May 10, 2010

369 words 2 mins read

How to Be Happier

Happiness is a choice; anger is a tactic.

Anger will have to wait for a future post. This one is about happiness. So let me ask: would you do something that took less than a minute if that something would make you happier?

Martin Seligman at University of Pennsylvania’s school of Positive Psychology has broken down happiness in more scientifically measurable components:

* Positive Emotion** Engagement** Purpose   

Other research has shown how to increase your happiness score. Before we discuss that, though, let’s dispel some notions.

When we talk about increasing your happiness, we don’t mean eliminating the bad or troubled things in your life. What we mean is increasing the happiness. You can be despite your troubles—look at Job and Mother Teresa.

Nor do we mean that you will rate yourself as “Hap- Hap- Happy!” if someone asks, “How you doin’?”

Before you wander away, though, consider this: if you do this thing for 30 seconds to a minute every day, early in the morning, at each point during the day, after each interaction, you will be happier than you’d have been if you hadn’t done this simple thing.

Even better, if you do this for 21 days in a row, the effects will last for six months.

Now, are you ready to be happier? Then here’s how.

Every morning, write down five things your thankful for.

That’s it. If you want to get a reminder, register here and they’ll send you an email if you go twenty-four hours without recording things you’re thankful for.

This works by instructing your subconscious mind to notice and note things that are positive. These could be very little things, like a little boy trying to close the tailgate of a very large SUV.

As you catalog more and more positive things in your life, you’ll arm yourself with more and more solutions. But if you only recognize problems, then you’re armed with more and more problems.

Try this for twenty-one days. If you’re not satisfied, post comment. If you are satisfied post a comment.

BONUS: If you really want to make a difference, consider sharing the things you’re grateful for. Tweet them or post them on facebook. makes this easy.