Psychology Of Happiness
Sep 01, 2021
What is happiness?
Leading behavioural psychologists tell us that it’s often a combination of factors. Firstly, an overall sense of wellbeing. Someone who feels in control of their health, is active, and conscious of what they need to do to stay healthy. Secondly, someone who not only experiences positive situations, but someone who recognises the positives and welcomes those feelings too; for example after an appraisal at work, not only focussing on the stuff to improve, but also recalling and telling others about the positives too. Lastly those who have plans, goals, a direction they are heading in, whether that be work or personal.
Now of course you can be inactive, not very healthy or have any true direction and still be happy, but would having them make you even happier?
That said, what can we all do to improve our happiness and have more chances of experiencing the emotion more regularly?
‘You don't find happiness, you create it.’
This is a really interesting quote. It tells us that if we wait for the next pay rise, the next new car or the next relationship, happiness might not come. In fact, to obtain happiness we need to go and create it. Finding it doesn't just take positive thinking, although it does help, in fact it takes positive actions - it’s far easier to control our behaviour than our thoughts.
So let's create some happy behaviours...
- Smile. This one is all about faking it till you make it. Even if you are having a bad day and the last thing you want to do is smile, by simply smiling, even if you’re forcing it, you can make yourself happier. When smiling, our brains automatically release certain hormones, including dopamine and serotonin - responsible for happiness.
- Declutter. It’s something related to a lot of our wellbeing factors. The less clutter in your life, from work to personal, the less chance of stressful thoughts, last minute decisions and ultimately more chance of happy time.
- Connect. Connection is key. We know from working with lots of organisations and individuals, that social anxiety is high at the moment, our instinct is to stay isolated, reduce connections and stay online - but trust us, those who jump in, step outside their comfort zone, and start connecting again, in the office, on weekends etc, will experience more feelings of happiness
- Give back. There is so much research that suggests the foundation of happiness, of a fulfilled life, is when you have a givers mentality - when you give back to people before expecting to get something first. It can be as simple as complimenting someone, donating to charity, helping someone with work, with childcare, with a food shop. It’s suggested that the happiest people throughout the pandemic were actually those on the frontline - delivery drivers, volunteers etc.
- Self care. Looking after yourself is not a selfish act, if you start with ‘self-care’ you are more likely to be positive and well, and can then better look after others. From exercising, eating well and meditating, to getting regular haircuts, a massage or an afternoon of pampering, it’s so important to look after yourself.