With the help of scientific research and advice from psychologists, it is possible to derive universal methods and techniques that will work for everyone.
- What is happiness
- How to become happy: advice from psychologists
- How to become happy: techniques
- Expert comments
Daria Yausheva, clinical psychologist, cognitive-behavioral and schema therapist;
Ivan Brzhusko, psychotherapist, CBT, EMDR and schema therapist.
What is happiness
Happiness is a feeling. The greater the emotional palette that is available to you, the more authentic the experience of happiness will be.
Happiness is a special state in which a person experiences joy and satisfaction. In simple words, happiness is when you feel good and at peace. This may mean different things for different people because everyone is unique and what makes one happy may be different from what makes another happy.
Difficulties in achieving happiness arise from the very attempt to find a definition for it. For example, Aristotle believed that “happiness is the activity of the soul in the fullness of virtue”.
Followers of acceptance and commitment therapy have a similar opinion. The author of the book “The Happiness Trap,” Russ Harris, argues that a prolonged state of happiness cannot be considered normal at all. This is how our brain and its systems are designed to search for threats, worry, imagine scary scenarios, compete and compare ourselves with others. Here are the myths about happiness:
- Happiness is a natural state. But this is not true, because emotions are changeable, like the weather. We experience anxiety, fear, sadness, and joy. And that’s okay.
- If a person is unhappy, he is not okay. This is also not true. A person can suffer for objective reasons. Life is full of stress related to work, family, and daily responsibilities.
Happiness is the feeling that you are living your life to the fullest, moving in accordance with your inner values, in the direction that is important.
Positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi preferred to use the concept of flow, that is, the state of dissolution in life that occurs when a person is busy with his own business.
How to become happy: advice from psychologists
The ability to relax and disconnect from other processes is a valuable quality
1. Accept that happiness – this is temporary
2. Fill your life with meaning
3. Take care of your surroundings
4. Live in harmony with yourself
5. Take care of your own safety
6. Leave room for stability in your life.
7. Motivate yourself
8. Learn to relax
9. Watch your health
10. Conduct an audit of your consciousness
11. Give yourself time to have fun
12. Praise yourself
How to become happy: techniques
One way to get to know yourself and your desires better is to try different types of meditation
1. Diary of positive events
We often dwell on bad events or worry about possible problems. This can cause the brain to tune into negativity and look for it everywhere to prevent it. A good way to change this is to keep a journal of positive events, advises Ivan Brzusko.
Every day ask yourself the question: “What pleasant thing happened to me today?” It could be little things, such as a delicious morning coffee, a friendly conversation, or a hug from a loved one. You can journal on your own or discuss the positive events of the day with your family or partner in the evenings. Keep doing this for three months and you will notice how your attitude towards life changes, with more colors, happiness and joy appearing in it.
2. Diary of emotions
A diary allows you to dialogue with yourself, ask yourself questions and answer them. In cognitive behavioral therapy, a special place is occupied by the diary of emotions (it is called SERM). Draw a table with several columns: Situation, Thought, Emotions, Reaction. In the first case, we describe the context of what happened (for example, “I was visiting my parents, they again started asking about success at work”), thoughts (“I always have to make excuses” / “I’m a loser in their eyes”), feelings (“ shame, sadness, anger”), reaction (“I decided to go home early”).
One way to get to know yourself and your desires better is to try different types of meditation. You can meditate with a guided meditation app like Headspace, focus on your breathing, or practice yoga. All these methods help manage attention, notes Ivan Brzhusko.
4. Three questions for a good life
5. Notice exceptions
It is important to see the “exceptions” in life, that is, the good things that happen even when everything seems to be going wrong. Such exceptions may be in the past: strengths, positive moments, experience of overcoming difficulties.
6. Get creative
One of the ways to find a way to yourself and harmonize your inner state is art therapy. Paints, pencils, felt-tip pens or clay – it doesn’t matter what tool you use. You need to let your inner critic go for a walk, your goal is to draw for yourself.
Dancing, physical activity that brings pleasure, walking, active games in nature, snowboarding, surfing – everything that allows the body to move helps you feel happier. This is due to the production of endorphins, “hormones of happiness.”
All people care about the same things: family, health, favorite things