The goal of Happiness Happens Month is to raise awareness by encouraging people to examine their personal lives, encourage them to figure out which things make them truly happy, share it with others, and try to bring joy into the world.
Positive emotions and life satisfaction are important because they contribute to:
- better physical health and immune function (less visits to the doctor, faster healing)
- longer life
- greater creativity
- increased success at work (better decision-making and performance, increased earnings)
- higher quality relationships (more friends, stronger partnerships, etc.)
- increased prosocial behavior (more volunteering, connection to community, etc.)
- greater ability to cope with challenges.
When we spend more of our time feeling good, feeling happier, and raising our energy — we naturally attract more of what we want. Scientific studies have found that happiness can make a heart healthier, a immune system stronger, and a person’s life longer. Since happiness and good health go hand-in-hand, throughout the rest of the month:
(1) Take time to celebrate things that make you happy,
(2) Take a moment to embrace that happiness can be found in even the little things that you might not notice,
(3) Find a way to spread same joy amongst others, and
(4) Strive to help make the world a better place for yourself and others.
(4) use intentional activities to begin focusing on the three components of happiness:
- Momentary mood – how you feel right now
- Life satisfaction – your overall evaluation of life
- Assessment of specific life domains – work, relationships, finances, health, etc.
Positive Psychology research indicates that your capacity for happiness is set by:
- Genetics (biology and heredity) – 50%
- Circumstances (sex, ethnicity, income, education, geography, etc.) – 10%
- Intentional activity (behavioral choices, thinking patterns, etc.) – 40%
Try intentional activities that could help you exert the most control to increase your own happiness. Consider these skills and strategies to increase happiness and life satisfaction:
- Focus upon problem-solving, not just venting
- Take time to build quality relationships with supportive people
- Count your blessings and practice gratitude
- Take time to engage in random acts of kindness
- Respond actively and constructively, celebrating when others share good news with you
- Attend to others mindfully, and practice compassion and empathy
- Be kind to yourself, rather than overly self-critical or perfectionistic
- Savor experiences because this will intensify and prolong your enjoyment of them
- Set meaningful goals for yourself that provide structure and purpose, give a sense of identity and increase self-esteem
- Build intrinsic motivation, rather than just relying upon doing things to please others
- Seek healthy challenges, stretching your abilities just a bit beyond your comfort zone to realize your potential
- Appreciate what you already have rather than focusing only upon what you still desire
- Avoid the temptation to complain and reinforce negativity; instead, cultivate optimism and practice positively reframing your circumstances.
One last note, know that happy people experience hardship like everyone else, but their response to it is to bounce back, and to be resilient. So, do not prioritize your productivity and success over your happiness, or focus on the setbacks that you have encountered along the way. Continue trying to find ways to boost your happiness through activities that offer you positive emotions. Think about how much happier you could be. Begin your Path To Wellness.
And remember, if you are struggling to find your happiness, you can reach out and discuss what concerns you with a mental health professional at the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line (855-662-7474), or on the Peer-to-Peer Warmline (855-466-7100).