Enjoying Authentic Happiness

Are you authentically happy?

The definition of “Happiness” differs from one to another and so it’s important to define it for yourself.

The concept of “well-being” encompasses the mental, spiritual, chemical, and physical realms of life.

But promoting happiness is not as simple as reducing stress…

Getting married, or moving to a new home can be “happy” moments of our lives, but they still are inherently stressful periods of our lives.

Even something as beneficial as exercise is a stress to the body that can still lead to improved health and mood.

So even though I can design specific nutrition plans that support stress & mood, I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t highlight some other overlooked predictors of happiness:
  1. Happiness in Relationships: Divorce is one of the most stressful life events that one could go through. One of the strongest predictors of divorce is the ratio of positive interactions to negative interactions. A ratio of ~5 positive interactions to every 1 negative interaction is ideal. Researchers found that alterations above or below this key ratio led to higher divorce rates. Who knew that having occasional arguments in a relationship could actually be healthy?
  2. Find What Activities Put You in “Flow”. “Flow” is those moments when we are highly focused in on a task or puzzle that we lose the sense of time and place. Back in 2008, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote about Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience and I highly recommend the read. “Flow” defines the moments when you feel “in the zone” and experience a period of deep focus, creativity, and expression.
  3. Commute Time: One of the biggest predictors of happiness is how much time you spend traveling to work. If you spend long hours stuck in traffic, leaving for work 20-30 minutes earlier to beat traffic may actually be worth the boost in mood.
  4. Proximity to Other Happy People: Happy people tend to surround themselves with other happy people. Be careful of hanging out with friends who constantly have a pessimistic outlook on life.I’ve personally stopped following certain friends on social networks like Facebook and Twitter who have a tendency to complain. Our moods mirror the moods of those close to us, so be mindful of who you are surrounding yourself with on a daily basis!
  5.  Money and Happiness: The relationship between money and happiness is one of the most misunderstood factors of happiness and well-being. On a basic level, as income increases, happiness does increase to an extent, but with exceeding amounts of income, happiness begins to decline in an upside-down “U” shape. Here are some more insights regarding money, careers, and happiness. Happier people…
  • Are able to pay minimum expenses comfortably: Living month to month with finances is incredibly stressful. If you worry about paying the rent,    electric bill, food expenses, and insurance bills, then join the club of thousands of unhappy Americans. Take care of the basics first, then do what you enjoy! When in doubt, think of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
  • Are actually happier at work than when at home: Studies that had individuals track their mood throughout the day actually showed that people’s moods were generally higher while at work than at home. However, if you asked them they might complain about their boss or coworkers.
  • Realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side: Believe it or not, leaving your job to start your own business is not a guarantee of happiness. Likewise, leaving your own business to have the comfortable salary and benefits of a full-time job isn’t always the best choice either.

Ramit Sethi of IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com found in his research for one of his courses that people generally think that leaving their job or having a boost in income is what will make them happy. The Truth is that deep down, they actually wish they had the option of leaving their job which is a subtle, but critical realization to understand for yourself.

I feel that authentic happiness is about the freedom to pursue your wants and desires and that it’s important to always set small goals for yourself.

I find that the happiest people I find in my life tend to always have fun little goals that they are constantly working towards.

Whether it’s running your first 5K race, writing your first book, or training for a marathon. Humans that are engaged with a purpose that engages “flow” and “creativity” tend to be happier.

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