In a survey done by the United Nations last year, Singapore came out tops as the happiest country in the Asia-Pacific region and the 22nd happiest country globally. According to psychologist Fred Bryant, our happiness is not influenced when positive things happen to us but rather it boils down to our response to these experiences, namely the way we reflect on these that determines our happiness level.
To bring out the best in life, we must realign how we view our life events. Revaluating the way you live, celebrate and perceive life could be key to a happier and more fulfilling existence.
Here are some simple ways to get started:
Being physically present amongst family and friends may seem sufficient but it isn’t really enough. Actively sharing and communicating makes a world of difference. “People who share their positive feelings with others have higher levels of overall happiness than those who don’t,” noted Bryant. This is because sharing an experience through reminiscence encourages us to relive the good times, increases the feel-good hormones and creates good memories.
Take a mental snapshot
Taking a moment during an event to really focus on what is happening around you and remembering the details is paramount to the art of savoring. Spending the time to do this helps you create more vivid memories and happy reminiscences.
Being happy for oneself may be better than you think. Bryant notes ‘This style of savoring involves mentally patting yourself on the back and exalting in the pride associated with a positive outcome. Research studies previously conducted in the US and Canada found that people whom often do this are generally more confident, agreeable and conscientious. In addition, they attribute their success to efforts and not luck. By wishing yourself joy for personal achievements can render these experiences more rewarding.
Indulge your senses
More often than not, a smell, taste, sight or sound may evoke joyful memories. However, we often miss out on this experience simply because we do not pay attention. By making the effort to focus and truly enjoy the experience, you will be as they say ‘in the moment.’
Laugh out loud
Putting on a happy face may be more beneficial than you think as it helps with the feelings of positivity. As shared by Bryant, expressing positive feelings can intensify them by presenting your mind with physical evidence that you are, in fact joyful.
Don’t be a killjoy
When you are happy, make a conscious effort to avoid negative thoughts. Research shows that when we qualify a positive experience with doubts or even a simple ‘buts’ or ‘shoulds’ you are actively reducing the amount of time you will feel joy. Hence, whatever moment you are enjoying, be present and think happy thoughts.
Variety is the spice of life
As B.J. Neblett so eloquently put it, ‘we are the sum total of our experiences’, an adage which could well apply to life. Whilst the thought of repeating your favorite experiences sounds appealing, research has shown that reliving the same pleasure too soon might not be helpful beacause the mind is wired to respond most effectively to new events. To optimize this, try out a variety of experiences and spread them out over a longer period of time. Time to stop and smell the roses.