Happiness is something we all strive for, but often have trouble attaining. New research reveals surprising insights into how our minds work against us when pursuing happiness, and simple techniques you can use to boost your mood. Read on to learn the secrets of being happier!
Our Minds Are Not Built for Happiness
It may seem counterintuitive, but we humans are not naturally optimized for happiness. As psychology professor Laurie Santos explains, evolution made us to survive and reproduce, not feel good. Rates of depression and unhappiness are staggeringly high, even in places like the U.S. We’re doing something wrong when it comes to achieving happiness.
Our Intuitions About Happiness Are Flawed
One big reason we fail at being happy is that our intuitions are wrong. We miswant things that seem like they should make us happy, but don’t. For example, getting a promotion, making more money, buying stuff, and even getting married often don’t boost happiness as much as expected. Our minds play tricks on us.
How to Rewire Yourself for Greater Happiness
Fortunately, researchers have identified techniques to counter our brains’ flaws and make lasting improvements in mood and life satisfaction. Santos calls these “rewirements” – ways to reshape your habits and thought patterns. Here are some of the most effective:
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”By Dalai Lama
Foster Social Connections
Human beings are social animals. Studies consistently show that people with more strong relationships are happier. Make time for loved ones instead of constant digital distraction.
Focusing on positives makes a huge difference. Try writing down 3-5 things you’re grateful for every evening. This reorients you toward blessings.
Do Good Deeds
Performing acts of kindness boosts happiness more than treating yourself. Volunteer, donate to charity, compliment others.
Moving your body releases mood-boosting chemicals. Just 20 minutes of activity per day can dramatically improve well-being.
Savor Good Experiences
We often rush through life without appreciating positives. Consciously pay attention to and fully enjoy pleasant moments.
Lasting Happiness Takes Practice
Simply learning about these techniques won’t cut it. You have to actively apply them to your life. With consistent practice, rewirements create permanent positive changes in your default happiness level. It takes some work, but serenity and life satisfaction are within your reach!
Our minds didn’t evolve to make us happy, but that doesn’t mean lasting contentment is impossible. By understanding how our brains mislead us and using simple science-based rewirement strategies, we can counteract negativity biases and become truly happier. With a bit of diligent daily effort, you’ll be amazed at the transformation in your mood and outlook. Now get out there and start rewiring for joy!