In 1998, psychologists from Harvard had realized that everyone they were studying on was either super depressed or just sad. This gave them the idea “why not study happy people? People who are full of peace and joy, and find out what makes them the way they are”. So that’s exactly what they did; and found out that there is no link between those who are full of peace and joy, and their circumstances. That means the people they studied that were super happy, weren’t all successful in life. Some of them were wrestling with some really big things in their life but they were still full of joy. How?
This was the study that started the field of positive psychology.
It’s been ongoing for 20 years. Recently, scientists found out that our brains aren’t locked in to a way of thinking, you can actually change the way your brain is wired by practice.
This is called Neuroplasticity.
Here are the 5 things psychologists found regularly in those who were full of peace and joy.
I personally have experienced a happier life after I started to pray. I remember when my ex-girlfriend broke up with me, I thought it was the end of the world like any other teenager would. After that I decided to take a moment every night just to thank my god because I felt like maybe I wasn’t being grateful, so I started praying! I have an older sister who also does yoga and meditation and she too has experienced a happier life after.
If you’re interested in meditating, here’s a few tips on how to start:
- It’s more effective if you meditate for 10 minutes a day than 70 minutes a week.
- Start off small then do more as you get more comfortable
- Use soft and soothing tones. *For alarm purposes*
- Meditate in a quiet place.
- Make sure not to lose your attention during your out-breath.
- Perseverance is key for progress. Losing concentration is common for starters so don’t let it discourage you!
Practicing Kindness to Others
Practicing kindness to others gives us a sense of accomplishment. It’s not just saying please and thank you, holding the door for someone, or being respectful to your family and those around you, it’s much more. I believe these are just things we should be doing as people.
Being kind is listening to those same people’s problems and helping them get through it, giving a homeless person money or food or something they need (clothing, healthcare, etc), or even thinking about those around you and making sure they’re okay!
You can’t just do these things once and expect to be happy. You have to practice them. Make them apart of your lifestyle. Don’t just think of it as something that brings only you happiness! Do it because it makes the person you’re being kind to happy too, and then they might make someone else happy, and so on. Seeing someone happy especially after you’ve helped them will be the best feeling in your life.
Be thankful for the people around you even if they make you upset. Be thankful for your phone even if it’s not the latest phone released. Be grateful for what you already have. Everything if you can! Even if it’s just being alive, that’s most important! Appreciating your existence and not because of what you own or who you are, simply because you’re able to walk, talk, breathe, eat, sleep, drink, etc. Whatever it may be!
Giving Money Away
This one might be a little hard to believe but it’s true. Giving away money does really make us happy! It doesn’t mean giving all of it away, just use some to help someone financially or even to get someone a gift “just cause”. It doesn’t have to be someone at random and there doesn’t have to be a reason why, it could be helping your parents with rent/bills, buying your girlfriend/boyfriend a gift, buying your teacher breakfast, giving your friend money for gas or just donating some money in general. This one stood out to me the most because I’ve done this with my family and some friends and have reaped the benefits with no regrets!
Having healthy relationships is a vital key to maintaining happiness. There’s many times when everything is going good then someone at work, school, or maybe even at home has a way of changing it all by being negative! If you have healthy relationships it’s easier to avoid negative situations and arguments that may upset you! Unfortunately with circular relationships we can’t cut off negative/toxic people but we can avoid them. In romantic and personal relationships, having a toxic relationship will be the only thing stopping you from maintaining your happiness! Make sure the people you CAN choose to have around you are positive and loving. If you surround yourself with negativity, you will become negative too.
“To win the battle for peace of mind, we must think about what we think about.”