1. Think about the past fondly. Happy people were shown to consistently remember the good things in their memories and to not dwell on the negatives. They also tend to focus on the present and not get stuck in the past or looking way beyond to the future. So pause to remember the past but live in the present moment. And don’t dwell on what has already been and can’t be changed!
2. “Catch” the emotions of others. Happy people were found to be much better at soaking up the emotions of others whether it was joy or sadness. They are often those people who have a contagious smile as a result and that you can’t help smiling back at. They also respond back to others’ smiling at them with a smile and internally feel joy when doing so. We all could smile more and benefit from the warm smiles of others! Try it and see if you get a smile back.
3. Live in a great community. Past research has repeatedly shown that social connections can decrease the impact of depression especially on older people. Happy people reported enjoying coming home to their community every day and reported a sense of “belongingness” in their community. Get out in your community and get to know your neighbors.
4. Manage their money well. Happy people were shown more often to budget their money and not impulse buy. They had financial goals in place such as saving for retirement, paying off student loans or saving for college. Managing your money now can create continued happiness in the future.
5. Spend their money on life experiences instead of material items. Instead of spending their money on expensive homes, fancy cars, and extensive wardrobes, happy people tended to spend money on vacations, hobbies or other experiences with family and friends. After all, you can’t take your riches with you when you die.
Although research suggests that we are born with a happiness set point determined by our genetics, there is also research citing that happiness can be developed and honed like a habit. So choose happiness by engaging in the above behaviors and see if it will change your outlook on life. It can’t hurt!