10 Things Happy People Do Differently – 2

Published by Paula Davis-Laack, J.D., M.A.P.P. in Pressure Proof

6)  They know that material wealth is only a very small part of the equation. Happy people have a healthy perspective about how much joy material possessions will bring. In The How of Happiness, Lyubomirsky explains that in 1940, Americans reported being “very happy” with an average score of 7.5 out of 10. Fast forward to today, and with all of our iPods, color TV’s, computers, fast cars, and an income that has more than doubled, what do you think our average happiness score is today? It’s 7.2. Not only does materialism not bring happiness, it‘s a strong predictor of unhappiness. One study examined the attitudes of 12,000 freshman when they were eighteen, then measured their life-satisfaction at age thirty-seven. Those who had expressed materialistic aspirations as freshmen were less satisfied with their lives two decades later.

7)  They develop healthy coping strategies. Happy people encounter stressful life adversities, but they have developed successful coping strategies. Posttraumatic growth is the positive personal changes that result from an individual’s struggle to deal with highly challenging life events, and it occurs in a wide range of people facing a wide variety of challenging circumstances. According to Tedeschi and Calhoun, there are five factors or areas of growth after a challenging event: renewed appreciation for life, recognizing new paths for your life, enhanced personal strength, improved relationships with others, and spiritual growth. Happy people become skilled at seeing the good that might come from challenging times.

8)  They focus on health. Happy people take care of their mind and body and manage their stress. Focusing on your health, though, doesn’t just mean exercising. Happy people actually act like happy people. They smile, are engaged, and bring an optimal level of energy and enthusiasm to what they do.

9)  They cultivate spiritual emotions. According to Lyubomirsky, there is a growing body of science suggesting that religious people are happier, healthier, and recover more quickly from trauma than nonreligious people. In addition, Diener and Biswas-Diener add that spiritual emotions are essential to psychological wealth and happiness because they help us connect to something larger than ourselves.

10)  They have direction. Working toward meaningful life goals is one of the most important strategies happy people utilize. I downplayed the importance of meaning during my law practice, but it became evident how much meaning mattered in my life when I burned out. Happy people have values that they care about and outcomes that are worth working for (Diener & Biswas-Diener, 2008).

The late, great Dr. Chris Peterson talked about his own journey with happiness as follows: “I spent my young adult years postponing many of the small things that I knew would make me happy.…I was fortunate enough to realize that I would never have the time unless I made the time. And then the rest of my life began.”

Happy people have developed a specific set of strategies over time that causes them to see life differently – a balanced portfolio of skills and emotions. What would you add to this list?

 

Published by Paula Davis-Laack, J.D., M.A.P.P. in Pressure Proof

6)  They know that material wealth is only a very small part of the equation. Happy people have a healthy perspective about how much joy material possessions will bring. In The How of Happiness, Lyubomirsky explains that in 1940, Americans reported being “very happy” with an average score of 7.5 out of 10. Fast forward to today, and with all of our iPods, color TV’s, computers, fast cars, and an income that has more than doubled, what do you think our average happiness score is today? It’s 7.2. Not only does materialism not bring happiness, it‘s a strong predictor of unhappiness. One study examined the attitudes of 12,000 freshman when they were eighteen, then measured their life-satisfaction at age thirty-seven. Those who had expressed materialistic aspirations as freshmen were less satisfied with their lives two decades later.

7)  They develop healthy coping strategies. Happy people encounter stressful life adversities, but they have developed successful coping strategies. Posttraumatic growth is the positive personal changes that result from an individual’s struggle to deal with highly challenging life events, and it occurs in a wide range of people facing a wide variety of challenging circumstances. According to Tedeschi and Calhoun, there are five factors or areas of growth after a challenging event: renewed appreciation for life, recognizing new paths for your life, enhanced personal strength, improved relationships with others, and spiritual growth. Happy people become skilled at seeing the good that might come from challenging times.

8)  They focus on health. Happy people take care of their mind and body and manage their stress. Focusing on your health, though, doesn’t just mean exercising. Happy people actually act like happy people. They smile, are engaged, and bring an optimal level of energy and enthusiasm to what they do.

9)  They cultivate spiritual emotions. According to Lyubomirsky, there is a growing body of science suggesting that religious people are happier, healthier, and recover more quickly from trauma than nonreligious people. In addition, Diener and Biswas-Diener add that spiritual emotions are essential to psychological wealth and happiness because they help us connect to something larger than ourselves.

10)  They have direction. Working toward meaningful life goals is one of the most important strategies happy people utilize. I downplayed the importance of meaning during my law practice, but it became evident how much meaning mattered in my life when I burned out. Happy people have values that they care about and outcomes that are worth working for (Diener & Biswas-Diener, 2008).

The late, great Dr. Chris Peterson talked about his own journey with happiness as follows: “I spent my young adult years postponing many of the small things that I knew would make me happy.…I was fortunate enough to realize that I would never have the time unless I made the time. And then the rest of my life began.”

Happy people have developed a specific set of strategies over time that causes them to see life differently – a balanced portfolio of skills and emotions. What would you add to this list?

 

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