Research shows that about 40% of our happiness is determined by our daily activities. Over the past few decades, there has been a scientific movement to identify the sources of a happy, meaningful life. LG Experience Happiness teamed up with Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkeley to identify six skills that can be taught, learned, and practiced to help people down their own path to sustainable happiness. What are those skills?
Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and surrounding environment in the present moment, without judging your thoughts or feelings as admirable, shameful, or anything in between. Practicing mindfulness helps us develop focus and emotional balance and builds resilience, i.e. our capacity to recover, and derive meaning, from difficult experiences.
Illustrated through almost 50 years of research, human connection – relationships with significant others, friendships, and social engagement with peers – is the most reliable, enduring predictor of happiness in life. Those with close bonds are happier, less lonely, and have higher self-esteem. Strong relationships are essential to happiness, as they are critical to well-being.
The simple act of appreciating and thanking others for the goodness they contribute to our lives helps foster happiness. When gratitude is expressed toward someone, it is often returned, creating a reciprocally benevolent loop. Gratitude involves being thankful and aware of our own privilege, and identifying the sources of goodness outside of ourselves.
Positivity is one’s ability to imagine a fruitful outcome and maintain a readiness to pursue and experience the positive opportunity in any circumstance. Individuals can foster a more positive outlook by being open, appreciative, curious, kind, optimistic and sincere. From these strategies spring, positive emotions.
Understanding our ability to make a difference in the world, at work, school, or for a team or community, leads to a fuller, finer sense of purpose and increases our sense of happiness. Having a sense of purpose involves a combination of living according to one’s values and goals, and striving to make a positive difference that transcends self-interest.
Helping and being kind to others, is intrinsically rewarding. The feeling after expressing kindness toward someone produces a rush of endorphins, that is similar to, but not dangerous like a drug high. As a result of this “warm glow”, happiness and cheerfulness are increased in those who participate in acts of kindness. Being kind creates a cycle that promotes widespread happiness and altruism.