Sonja Lyubomirsky’s research and studies have determined that 40 % of our level of happiness is under our control. It is where we can invest to sustainably increase our well-being (previous blog article). Sonja Lyubomirsky has also tested and identified twelve intentional activities, scientifically tested, helping us boosting our level of happiness…come to discover the summary of these twelve activities.
Here is the summary of the twelve intentional activities helping us boosting our happiness. You do not need to apply them all. You might choose one or two that suit you best; and make sure you practice them regularly.
Express your gratitude
Numerous studies have established that the best strategy to increase your happiness is to feel and regularly express your gratitude. For example, very evening, you might list three positive things that happened to you during the day; or write a gratitude letter to a loved-one; or regularly express gratitude to people around you.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Whatever your tendency is, you can always become an optimist. Optimism can be learned. To cultivate it, you might for example imagine your “best future self” in five or ten years. You might write a journal of your goals and indicate your progress. Even better, you might pay attention to your explanatory style: Are you defeatist? When things are going wrong, do you often say the words ‘never’ or ‘always’? By changing your words, you might change your reality.
Avoid overthinking & comparing
Our ruminations and our need to compare ourselves to others overshadow our happiness. To push your internal voices away you might: identify them and refuse to go in the vicious circle by distracting your attention on something else; you might ask yourself if those thoughts serve or deserve you and choose the one that are really useful; you might also evaluate your priorities and give voice to things that are worth your mental energy.
Practicing acts of kindness makes us happy. In addition, an act of kindness multiplies: the one who receives it will most probably perpetuate another act of kindness. What a beautiful positive spiral! To practice acts of kindness you might for example: spontaneously help somebody in need; buy a coffee for the stranger after you in the coffee shop line; offer your smile or listen with empathy.
Nuture social relationships
The main indicator of happiness is the quality of our relationships. To cultivate your relationships, you might for example: plan a phone call per day to a friend, organize evenings with loved ones; spontaneously offer your help to people around you; or simply express your affection to the people you love.
To bounce back from adversity by developing your resilience allows you to move on during a storm. To help you, you might write down your feelings or share them with a caring person; learn to work with your negative emotions and increase your ratio of positive emotions; identify your little internal voices to better deal with your worries.
Learn to forgive
Forgiving does not mean forgetting. Forgiving is a gift we do to oneself. To make peace with the past allows us to get better, to heal. To train yourself, you might: think about somebody that has forgiven you and feel how good it was; write a forgiveness letter to a person that has hurt you to let go of anger; think more globally about the person that has hurt you, not letting this event define her entirely.
Engage in flow experiences
Flow is when we are fully absorbed in an activity; there is perfect balance between the level of difficulty and your competences. To engage in experiences of flow you might: identify the moments when you feel in flow and multiply them; open up to new experiences; transform routine into exciting activities.
Savoring means appreciating what we have, here and now; remembering the good moments of the past; anticipating the great events to come. To savor you might: discover again the ordinary pleasures; fully appreciate the present moment; celebrate good news; create an album of your memories.
Pursue your goals
Many are those without clear life goals, though it is essential to flourish. To move towards your goals, you might: take time to clarify them; write down quality goals; make sure that each day you allocate time to move towards them.
Whatever the form of spirituality, it has been demonstrated that people who believe in something higher than themselves are generally happier. You can pray, find meaning in your life or look for the sacred in the ordinary.
Take care of your mind and body
To exercise or simply walk is good for your body and your brain. It reduces your stress level, fights depression, improves your sleep, helps you think better and be more productive.
Meditation is another very efficient tool. It gives your brain a chance to pause, it helps better regulate your mood, reduces stress, focus more. Taking care of oneself is a key element for our well-being.
Now, up to you to choose an activity that suits you best and to integrate it into your daily life!