7 happiness practices

© Bruno Barbey/Magnum Photos-

© Bruno Barbey/Magnum Photos-

Spotted at Dumb Little Man: 6 Unconventional, But Scientific Ways To Be The Happiest Person On Earth. Many of these six practices are based on neuroscience and other scientific evidence…but then EVERYTHING is these days. We figure, what have we got to lose by trying them out? Visualizing throwing an anxiety or negative thought in a dumpster DOES help to mitigate its effect. And we know a few of the others practices to be tried and true, if a tad corny. Below is the gist of the six (which we annotated); go to the article to read the thinking behind them.

They may not make you the happiest person on earth, but quite possibly happIER.

-Stop buying possessions, start buying having experiences.
Material possessions tend to make us happy initially and then wane off considerably, but the happiness gained from experiences may last a lifetime. If you want to be happier in the long term, consider looking at some wonderful art, taking a trip,  or making dinner with friends  buying plane or concert tickets instead of a TV or new phone.

-Use your imagination
Exercising your imagination muscle will generate creative ideas, motivate you, and make you happier if you use it well. Happiness is a perspective, and using your imagination is an effective way to alter your perspective to your liking. 

-Give
Instinct tells us that receiving is preferable, but giving brings real happiness results. If you truly want to maximize your happiness, find ways to give to others. 

-Throw your negative thoughts into the trash (literally)
If you have pervasive negative thoughts, write them down on a piece of paper, and physically throw them away, or burn them! This strategy can be employed as a quick way to clear your head of negativity.

-Train your brain like a Buddhist monk
If you want to multiply your happiness results from giving, meditate on compassion and loving kindness (the underlying components of giving). It appears that Buddhist monks’ theory on opposite mental factors holds true: They spend so much time thinking of positive things, that negativity and angst are pushed out of their mind, and they become very happy . Another important lesson here is the power of repetition – the brain is wired to form habits, and there’s no reason a generally happy mindset can’t be habit.

-Focus
Learn to control your whims (and phone notifications) or they will control your life and steal your happiness. True happiness is not being a slave to a piece of technology – it’s deciding what’s most important in this moment and focusing all of your energy on it. Distraction is often a failure to make this decision.

Here’s a big one we’d add (and have found truly essential) : count your blessings i.e. all the great things/people/gifts/experiences you DO have.  

Photo by Bruno Barbi/Magnum 

Related posts: a jar of happiness (or other treasures)
creative process: doing this-or-that ‘in your head’
3 rules for editing your life
discover the ‘negative’ path to happiness
‘the top 5 regrets of the dying’ = a tool for living

2 Responses to 7 happiness practices

  1. sillygirl 08.01.2013 at 10:16am #

    Wouldn’t it be great to get these ideas into the brains of teenagers – important information to get their (and our) lives going in the right direction! Thanks for posting this!

  2. sahana martin 08.02.2013 at 6:58pm #

    ‘You asked for it, you got it’ : )

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2EPuGabgpc

    — oh wait, that’s this one :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhD-oKJI69o

    ( some advertising around all of these .. )

    Every other person has their own way to achieve a sense of happiness , even the definitions may vary – also depending on respective situations, e.g. state of health . So as you say, why not go try things out .

    Why not practise happiness itself ?

    happiness , peace of mind , serenity ,
    s

    ( movie scene from ‘Forget Paris ‘ )

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