Oct 14, 2012


For one of my classes we had to read The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyumbomirsky. I have always been a little leery of self-help books because they come across as hoaky to me!, but this was really good.

Basically, it gives strategies to intentionally improve your happiness, backed by evidence from scientific experiments. Pretty cool. 

(Especially cool cuz it scientifically backs principles I've been taught since I was a wee tot.)

Something I really liked was the individualistic-approach of the book. You pick the strategies you think will work the best for you, and adapt them so they are most effective. 

I feel like a pretty happy person. So it got me thinking what I have integrated into my life to make me happy. Some thoughts...

1) Discovering new ideas! Especially ideas about people, why they do what they do, how they think what they think. 
Books, classes, observations, movies, conversations, etc. 
Whatever gets my brain whirling :)
New ideas energize me, I love learning.

Books are probably one of my favorite ways to learn. In fact, in conversations my mind often reflects back on passages from books, weighing what I think and what I am hearing against what I read. 

My favorite books are ones that have a great story aaand get me thinking. (Les Mis is on top of my list. I'm also reading a really good one right now, also for a class, called The Anatomy of Peace.) 

Along with discovering new ideas, I guess, comes a happiness from sharing them. 
I love pouring thoughts into a journal, engaging in stimulating talks, and...I guess this blog is another way of doing that :)

2) Being with people I love. 
Having adventures, chilling, talking, just being with them. 

In The How of Happiness, they studied two groups of people who seemed to live longer than anybody else. Two things they had in common were the beliefs that

-family comes first 
-social engagement is important.

I give that study an "amen."

3) Just savoring. Relishing experiences. Fall is a perfect time for this. (Then again, I seem to think that with every season.)

Autumn (my friend we're talking about now, not the season) would always laugh at how astounded I would get at pretty trees or landscapes. Only like 9 months til she gets home! (Only?)

I admit, I'm a busy person. I don't savor enough. But every time I do, it is like a breath of fresh air to my soul.

4) Creating things. Not that I'm great at any of these, but I feel happy when I try a new recipe, write a poem, finish a paper I'm proud of, put together a gift, etc. 

With this one, I think I'm really saying that I love the feeling of when I'm completely engaged in something. Now and then I'm a lazy bum ha, but usually I LOVE the feeling of working hard and knowing I handled something I wasn't sure I could. Owning what I do.

Because of this, a crazy day at work or a good workout makes me happy.

5) This is super cliche, but serving people makes me so happy! Whenever I'm having a down day, that is what I usually need to do to kick myself out of it. 

(I took a test yesterday, and somebody at the testing center gave me a  needed pencil. So simple, but really....I was completely impressed by that little act.)

Funny how often this one (serving people) just blends itself right into number 2. Like when I visit my old people where I used to work. I just love being with them :) In fact, I think I'll go see them today!

Which reminds me of a project I'm working on with some others at school.... One Thought. Stay tuned.

6) Laughing. Oh life is funny :) People are clever ha. 

One of the experiments this book talked about was so interesting! They had people read comics (or something funny like that) while they held a marker in their mouth. One group held the marker between their teeth (similar facial expression to smiling) and the other held the marker between their lips (a similar expression to frowning). 

The group that was halfway smiling when they saw something funny actually found the material funnier than the other group! 

So smile :) Life is more fun that way :)

7) Lots of other things. Life is a hard thing, but life is a happy thing if you want it to be!


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