What is the key to happiness? Although many believe a piece of cake brings happiness, it can also be true that happiness isn't always a piece of cake! With over 40,000 books on the shelf written with the goal of helping you to be happier, it's clear there is no magical one-size-fits-all happiness solution.
Each person has a unique happiness recipe. Imagine if I gave you the list of ingredients to make a chocolate cake without telling you the amount of each ingredient, the order to add them or how long to bake it.
This is where most how-to-be-happy books fall short. They give one single list of ingredients.
There's a lot to being happy.
- your thoughts
- your sleep
- your nutrition
- your genetics
- your circumstances
- your mindset
- your focus and determination
- time & effort
Knowing about yourself (autology) will help tailor a recipe that you can bake. Some of us bake gourmet chocolate cakes while others prefer a simple box mix. Once you find a recipe that you like, it doesn't matter where you learned it, just that you can bake it well.
Let's learn about your personal happiness recipe:
- Sleep- your body needs to be rested for the optimal mindset. The goal is to awaken on your own without an alarm feeling rested.
- Nutrition- the fuel you choose for your body and your mind matters. There is science that shows certain diets prime you for happiness. It's also important to control the news you watch, the conversations you have and the time spent doing things that drain versus boost your energy.
- Habit Formation- the steps it takes to become happier require you to form new habits or get rid of habits. Knowing how you tend to create habits will help you to make a plan that you can actually implement. Insight without action doesn't work. Try this habit formation quiz to learn your tendency. This will help you to stick your recipe.
- Practices- Positive Minds International uses seven different science-based domains. These are Positive Purpose, Positive Social Connection, Positive Presence, Positive Self-Knowledge, Positive Experience, Positive Mindfulness, Positive Gratitude. You can begin with this series of quizzes to see which areas you could use the most help with OR you may just have a gut feeling that one or two of these areas are most challenging. Check the chart below for a little clarity.
Positive Purpose- A strong sense of purpose or intention increases engagement and well-being. If you are living a
purposeful life you have goals and actions to move toward them. If you aren't clear on your purpose, check out this article and request the Purpose Finder worksheet.
Positive Social Connection- Friendship and connection through altruism matter. When we connect socially or give time, money or effort to help someone or something, we also receive benefit. Here are 2 quizzes from the Greater Good Science Center on social capital and altruism. Check out this blog too for questions to connect.
Positive Release- Release means letting go or forgiving. You probably know if you are challenged by letting go. Don't worry if you are- it's a common challenge! Check out this quiz from Psychologies.
Positive Self-Knowledge- I'm a total self-knowledge junkie so here's a short list of my favorite online resources and quizzes to heighten your awareness of how you relate to others:
Habit Formation- 4 Tendencies
5 Love Languages
VIA Character Strengths
Positive Experience- This one can be the simplest place to begin. You have things that boost your mood. Anything from reading, walking on the beach, funny movies, travel, etc. Take time regularly to participate in a variety of experiences that feel joyful to you.
Positive Mindfulness- This includes both mindfulness and meditation. It can be anything you participate in that allows you to experience present moment awareness. Some love swimming or hiking, others choose prayer or meditation.
Positive Gratitude- Another simple one, gratitude practices can be taking time to acknowledge important people at home or at work. It can also include a gratitude journal. Don't forget that gratitude includes both giving and receiving. If you think gratitude is a strength, try focusing on how you receive it.
5. Time- be realistic and think about what you will actually be able to implement. Are you dedicating 5 minutes each day or the entire day Sunday? Are you able to commit to 15 minutes three times a day or a full week of 24/7 immersion? Planning practices that fit easily into your schedule is important. When you choose an area to target, maybe Gratitude or Mindfulness, choose a specific task like meditating 5 minutes twice a day or writing daily in a gratitude journal. Use your habit formation type to set yourself up for success. Get an accountability partner, build in rewards, and most importantly remember that a little is still better than none.
I'm curious to know more about people reading my blog. I know I'm an Upholder whose love language is TIME, I'm a 7 with 3 wing, I'm ENFJ, my top strengths are Woo and Ideation, my character strengths include creativity and love of learning. My big 5 put me at extreme ends of openness and extraversion and unusually low with neuroticism.
Comment and share yours. Let's see what personalities are reading about positive psychology and happiness!