Who doesn’t want to be happy, right? Scientists study it, we read books about it, or if we’re really keen, we enrol in courses to learn how to achieve it (Harvard
both have popular offerings, FYI). Admittedly, research suggests that a large part of our happiness is influenced by factors outside our control, like our genes and life circumstances. However, for the portion we can control, there are many steps we can take to cultivate it.
For starters, we can look at the habits and behaviours that happy people have in common. Here are five attributes we consistently see in our coaching clients:
- They know their value and values – Happy people understand who they are, what they stand for and are content in their own skin. They live their lives in alignment with what matters most to them.
- They’re generous with themselves and others – That ‘warm glow’ we get from helping people isn’t just some feel-good mumbo jumbo – research has shown that people who behave generously are happier than those who don’t.
- They have a strong sense of self and belonging – The more an individual identifies with a particular group, the happier they are with their life – a feeling that increases for every additional group they connect with. We humans are social beings – we need other people around us to be happy (even though it might not seem like it at times)!
- They’re more focused on resilience, life experiences and personal growth, than happiness
– This might seem like a complete contradiction to all that we’ve written so far, but one argument out there is that happiness is the process of becoming your ideal self, rather than the outcome. If you make it your top priority, you’ll never be satisfied.
- They’re not perfect
– Happy people are content with what they have and spend far less time worrying about what they don’t have than their less-happy peers. They know bad things happen, but they don’t let it drag them down. They see challenges as opportunities.
And if you’ve read our article that discusses the vagus nerve, you may remember that acts of altruism, generosity and kindness to others activate a nerve response which gives you a ‘warm glow’ effect.
As you think about the next 12 months, consider how you can foster some of the attributes that happy people have in spades. Make connections, know your value, own who you are. You might not actively pursue it, but happiness is the likely outcome.
– The Coach Place Global
Image by @Helena Lopes
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