**Cultivating a Positive Mindset: Finding Happiness in the Little Moments**
According to researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky’s definition of happiness, it is the experience of joy, contentedness, or positive well-being combined with the fact that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile. Talia Soen, CEO and Founder of Happy Things, believes that happiness can be found in the little moments of life. To actively cultivate happiness, Soen suggests starting a gratitude journal and practicing meditation. Shifting your mindset towards positivity can also increase happiness. Soen finds that she is able to reach meditative states while running or practicing yoga.
**Reducing Stress: Nature and Time Affluence**
Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress, but if access to the outdoors is limited, listening to nature sounds can mimic the benefits of being in nature. Dr. Laurie Santos, a psychology professor at Yale University, explains that having free time is linked to happiness. Time affluence, or having ample free time, is associated with increased well-being. On the other hand, time famine, or feeling starved for time, can have a negative impact on well-being. A study published by the American Psychological Association found that having two to five hours of daily free time was ideal for optimal happiness.
Financial stress is also a common source of unhappiness. However, research shows that money has less of an effect on happiness than previously believed. A study conducted in 2010 revealed that happiness plateaus after reaching an annual income of $75,000.
**Exercising: Moving Your Body for Happiness**
Exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on happiness. Even just half an hour of cardio exercise a day can have similar effects to taking antidepressant medication. Exercise is believed to improve brain function, which can contribute to increased happiness. Short bursts of exercise can achieve this effect as well. Combining exercise with time spent outdoors can enhance happiness, as listening to nature sounds and breathing fresh air has been found to support well-being.
**Socializing: Building Strong Social Ties**
Having strong social ties is essential for happiness. Loneliness has been compared to a health risk similar to smoking, and the Surgeon General has issued warnings about the serious health risks associated with isolation. The World Happiness Report defines social support as having someone to rely on or reach out to in times of need. Happy people tend to be more social and spend more time with friends and family members. Building social connections and having a support system is crucial for happiness. Talia Soen’s app suggests activities such as going to lunch with a coworker or texting an old friend to cultivate happiness.
In conclusion, regardless of where you live, there are steps you can take to improve your happiness. By cultivating a positive mindset, reducing stress, exercising regularly, and socializing, you can increase your overall well-being and live a happier life.