Everyone strives to be happy. Not everyone is happy. Perhaps you, Respected Reader, are not as happy as you could be. There may be certain unchangeable situations in your life that inhibit a greater degree of happiness. However, there also may be some things that you are not doing that could increase your happiness quotient. I’m going to offer up a few suggestions, based on an interesting article by Dr. Travis Bradberry. I will add a few bonus tidbits to embellish his cogent thoughts.

“Happiness is synthetic You either create it or you don’t. Happiness is earned by habits,” according to Dr. Bradberry. Here are the habits to be cultivated according to him.

1. GROW YOUR MINDSET: Believe that you can improve with effort. Some people have a fixed mindset, i.e. “I am what I am, can’t be changed.” They stay in their comfort zone, safe but stultifying. A growth-oriented mindset means you know you can change and improve by taking on selected challenges.

2. MAKE AN EFFORT TO BE HAPPY: This involves an active choice to put on your personal agenda to be happy. This involves an objective evaluation of your life and making certain decisions to alter some of the factors in your life related to happiness. You may need some professional help on this to get objectivity and direction. 

3. HELP OTHERS: When you give to others you get much more back. “For it is in giving that we receive.” (Francis of Assisi)

4. DEEP CONVERSATIONS: Trivial, innocuous chatter dulls your mind and keeps you immersed in mediocrity. Go deeper into yourself and find those who are willing to do the same. Such stimulation feeds the deeper areas of your brain, eliciting a sense of happiness.

5. ENOUGH SLEEP: A must. Most people are sleep deprived to some degree. Not enough sleep dulls your capacity to be happy, often eliciting anxiety.

6. STAY POSITIVE: You can train your brain to be positive through awareness and cognitive and behavioral choices. Focus on the good and positive and only visit the negative when existentially you need to address it when it is in your path toward happiness.

7. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE: The people that are in your physical and emotional space greatly affect how you feel. Be with positive optimistic people and you will rise to a higher level of feeling happy.

8. SPEND MONEY ON OTHER PEOPLE: Life in not about having it all for yourself. Make a donation, buy someone you care about something that will put a smile on his or her face!

9. EXERCISE: Exercise kicks in the feel good chemicals in your brain (after you are finished!). Do it regularly — and keep pushing yourself to the next level where possible.

10. SLOW DOWN TO APPRECIATE LIFE’S LITTLE PLEASURES: Sometimes you are just too busy doing stuff, being busy, that you do not step back and savor some sweet moments/situations/people in your life. Usually the “good stuff” is the most basic and simple.

Well, Respected Reader, what do you think? Do these suggestions make sense to you? On a scale of 1 to 10 rate each one as to how much you are currently living and practicing each of these habits. Happiness is much about choice and action. Go for it — and be happy!

Dr. Stathas can be reached at 706-473-1780. Email: jstathas13@gmail.com. Website: drstathas.googlepages.com. Blog: drstathas.com.

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