Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Step 1: Don't Follow the Dollar---

7 Steps to Finding Happiness

Great tips from


Steps on the True Path to Happiness

Be with the ones you love So there I was at Andrei and Nadia's wedding, visiting with relatives I hadn't seen in years. Such a rare pleasure, because they live thousands of miles away. But research shows time with loved ones is a primary source of fulfillment.

Care about your work Finding your work meaningful and having a sense of commitment to it not only makes you less prone to feeling stress on the job, but also promotes success--and happiness. That's true whether you're searching for a cure for cancer or building cars on an assembly line--you can look at it as just a paycheck, or as your life's work. Cultivating a sense of purpose can increase your satisfaction with your job and your life.

Maintain your health It's easy to take health for granted until you don't have it anymore. But it turns out that the healthier you are, the more likely you are to be happy. The obvious moral is that you'll be happier if you eat right, exercise, get preventive care, and reduce your stress level.

Have regular sex Physical intimacy is a key contributor to happiness, found a study by Dartmouth economist David Blanchflower, PhD, and Andrew Oswald, PhD, of England's University of Warwick. Married people report 30% more sex than singles, which may be one reason they also report being happier.

Ask about other people's experience Will that vacation in Huatulco, that used Audi, or that cute guy who you just found out is thrice divorced make you happy? Sometimes the answer is right under your nose, but you're just too proud (or convinced of your own uniqueness) to ask. Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, PhD, and his research partner Timothy Wilson, PhD, at the University of Virginia, call our imaginative jaunts into future feelings "affective forecasting." They've discovered that asking people who have been there and done that a question like, "What was it like being married to Max?" or "How is it working in an ER?" leads to more accurate forecasting.

Practice altruism
Helping other people is one of the most effective ways to boost your self-esteem, research shows. That, in turn, uncorks a whole bottle of brain hormones and can lead to happiness, health, and well-being. His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks of altruism as enlightened selfishness, because it ultimately serves your own happiness.

Become part of a community Whether you're deeply involved with a religious group, a civic organization, or an athletic team, a feeling of strong community is one of the most important paths to happiness. One of the perks of living in my small town is that simply taking a walk is a community experience. I know my neighbors care about me, and they know that I care about them.

At the end of the day, joy comes from experiencing ourselves as part of a larger, meaningful whole. Accumulating material things won't get you there. Living the life of the heart is the authentic way to pursue happiness.
Tips to up your happiness quotient
Volunteer your time and energy. The upcoming holiday season means that there's an increased need for people to serve meals, raise funds, and visit the sick or needy.

Think of three people you love and haven't connected with lately. Get in touch and, if at all possible, make plans to see them.

Feeling lonely? Find a group to join, whether it's a book club, a religious organization, or a community chorus.

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