The Huffington post had a fascinating article recently called 7 Habits of Unhappy People. In it the author quotes Psychology Today research that states “40 percent of our capacity for happiness is within our power to change.”
Looking at those negative habits, I’ve been thinking about the habits that lead to happiness, or rather, I’d say joy, because I see joy as independent of circumstances. Anyway, potato, potahto…
Here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Take responsibility and get on the solution side of problems rather than wallowing in “victimness”. Although I cannot control my circumstances, I can always control my response!
In “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, Steven Covey describes the ability to choose our response as his first habit, “Be Proactive”.
Covey writes about two concentric circles, the inner for influence and the outer for concern. Proactive people focus on the things they can control (the circle of influence) and their influence grows. Victims focus on what they can’t control (things outside the circle of influence but in the circle of concern) and their circle of influence shrinks.
2. Practice gratitude. Write down what you’re thankful for. Focus on what is “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, praiseworthy…”
Ann Voskamp notes these benefits that have been documented for those who keep a gratitude list:
- Have a relative absence of stress and depression. (Woods et al., 2008)
- Make progress towards important personal goals (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)
- Report higher levels of determination and energy (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)
- Feel closer in their relationships and desire to build stronger relationships (Algoe and Haidt, 2009)
- Increase your happiness by 25% — (Who wouldn’t want a quarter more happiness!) (McCullough et al., 2002)
3. Live out of abundance rather than scarcity.
“The opposite of a scarcity mentality is an abundance mentality. With an abundance mentality we say: “There is enough for everyone, more than enough: food, knowledge, love … everything.” With this mind-set we give away whatever we have, to whomever we meet. When we see hungry people we give them food. When we meet ignorant people we share our knowledge; when we encounter people in need of love, we offer them friendship and affection and hospitality and introduce them to our family and friends. When we live with this mind-set, we will see the miracle that what we give away multiplies: food, knowledge, love…everything. There will even be many leftovers.” Henri Nouwen
Do you agree that these habits can make a difference in your happiness quotient? Which is the most important for you to focus on?
Not exactly the warmth and color that I enjoyed last week! I’m saying to myself, “Focus, sister!”
I AM thankful for lakes, and trees, and seasons that change, and the opportunity to cross-country ski where I live. Oh, and the mosquitos are frozen for a few months.