The Psychology of Happiness: 7 Rituals For A Happy Life
All human beings share an innate drive to experience happiness.
People don’t wake up in the morning and think, “How can I be miserable today?” We all want to be happy, but some of us lose sight how to achieve it.
This is where the power of daily rituals are come into play. The small things that you do each day create the biggest results.
Happiness is not only hard to measure, but it is difficult to define, because everyone ascribes their own meaning to it.
What makes you happy? Have you ever wondered what determines happiness?
The Oxford dictionary defines happiness as, “the state of being happy”.
The problem with this definition is that the feeling of happiness is subjective, which is why it is important to understand happiness through scientific examination and inquiry.
In contemporary psychology, happiness is simply referred to as ‘pleasure’.
Dr. Martin Seligman, a pioneer in the positive psychology movement, took this one step further, and used the scientific method in order to understand why happy people are happy.
He added a second component to the definition of happiness – engagement.
He found that the most satisfied people were those who had discovered and used their ‘signature strengths’ in the service of something much larger than themselves.
Stephen Covey once said, “Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice”. You create our own happiness.
You have the power to choose happiness at any given moment.
The question remains, if happiness is a choice, than why aren’t more people choosing it?
The reason for this is because many people strive for happiness, instead of choosing to be happy.
They wait for the next big thing, instead of being in the present and enjoying the little things, the moments that bring joy.
They think that happiness comes when they word hard, make lots of money, and achieve ‘success’.
This is a recipe for disaster. The happiness equation is a lot simpler. It you want a successful life, choose happiness before anything else.
Research by psychologist, Ed Diener, shows that the frequency of your positive experiences is a much better predictor of your happiness than is the intensity of your positive experiences.
When we think about what would make us happy, we tend to think of intense events—taking a fancy trip, winning the lottery, or buying an expensive car – but Diener and his colleagues have shown that how good your experiences are doesn’t matter nearly as much as how many good experiences you have.
Somebody who has a dozen mildly nice things happen each day is likely to be happier than somebody who has a single truly amazing thing happen.
This research is a testament to the importance of being grateful every day, and learning to enjoy the present moment.
Ekhart Tolle once said, “Do I want the present moment to be my friend or my enemy?” The present moment is inseparable from life, so you are really deciding what kind of relationship you want to have with life”.
Making a commitment to be happy can have huge benefits in your daily life. I believe in the power of daily habits.
Follow these 7 daily rituals that will help you live a happier and more fulfilled life:
“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” ~Lao Tzu
A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that meditation is really healthy for the mind, body, and soul.
Research shows that meditation can increase your levels of feel-good chemicals, like endorphins and serotonin.
Studies also indicate it may increase your capacity for happiness and reduce your propensity towards negativity.
At first, meditation can seem challenging, but like any habit, with practice, you get better at it over time. You may be wondering, how does this happen?
In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg describes the “habit loop,” which explains how habits form and are maintained.
There’s a cue that triggers a behavior, for which we are rewarded, making it likely we will continue the behavior.
Keep in mind that meditation doesn’t mean that you have to sit in silence for 4 hours every day.
The purpose of meditation is to gain a greater awareness and appreciation of the present moment.
Start each day with a simple 5-minute meditation. Focus on your breath, calm your thoughts, enjoy the silence, and watch the benefits unfold before your eyes!
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness – it allows people to feel more positive emotions, cope with challenges, and build strong and long-lasting relationships.
Its easy to take gratitude for granted. Have you ever caught yourself complaining that your computer wont turn on fast enough or that the barista didn’t make your coffee hot enough?
We all do it. The very thing that you have is that which someone else would only dream of having.
When you consciously cultivate an attitude of gratitude, everything in your life changes for the better. It shifts your focus from what you lack, to what you already have.
Start each day with writing down five things that you are grateful for. Give thanks and appreciate life’s gifts – your ability to breathe, see/hear, walk, etc. The simple things.
As Tony Robbins says, “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears”.
Nurture Your Physical Wellbeing
Most of us are aware of the physiological benefits that exercise can bring, but there is evidence to suggest that it can also improve one’s mood and increase feelings of happiness.
It is so important to nurture your body by eating a well-balanced diet and doing some form of physical activity every day.
I am a big believer that your health is your wealth.
It is the best investment that you can make. Jim Rohn said it best – “Take care of your body. Its the only place you have to live”.
Do What You Love
Are you living on autopilot? Do you wake up every morning wanting to hit the snooze button because you dread going to work?
If you are not living your passion, or making strides to do so, you need to ask yourself why, because life is too short no to.
Perhaps its time to make a change. By stepping out of your comfort zone and finding what it is that makes you come alive, you will experience more joy, happiness and fulfillment.
When you live your truth, everything in your life changes for the better.
Keep in mind that there will always be someone that has an opinion of how they think you should live your life, whether that’s a colleague, a family member or a friend.
The only opinion that matters is yours.
Everyone has a special gift, and its your job to discover, nurture, and share that gift with the world.
Take the advice of Steve Job – “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it, keep looking. Don’t settle”.
Spend Money on Experiences, Not Things
It’s nice to buy nice things for yourself once in awhile, especially when you have worked so hard to achieve success.
It’s important to reward ourselves. However, money doesn’t buy happiness.
Recent research from San Francisco State University found that people who spent money on experiences rather than material items were happier and felt the money was better spent.
Like I’ve said before, it’s the little things in life that mean the most. Invest in yourself. Engage in activities and experiences that expand your mind.
When I was 17 years old, I found the world of personal development and I never looked back. Investing in yourself may be the most profitable investment you ever make.
Warren Buffett once said, “Invest in as much of yourself as you can. You are your own biggest asset by far”.
Surround Yourself with Happy People
Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur and motivational speaker, once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.
It is important to realize that you become who you surround yourself with. Step back and look at your circle of friends. Do you seem to be drawn to happy people?
Do you surround yourself with people that support, inspire, and elevate you? Do you admire and respect them?
If not, it may be time to rethink your friendships.
Make a commitment to spend more time with positive, happy people. In turn, you will feel the same.
Find Your Flow
Can you think of the last time when you were so hyper-focused that hours went by without you even noticing?
In positive psychology, flow, also known as ‘the zone’, is the mental state of operation, in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, involvement, and enjoyment in the process.
Research has linked this flow state to leading a life of happiness and purpose. The question remains, how do you enter into this flow state?
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who coined the term ‘Flow Psychology’ suggests five ways through which you are able to enter into a flow state:
- Set goals that have clear and immediate feedback
- Become immersed in the particular activity
- Pay attention to what is happening in the moment
- Learn to enjoy immediate experience
- Proportion one’s skills to the challenge at hand
When you are in this flow zone, it will bring you a level of focus and clarity to your work that isindescribable; something that should all strive for on a daily basis.
Do you want to learn more about how to create daily rituals? CLICK HERE to check out my morning ritual mastery course!