Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Five Ways to Become Happier

Whenever I am looking for inspiration, motivation, or want to expand my perspective to think bigger about a certain situation, there are a few sites I can count on to deliver. Whether I have only have five minutes or twenty, I can always find something enlightening at either BigThink or TED. These two sites share video presentations and talks (for free) by some of the world's most educated, accomplished and inspiring personalities. Scientists, authors, politicians, and researchers. Doctors, teachers, explorers and philanthropists. If you want a mental shift from your every-day thought routine, just poke around and see what catches your eye.

I had just gotten home after watching one of my son's baseball games and was thinking how enjoyable it was to just sit and watch. What a change of pace for me to just sit and observe, relax, be a proud mama, and just soak it all in during a cool June evening. It made me happy. So I got to thinking about happiness and wondered if BigThink had anything on happiness. Of course they did.

I found a presentation from Tal Ben-ShaHar (Psychology Lecturer at Harvard University) on Five Ways to Become Happier. I've written about My Own Happiness Project before and the five simple (proven) suggestions Tal Ben Shahar offers were profound and yet so simple.

Below are a few of my favorites (these are from his talk):

The number one predictor of well-being of happiness is time, quality time, we spend with our family, friends, people we care about and who care about us.
Physical exercise contributes a great deal to happiness; in fact, there is research showing that regular exercise, three times a week of 30 to 40 minutes, is equivalent to some of our most powerful psychiatric drugs in dealing with depression or sadness or anxiety.
...people who keep a gratitude journal, who each night before going to sleep write at least five things for which they are grateful, big things or little things, are happier, more optimistic, more successful, more likely to achieve their goals, physically healthier; it actually strengthens our immune system, and are more generous and benevolent toward others.

In a world where we have a hundred people and things pulling on our time and attention at any given moment, it is so easy to spend our days in a constant state of personal "project management". Fretting about the past, juggling the present, and mitigating risks in the future. How ironic that one path to happiness is to simplify, get some exercise, be grateful, and spend time with those we love.

I'm going to add my own suggestion to the list. Happiness is going to bed early :)


Mandy said...

Hi there Holly - I haven't visited in a while and lo behold, you've been a blogging fiend.

I smiled at this and thought my happiness would be not making a list before I go to sleep :)

怡孜 said...


a whole lotta love said...

Thank you for this! I knew about TED, but I don't often think to go to the site... and I didn't know about BigThink. I'm very similar to you in that I like to think about happiness and choose it consciously. I had just written a post on happiness the other day as well.

Thats awesome that you helped create BlogFrog too! I just joined fairly recently, but its a great idea.

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