think you should or feel forced to learn.

2. Make friends with people who live near you: The sweet spot is a happy friend who lives a mile away

The main takeaway: Distant friends are fine, but the closer your friends are to where you live, the better.

3. Embrace opposing feelings at the same time: Cheerful + Downcast = Happy
So don’t ignore negative feelings. Embrace them–and then actively work toward overcoming whatever issues you face.

4. Invest in good counseling: Therapy is 32 times more effective than money.
Can money buy happiness?
The results were incredibly lopsided:
Therapy was 32 times more effective than cash.
$1,300 worth of therapy equaled the benefit of getting a $40,000 raise.
The study certainly highlights the value of counseling, and it also shows the general benefit of intangible experiences, relationships, and communication over possessions, things, and money.
If you’re seeking happiness, never be afraid to wonder if you’re looking in the right places.
5. Say “no” to almost everything. Better yet, say “I don’t.”
According to Warren Buffett, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”
Overworked and overburdened is a recipe for unhappiness. So if you want to be happy, get some quick wins by saying no.
But say no the right way: say “I don’t.” Believe it or not, using the phrase “I don’t” is up to eight times more effective than saying “I can’t.” It’s more than doubly effective versus a simple no.


6. Prepare for the worst; hope for the best: Take the samurai approach to happiness.
Samurai warriors had two essential elements to performing at their best: They trained extremely hard, and they prepared for the worst.
Another benefit of visualization is that you feel more in control when you have a plan for various outcomes. Navy SEALs undergo psychological training so that they feel in control at all times. And according to neuroscience, the brain can continue to function as normal so long as we maintain the illusion of control (via training and visualization).

7. Give up your favorite things: Just for a day or two, not forever.
Here’s a gem of an idea from Eric Barker, author of the Barking Up the Wrong Tree blog: “Denying yourself something makes you appreciate the things you take for granted.”

8. Celebrate strengths; recognize weaknesses: Give yourself permission to be yourself.
You’ve perhaps heard the old maxim “You can be anything you want to be.” Tom Rath puts it a little differently: “You can be a lot more of who you already are. When we’re able to put most of our energy into developing our natural talents, extraordinary room for growth exists.”


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