Do “happy” people do things differently? Did they attend some secret meeting where they were told the secrets to happiness? There are thousands of books, websites, and blogs dedicated to the topic of being happy. However, the best way that I have found to learn something new is to model those that are already doing it well. Working with clients, talking with colleagues and friends, and also reading a lot of those books, blogs and websites, I wanted to see if I could come up with an answer to the question, do happy people do things differently. Looking at people that report being consistently happy on psychological surveys, it turns out there are things we can identify they do on a consistent basis that points to then being “happy”. Putting all the research and information together, here are the tops things we can identify that “happy” people do on a consistent basis:
· Learned Optimism. Happy people learn how to see opportunity in everything. Even when they face challenges, they are optimistic about the future. I say learned, because for most of us it is not our default programing, so we can and need to cultivate optimism and positivity.
· Relationships. People that report being happy focus a lot of energy into improving their existing relationships (business and personal), and making new ones.
· Learn how to cope. Life is going to throw you curveballs. A family member is going to die, you might loose your job, you might get sick, or your spouse might get into a car accident, etc.… Having tools and strategies ready to go to help you through these times will keep you moving forward and happy.
· Take care of yourself. Exercise regularly, eat clean, take vacations, learn how to relax, get sufficient sleep and practice mindfulness (being present).
· Contribute to others. Making contributions to others is a core need we have. Make a donation, mentor someone, volunteer, or help a neighbor.
· Avoid over thinking. Be aware of paralysis by analysis. Learn to take action on goals, don’t be afraid to fail, and learn how to not get fused with internal thoughts and thinking that are dysfunctional and distressful.
· Find a passion. Find what really excites you. What would you do with your time if money or income were not a consideration? Maybe it’s a hobby, maybe it’s your career, or maybe it’s a social cause. Whatever it is for you, find something to be passionate about. Find meaning, significance and value in something you enjoy doing.
· Never stop. There is a well-known Japanese term called Kaizen. Kaizen is a Japanese business principal that says constant and never ending improvement; even if very slight is the key to excellence. This concept is what companies like Toyota and Sony have integrated into their corporate culture. Toyota is constantly looking at ways to improve, and that is why they have become as successful as they are. Keep learning, growing, and making improvements wherever you can. A small change now can have a profound effect later.
If you are feeling that this is a lot to take on, that’s ok, start small. Take on one of these and do it consistently for 30 days, and add in as the months move forward. Before you know it you will be seeing happiness from a whole new perspective. Leave comments and contact me with questions!