Top twenty happiness tips

For the past year in our 2011 Happiness Challenge, we’ve looked at what makes people happy. You can find all of the posts in the Happiness category on the left.

Here are 20 of the best happiness tips from this year:

  1. Beyond having your basic needs being taken care of, happiness does not originate from your circumstances. It’s a inside job.
  2. Happiness is under your control – not at the whim of external events. If you are not as happy as you want to be, you have to pull up your socks and start thinking and doing something different.
  3. After your basic needs are met, money does not make you happy. Except if you give it away.
  4. People feel happier when they are doing things that have a positive impact on other people. We all have a basic need to feel that we are making a difference in some way.
  5. It’s not what you don’t have that makes you unhappy. It’s not appreciating what you do have.
  6. There aren’t any magic get happy solutions. Start doing some of the simple stuff that’s good for you: smile, eat well, get some exercise, practice gratitude, hug your loved ones.
  7. Just like your weight has a genetic set-point, so does your personal happiness. Perhaps as much as 50%. That means that the other 50% is up to you.
  8. Complaining is never a path to happiness. Particularly when you consider what you are complaining about. Chances are someone else somewhere in your neighbourhood or around the globe would change places with you in an instant
  9. Quit imagining the worst. It’s just as easy to be a happy-chondriac as a negative Nelly.
  10. Try going through your day looking for the things that are working well in your life. Catch yourself in the glass half empty perspective and turn it around. Focus less on the little details and more on the big picture.
  11. If you believe that happiness is elusive, you won’t be on the lookout for it. If you believe happiness is available in every moment, then you’ll be watching for it.
  12. How much you smile influences how long you live, how happy your marriage is and how inspiring you are to others. Smile more.
  13. Happiness has a lot do with the window you are looking through.
  14. Believe that things will turn out okay. If you believe it, then it is more likely to happen. That’s because when we believe something, we choose the attitudes and behaviours that support our thinking.
  15. Take that 10 minutes to do something that helps lift your mood and re-energize you.
  16. Happiness is not some monumental event that occurs. Happiness is being fully present to what is right in front of your eyes.
  17. Unhappiness comes from wanting everyone to like us. Try impressing yourself. Set the bar high for your intentions and actions. Worry less about what others think.
  18. Tell the people you love that you love them. Go. Do it now.
  19. The time may come when the simple things you take for granted become out of your reach. Take the time to stop and appreciate them now.
  20. The best vitamin to be a happy person is B1.

One last thought on happiness from the wonderful Groucho Marx:

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.

Here’s to your happiness in 2012!


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