The quest for happiness is all around us. It’s seems to be one of those elusive goals we constantly chase and yet, if we just pressed the pause button for a moment, we may find it’s easier to attain than we think.
The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, suggested that happiness is not something that is attained in an instant, but rather something we achieve over the course of a lifetime. Happiness he explained may even require us to make difficult choices and that ultimately it’s relative to each individual.
So what are these lifetime goals or things we can build on to secure happiness? Try taking these 9 suggestions to heart:
1. Friends and family—nurture social relationships. A key secret of those who live long, healthy lives is their relationships and community emphasizes Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness. People with strong social support from family, friends and community not only live longer, but they tend to thrive in doing so.
2. Spend time in nature. Studies show that time spent outdoors in nature makes us healthier, more creative, more empathetic, and energized, and ultimately happier.
3. Money can buy (some) happiness. Making money can bring happiness, but it’s not a million dollars necessarily that will do it. A recent study put optimal emotional wellbeing at making $65,000 to $75,000 a year. This is consistent with past research that said people are happiest who make roughly $75,000 a year.
4. Healthy eating. Studies have shown that nutrition deficiencies are affecting our mood and contributing to depression. A healthy diet, complete with fruits and veggies, whole grains, healthy fats and proteins, can help boost our mood and our happiness. Of course, eating all of our nutrients isn’t always possible, but a high-quality supplement can help to make up for diet deficiencies and be a reliable partner in the happiness equation.
5. Exercise and looking after your body. It’s a well-known fact that exercise releases our mood-boosting endorphins. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that physically active people are happier and more satisfied with their lives. Not to mention, research shows that the mood benefits of just 20 minutes of exercise can last up to 12 hours.
6. Do acts of kindness. Studies have also shown that we feel better when we give to others than when we receive. So those simple acts of kindness can actually be seen as giving happiness to yourself, too.
7. Be mindful. Mindfulness or less mental wandering has been equated to greater happiness. In large part because you are taking your brain off autopilot and making mindful choices of how you want to live your life.
8. Commit to your goals. When you have defined goals that are meaningful to you it can help to bolster your self-esteem and gives you a structure to help you focus and manage your time. Actually working toward a goal and achieving it builds confidence and lends to feeling better about your self.
9. Turn off technology. Of course, a key to having great relationships, being mindful, exercising or getting outdoors is to turn off technology and actually engage with the world around you, not just the screen in front of you. While technology can serve a place in our lives, turning it off or knowing how to step away from it will provide a stronger pathway to happiness.