Written by Lynn Allison for NewsmaxHealth
The snappy HappyOrNot terminals that are sweeping retail outlets around the world demonstrate that when customers are happy, sales soar. With a simple press of a button, customers convey their satisfaction — or lack thereof — so that companies can adjust their performance to garner greater happiness responses from their clients.
Everyone agrees that being happy is a desirable goal. But it’s not always as simple to achieve as pressing a smiley face button.
“The emotion we call happiness is more of a bottom-up or inside-out experience than top-down or outside-in,” Heidi Hanna, Ph.D., executive director of the American Institute of Stress, tells Newsmax. “We need to connect with the basic things that really matter to us in a way that encourages the neurochemistry of positive emotion. When we strive for top-down happiness or outside-in happiness, we set ourselves up for a letdown. That dopamine high we get when we purchase a new car or get a promotion quickly drops when we’re in the hustle again.
“True happiness comes when we align ourselves with the things that bring us joy, which typically involves experiences with other people or time spent by ourselves in nature,” says the best-selling author of “The SHARP Solution” and “Stressaholic.”
We often believe that when we finally achieve that external goal, we will magically become happy. But according to a study from Northwestern University the happiness levels of big-time lottery winners and those of regular people were about the same. The authors explained that once the winners adjusted to their new level of income, the novelty and temporary euphoria wore off.
So, what are the secrets of truly happy people? Here are some traits they share:
1. They take care of themselves. Dr. Judy Kuriansky, a noted psychologist and author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to A Healthy Relationship,” tells Newsmax that “research shows that that if you give to yourself, you have more energy and aptitude to give to others.” This includes slowing down to appreciate life’s little pleasures, exercising, eating nutritious food, and getting enough sleep.
2. They practice being happy. No one wakes up being happy and supremely happy people are no exception. “Teach yourself to be happy,” says Kuriansky. “It takes effort to evaluate your emotions and make decisions with happiness in mind.”
3. They surround themselves with the right people. According to a Forbes article, incredibly happy people surround themselves with like-minded folks. “Surrounding yourself with happy people builds confidence, stimulates creativity, and it’s flat-out fun,” notes author Travis Bradberry.
4. They spend money on other people. Research shows that happy people enjoy treating others even if it’s buying a special card or book that will please them. It doesn’t have to be a grandiose effort to make a difference.
5. They stay positive. We all know that bad things happen to everyone. Happy people don’t spend time complaining about what happened to them but try to find a solution and move on. “Pessimism fuels unhappiness,” says Bradberry.
6. They have faith. Faith is a fundamental cornerstone of happiness. Religious, spiritual, and positive psychology practices have been scientifically proven to create a greater sense of well-being according to livehappy. Kuriansky adds that whether or not you are religious, a strong belief system is important to build happiness. “Have faith in yourself,” she says.