Is it even possible to be happier? Or is this nothing more than a childish dream – like wishing you were taller?
When I was just seven years old and well-meaning adults would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, I used to answer with complete confidence, “I want to be happy. ” Then they’d smirk and wish me all the very best with that.
Well I had no idea how much I was going to need it.
To make a long story short, it seemed no matter what I tried, be it career achievement, luxurious pleasures, spiritual enlightenment or plain old fashioned love, the happiness never seemed to last. There was always just one more thing to do … and then I’d be happy.
By the time I was 34 I was ready to give the whole idea of improving my happiness away as nothing more than a childish dream, until I stumbled on a growing body of research that changed my thinking entirely.
Want to know what I learnt?
What scientists discovered about being happier
Professor Dianne Vella-Brodrick from Melbourne University recently published a summary of what scientists have uncovered about improving our happiness. And her verdict was … trying to improve our level of happiness is a worthy pursuit with significant benefits found for people’s health, relationships and work, in which we experience higher levels of positive affect.
It seems just like each of us are born with a built in body weight range – the same is true of happiness. And while different events in our lives may make us happier or unhappier – it seems over time most of us return to the base line with which we started.
You’ve probably found this yourself when you finally landed a job or promotion and for the first few weeks, maybe even months, you’re happier than you’ve ever been. Only to find as time passes, that the shine quickly wears off and when it comes to your happiness you’re back to where you started.
The good news is just like exercising and eating well can help you maintain your optimal weight, it seems the same is true of happiness. By choosing to focus your effort and energy on tested, practical wellbeing activities it’s possible to live towards the top of your happiness range more often than not.
In this episode of Chelle McQuaid TV, I’ll share with you just how you can go about making this happen.
How can you start being happier?
The first step to being happier is to find out how your wellbeing is faring. You can take a free wellbeing survey to see how you’re doing and discover some of the practical, tested ways you can improve your wellbeing and spend more time towards the top of your happiness set-point range.
Make sure the wellbeing activities you choose are a good fit for you. For your motivations, for your values and for your resources – particularly your time. This will ensure you’re more likely to stick with the activities and ultimately improve your happiness.
Remember to start with small changes you can build on to make a big difference. Be sure to measure your progress and ask your family and friends for some support and encouragement to celebrate along the way. This will make the journey much more rewarding.