A friend of mine in New Zealand sent me this list and I think some of them are really worth trying to hold onto and practice. They were read out on New Zealand's National Radio by a DJ called Jim Mora just before Christmas. If you click this link you may still be able to listen to the actual broadcast: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons/20081218 The list was compiled by someone called Jen Angel.
Apparently groups of people were studied to ascertain these pointers. Don't ask me to reference the actual studies because, well, I don't know. I guess the best way to know if they work is to test them for yourself. I am currently doing number 8 in a proactive way, and I try and do all the others as often as I can! :) I think they work most of the time.....
1) Savour every day moments – stop and smell that rose
Study participants who took time to slow down showed significant increases in happiness and reductions in depression
2) Avoid comparisons – instead of comparing ourselves with others, focusing on our own personal achievements leads to greater satisfaction
3) Put money low on the list – people who put money high on it, are more at risk of depression, anxiety and low self esteem. The finding hold true across nations and cultures. The more we seek satisfaction in material goodies the less we find it there. Money seekers score lower on tests of vitality.
4) Have meaningful goals – people who strive for something significant are far happier than those who don’t have strong dreams or aspirations. Humans need meaning.
5) Take initiative at work – when we express ourselves, help others,suggest improvements or do additional tasks on the job, our work feels more rewarding and we feel more in control.
6) Make friends, treasure family – happier people have good families friends and supportive relationships.
Quote “I set out to find friends and found none. I set out to be a friend and found many”
7) Smile even when you don’t feel like it – people acting positively see possibilities, opportunities, success. Even if you weren’t born to see the glass as half full, with practice a positive outlook can become a habit.
Abraham Lincoln said “you end up as happy as you decide to be”.
8) Say thank you like you mean it – people who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis, are healthier, more optimistic and more likely to make progress towards achieving goals. People who express appreciation to someone who made a difference in their lives score higher for happiness and lower for depression, and the effects last for weeks.
9) Get out and exercise – exercise may be just as effective as drugs as in treating depression, without all the side effects. Regular exercise offers a sense of accomplishment, opportunity for social interaction and endorphin release and a heightening of self esteem.
10) Give it away – make altruism and giving part of your life. Helping a neighbour, volunteering, donating goods and services results in a helpless high and you get more benefits than you do from exercise. Those who spent money on others, report much greater happiness than those who spent it on themselves.