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

hadia's picture
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hadia 22 July, 2017 - 16:00

Hi Frangoga!
I agree!
Weather has a great influence on our mood. It reflects from our heart how we feel. Sometimes a Windy day makes us feel so full of ourselves rather than a hot summer day. And change is necessary; It's kinda inevitable. So, here in Pakistan, we are quite lucky to enjoy four different seasons all the year. :))) Mood changes, :)

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catastrophe's picture
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catastrophe 15 July, 2017 - 10:55

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!! ✌
Isn't it something we all have learnt from childhood? As a kid, this poem always kept nagging me. I was supposed to clap only when I was happy. But whenever my teacher recited the poem, I found myself clapping. As this little nagging grew troublesome, I couldn't stop myself from asking my teacher about it. And guess what she said?
"It's not just a poem; it tells us that people are meant to be happy always. We should be ready to clap anytime."
As a kid of five, this seemed a bit tough to understand, but after getting used to my mum's lectures, I got used to it. To be happy, you gotta just believe!!! ✌

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mjruizam's picture
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mjruizam 15 July, 2017 - 08:36

From my point of view, it's very important to have goals in our life for being happier and motivated because you have something for fighting every day. In orther words you have a motivation. To be honest, I like putting to myself new challenges and goals every day because this encourage me to keep going until the end even though sometimes it isn't easy

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16 users have voted.
Lunanga's picture
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Lunanga 19 June, 2017 - 12:48

Okay,what's makes me happy is to be focused to what I am doin'.
And if someone asks me "What's the levels of happiness in your country?" I cannot response to that 'cause I'm kinda antisocial and I am interested in others' feelings.

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16 users have voted.
fay4's picture
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fay4 12 June, 2017 - 10:55

I actually don't do specific thing to be happy ... it depends on the case , for example being happy in winter is drinking something hot however being happy in summer is sitting down below the air conditioning . The most useful advice in my opinion were A and C because it is only about the person ... in some ways people don't have good people around them .. so they have to stand alone and that doesn't mean they can't be happy !
Unfortunately happiness level in my country isn't high :/ .

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17 users have voted.
Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 13 June, 2017 - 15:35

Wow, good to hear that you're a mentor for happiness!
Another example for being happy in a rainy day is listening to the cozy sound of rain while reading a book and to be happy in a sunny day is just looking up the blue sky and watching moving clouds.
Hmm.... cloud nine!

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13 users have voted.
wiseteen's picture
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wiseteen 23 May, 2017 - 19:21

my HAPPINESS consists in my FAITH. Being grateful to the Almighty, for everything I have... knowing that everything will be okay in the end, and if it isn't okay, it's not the end, just believing in this can draw a smile on my face. Just knowing that the Almighty loves me and won't make anything that will harm me in the future, even if it seems hard to accept it in the present. Sometimes GOOD things fall apart so that BETTER things come together, that's my principle in my life, and that's why, thanks to God, I'm happy :) <3

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24 users have voted.
hadia's picture
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hadia 24 May, 2017 - 08:43

Yes. Absolutely! Faith is the seed from which happiness evolves. Nearer to Almighty, Nearer to happiness, :)

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20 users have voted.
Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 28 April, 2017 - 15:03

I do agree with all the advice in the text, and particularly I do like B! As I grow up, I really feel I need a person who I discuss personal feelings with. It's lucky if I find someone for 'self-disclosure'. Yes, as the advice says, it's very important to learn how to listen effectively to others, but actually I'm not a good listener that people say...! Well, I'll try, try to develop stronger relationships to keep happiness <3 <3

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21 users have voted.
hadia's picture
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hadia 27 April, 2017 - 05:57

happiness lies deep within the soul. It's all about your heart's situation which makes you feel gloomy even in daylight fun and makes you happy even in the darkest alleys.
There are various ways of happiness. Some have material pursuits to gain it and some feel it by staying with loved ones. Love the way you are, accept your deficiencies. Try to improve yourself but not change your lovely ways for someone who doesn't care. Your family loves you and you've faith in yourself. That's enough for your road to success. Being ungrateful to the Almighty, for the things he bestowed you with, is just like being blind. be happy and live life the way you are with you loved ones.
Stop regretting, start experiencing. It'll make happiness crawl towards you. :) That's what I think.
Sadness will give nothing but passing out each second of life with a great positive notion will make things better and life would be worth-living.

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Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 28 April, 2017 - 15:09

Hi poet hadia!
I'm happy to chat with you <3 <3, happy to stay with you <3 <3 and happy to feel good with you <3 <3

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