Saturday, February 21, 2009

Reason #3: Old Age Reasons to Clap Your Hands

I read an interesting article on what leading experts say about the top 5 common traits of happy people...Ive highlighted the major points if you're happy and you know it...

1. They find their most golden self.

Researchers believe that eudaimonic well-being or in other words, striving toward excellence based on one's unique talents and potential is essential. Eudaimonic well-being is the effort to know and pursue personal growth, develop one’s potential, continually take on new challenges and fulfill one's sense of purpose of life.

Characteristics of the eudaimonic life:
- Being open to experience
- Living fully in the moment
- Taking a creative approach to living, rather than relying on routine and habit.

2. They design their lives to bring in joy.

People don't devote enough time to thinking seriously about how they spend their life and how much of it they actually enjoy (including myself!). In a recent study, 900 working women were asked to write down everything they'd done the day before. Afterward, they reviewed their diaries and evaluated how they felt at each point. When the women saw how much time they spent on activities they didn't like some people had tears in their eyes. They didnt realize their happiness was something they could design and have control over.Analyzing one's life isn’t necessarily easy and may require questioning long-held assumptions. You may have gone to school at a top university, gotten the job you dreamed about, and the job itself might turn out to be fulfilling. Dreams can be hard to abandon, even when they've turned sour.

Challenge: Transfer even an hour of your day from activity you hate (commuting, ironing) to one you like (yoga, lunch with friends), you should see a significant improvement in your overall happiness. Taking action is key.

3. They avoid "if only" fantasies

If only I get a better job.......If only I find a boyfriend/girlfriend......If only I lose the will be perfect.

Happy people don't buy into this kind of thinking. "If only" fantasies has to do with "hedonic adaptation" - the brain's natural dimming effect, which guarantees that a new house wont generate the same pleasure a year after its purchase. Happy people are wise to this, which is why their lives are full of novelty, even if it's just trying a new activity (yoga, biking) or putting a new spin on an old favorite (spinning instead of biking).

4. They put best friends first.

Social engagement is one of the most important contributors to happiness. But the nature of the relationship counts! Compared with dashing around chatting with acquaintances, you get more joy from spending longer periods of time with a close friend. Simple companionship and just "hanging out" is the most essential pleasures of close friendship.

5. They allow themselves to be happy.

Some people would say you should not strive for personal happiness until you've taken care of everyone in the world who is starving or doesn't have adequate medical care. The Dalai Lama believes you should pursue both simultaneously. For one thing, there is clear research showing the happy people tend to be more open to helping others, and they also make better spouses and parents.

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