Three Steps to Greater Happiness

Scientific research shows that we have control over up to 40% of our happiness.  The remaining 60% comes from genetics and environment.  But 40% is a huge amount.  Here are 3 things you can do to become happier and more resilient:

1. Move your body.  You’ve heard it before and you are going to keep hearing it because there is so much research now showing the tremendous impact that physical movement has on emotional well-being.  Walking regularly at a brisk pace pays both physical and emotional dividends. Check out Dr. John Ratey’s blog (he wrote the terrific book, Spark) to learn more about the impact of exercise on the brain.

2. Practice gratitude.  This is also becoming a popular topic.  The key here is not to just say the words but to experience the feeling of gratitude.  This is simple to do.  Just close your eyes and envision what you are grateful for – a lovely day, a delicious meal, a caring friend.  Feeling your gratitude is far more powerful than thinking the words.  Robert Emmons, Ph.D. wrote several wonderful books on the topic of gratitude.  My favorite is, thanks!.

3. Social interactions. There is little doubt that positive social interactions contribute to longevity and happiness.  Nicholas Christakis, MD. Ph.D. and James Fowler, Ph.D. wrote the eye-opening book, Connected, in which they show how people who build and maintain relationships with friends, family members, colleagues, and club members are happier, healthier, and they live longer on average than those that do not.

How can you start to add these activities into your life?

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