What can we do to be happy in life? How can we avoid being unhappy? Four psychologists give their advice.

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How to be happy

We asked four psychologists for their advice on how to be happy and, equally importantly, how to avoid being unhappy.


There has been a lot of research which shows the importance of physical health in avoiding anxiety and depression. The mind and the body are highly interconnected. We can all make fairly easy changes in our lifestyle to include more exercise, healthier eating, getting enough sleep, being exposed to sunlight and so on. Research into exercise has found that it has a positive impact on mood. Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain to produce the feel-good factor. Sleep is vitally important for children and adolescents to help concentration levels. A good night’s sleep also stops people being bad-tempered and flying off the handle.

B 
Having good relationships is a big part of being happy. In one study, most happy people were found to have strong ties to friends and family and they made sure they spent time with them regularly. You also need at least one person who you discuss personal feelings with – called ‘self-disclosure’. Just one person for a heart-to-heart is enough, together with a network of other relationships. It’s not enough to have lots of friends just to do things with or chat to about music or football. That deeper connection is all-important. Some people need to learn how to listen effectively to others in order to develop stronger relationships.

C 
I would recommend being completely immersed in a pleasurable activity, sometimes called experiencing ‘flow’. The activity could be anything from doing judo to painting a picture to playing chess. Typically, the activities require a certain amount of skill and are challenging but not too challenging. If you are experiencing flow, you lose track of time and are immersed in the present moment. You find the activity rewarding for its own sake. People who spend time doing ‘high-flow’ activities feel more long-term happiness than those doing things like just lounging around or chatting online.


Make like Superman! Discover what your unique strengths and virtues are and then use them for a purpose which benefits other people or your community. People who play to their strengths (e.g. curiosity or persistence) or virtues (e.g. justice or humanity) and use them in different ways and in different situations are happier than those who focus more on their weaknesses. In other words, focus on the positive, not the negative, and be true to yourself. Studies in different countries have shown that people who do this report higher levels of well-being.

 

Total votes: 174
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Discussion

What do you do to be happy? Which of the advice in the text do you think is good advice? Are happiness levels high in your country?

Comments

Zoezoe's picture
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Zoezoe 1 March, 2018 - 18:45

Work hard, pay attention on things that are actually important and enjoy the little things. I think happiness is behind all those everyday moments that we ignore because we are used to them, but when we don't have them anymore that's when we remember how significant and fulfilling they were. I think that the best advise is said by psychologist A.

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Gera35's picture
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Gera35 7 January, 2018 - 18:15

I totaly agree with all opinion show: lifestyle, family and friend, activities-skills and work for others peoples are very important for being happy.

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1 user has voted.
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MARIAJL 13 December, 2017 - 19:01

From my point of view, the most important factor to be happy is to feel well with yourself, what I mean, knowing deep our virtues and taking advantages of them. For this reason, when I have read the text, I have felt very identified with the point that deal with our virtues can help other people .When we see how someone of our surrounding is happy thank to us that produced a high grade of happiness on ourselves.
However, this is a subjective point of view because of depending of the way each one is, it can be more important one factor or another to be happy.

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14 users have voted.
Mariabdr's picture
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Mariabdr 23 November, 2017 - 15:53

The factors for your own sake are depend on the persons.They're doing activities or simply things to get the feel good factor.
Therefore, If you're able to combine your daily routines that they can be boring with things which you can be happy,you'll find the balance.
Finally, we shouldn't lose track of time.
Time is only that we can't make up.

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17 users have voted.
alracsarertnoc's picture
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alracsarertnoc 28 September, 2017 - 16:59

My happiness consists in my art, I think art is one of the most important aspects in anybody's life. And my country is one of the most "happiest" countries in the word, but, I don't really care about that

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16 users have voted.
Afnan1415's picture
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Afnan1415 20 September, 2017 - 14:40

At one point of my life I was unhappy person, I compared my self to my friends and I very hated my self because I gave the people a lot of attention and forget what i want.
So I think the satisfaction and acceptance of yourself and your personality are important things to be happy person. Just FOCUS ON YOURSELF.

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18 users have voted.
catastrophe's picture
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catastrophe 22 September, 2017 - 14:18

So true! That's a mistake I did when I was younger. But now I'm selfish enough to know I'm unique in my own way!!! ✌

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18 users have voted.
melogurman's picture
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melogurman 28 August, 2017 - 15:23

Many people strive for happiness and happy life without knowing that they are already head over heals with happiness. It's not a secret, that the majority have a certain job and soe food to eat, place to sleep, some friends and family, but still fly off the handle in case of just a small problem. To my mind, being is high spirits is not onle having above-mentioned feel-good factor or communicating heart-to-heart thing.
All I believe it is finding yourself in life, your true mission in this marvelous world that makes one happy. So the psychologist who mentioned about paying to ones strengths and the "flow" must be somewhere rigth.

Just an oppinion flying by )

p.s. like rain more than the sun :)

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19 users have voted.
FRANGOGA's picture
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FRANGOGA 20 July, 2017 - 19:30

After reading the statements from the different psychologist, I could be in agreement with most of them. I don't know, at least from my own experience, it seems to me that advices from A to C are kind of logical, however I differ from D. If I've learned something in my life, overcoming oneself weak points is something that can provide loads of happiness. Nevertheless, and to be honest, I would firstly recommend to find the happiness by following advices from first psychologist. Having a balanced body-main status, a strong relationship network and some weekly high-flow experiences are the first step to feel good with onesefl and with each other. I would like to finish making mention of another factor I consider importanat but it has not be alluded in the text: the weather. Some studies have demonstrated strong linkers between happiness and a good weather. Maybe that is the reason why in Spain, country with an enviable weather all along the year, we have the highest levels of happiness of Europe.

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30 users have voted.
catastrophe's picture
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catastrophe 24 July, 2017 - 11:33

Whoa. I ever knew that!!! But I don't think it's not just true, 'cause, I'm usually happier on rainy days rather than sunny ones!!! ✌

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33 users have voted.
Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 25 July, 2017 - 13:52

Whoa---!
You should visit and join in Photo caption 093 right away, catastrophe! :)))

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29 users have voted.
Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 27 July, 2017 - 00:38

I got it!
Are you …. a frog, by any chance, catastrophe?? :)))
Aha ha, happy confident unique frog! ;)

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25 users have voted.
catastrophe's picture
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catastrophe 27 July, 2017 - 11:57

Wow, you guessed it right! I am a cheeky little frog, you know. And one of the wittiest, too. I've escaped many tricky shoes and wedges (I wouldn't like to mention heels, they're way too dumb) and I'm the star of my friends!!! But you see, a huge phenomenon changed my life. A catastrophe, in reality. I was just sleeping, and overnight... Well, it's indescribable. All I know is that in the morning when I looked at the mirror, I saw not a frog, but a...
A...
A...
Pikachu!!!! A Pikachu that can turn into a human anytime it wants!!! So, I hope now you know, why my name is catastrophe!!!! :)))) ✌

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28 users have voted.
Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 29 July, 2017 - 11:35

Herhaw!!
(Jobbed!) Of course, I expected you turned out to be a "prince!!" but a "picachu??" What--??
Aha ha ha, don't worry, Pica is a hero nowadays anyway? ;))

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27 users have voted.
catastrophe's picture
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catastrophe 2 August, 2017 - 12:17

Yeah, of course. Anyways, how many people playing Pokemon Go haven't looked for Pikachu? That includes me too!! And Pikachu is always my cute little hero! Pi-ka-chuuu!!! ✌

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24 users have voted.
hadia's picture
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hadia 29 July, 2017 - 10:46

Wow. You really have your way with describing things. I love your writing.
Why don't you start writing something big. I'd be the first one to grab the copy. :)

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33 users have voted.
catastrophe's picture
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catastrophe 29 July, 2017 - 16:46

Hmm... Something big, huh? Let's see. How about a whole novel on a girl who is so optimistic that happiness is all that surrounds her? And the title of the book is... Hadia(sorry, if it's not you're real name!!!) !!! Anyway, I am on my way to writing a fantasy novel based on dragons, only that I don't have a rigid plot in hand. Can you help me please?? ✌

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26 users have voted.
Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 1 August, 2017 - 04:52

Sounds interesting! In addition to your fantasy novel, I'm curious to know the novel 'PicaFrog'! He's full of great imagination which makes him look a bit claustral. But in fact, he's a noble prince who is destined to save good people from malicious deeds. People call him "PicaFrog!"!
Ordinary....,??

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26 users have voted.
catastrophe's picture
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catastrophe 2 August, 2017 - 12:21

Wow, great idea! PicaFrog, huh? Well, I know Froakie, Greeninja and lot of frog Pokemon, but this is quite different, right? So, let's see... Since my story is based on dragons, let's keep it this way. PicaFrog was supposed to get eggs for the palace since the maids are on a leave, gone for the annual Spring Festival. Though he hoped to get hen eggs, he ended up with one unnoticed dragon egg in his basket. And when it hatched...

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24 users have voted.
hadia's picture
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hadia 1 August, 2017 - 18:37

How about a Teenager who draws light even from the darkest alleys? Elsa-the wonderful :)
Ha ha. I guess we all should write about one another or Rather write about three friends.
PicaFrog (sounds so interesting!). I am eager to read about it. Please write soon Catastrophe. I am not a patient person! :))))

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25 users have voted.
Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 2 August, 2017 - 15:46

Thank you Hadia! :))

Yeah, that's a good idea!
Maybe, Catastrophe can write about "Hadia-A super optimistic girl",
Me, "Hello, PicaFrog",
and "Elsa-the wonderful!" :)))

I'm spoiling for reading these stories!
Well, well.....where can we start?

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25 users have voted.
catastrophe's picture
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catastrophe 2 August, 2017 - 12:23

Whoa, that would be just awesome! The three musketeers,
Hadia the scholar
Elsa the princess
And Catastrophe the... Monkey?

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25 users have voted.
Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 3 August, 2017 - 13:07

Wow, what a charming comparison! Three musketeers, I like it!
Haida-Aramis
Catastorophe-Athos
Elsa- Porthos
Ha ha! Let's put ourselves down :)))

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26 users have voted.
catastrophe's picture
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catastrophe 8 August, 2017 - 12:47

By the way, why don't you suggest a good name for yourself, Elsa? The same goes for you too hadia!!! Let's see... Maybe we all can meet at a point in that story!!! ✌

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24 users have voted.
Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 23 July, 2017 - 04:45

Yeah…. that's a good point!
We creatures are unconsciously much influenced by our surroundings including the weather.
People living in a sunny country look happier than those who are in a gloomy weather which often lets our feelings down because of the low pressure…
But all in all, happiness resides in a state of mind of each person. :)

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28 users have voted.

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