How To Be Happy: 5 Secrets Backed By Research

We all wanna be happier, right? Thing is, depression is at epic levels. More people are unhappy and they’re getting miserable at an even younger age.

From Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment:

In the United States, rates of depression are ten times higher today than they were in the 1960s, and the average age for the onset of depression is fourteen and a half compared to twenty-nine and a half in 1960.

You don’t want to be part of this trend. Neither do I. So I called an expert to get some answers…

Tal Ben-Shahar taught the most popular class at Harvard University — and it was all about happiness. He’s also the bestselling author of a number of books including Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment.

Tal’s going to teach you and me what creates happiness in the big picture, what makes home and work more joyful, daily rituals you can use to boost good feelings, and the happiness mistakes you don’t even know you’re making.

Let’s get to it…

You Need Pleasure… And Meaning

Pleasure makes you happy. (Deep insight, huh?) Many of us just stop there, chasing things that feel good. But that’s only half the recipe.

The research shows we also need meaning. A purpose that has significance to us. When you combine pleasure and meaning, you’ve got happiness.

From Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment:

To experience a sense of purpose, the goals we set for ourselves need to be intrinsically meaningful. We could set ourselves the goal of scoring top grades in college or owning a large house, yet still feel empty. To live a meaningful life, we must have a self-generated purpose that possesses personal significance rather than one that is dictated by society’s standards and expectations.

(For more on how to find what is meaningful for you, click here.)

So what about happiness at work? To find the perfect career, you need to add one more thing: your strengths.

The perfect job for you is one that is pleasurable to do, has a purpose you believe in, and lets you do things you’re good at. Here’s Tal:

If I find both meaning and pleasure at work, that will contribute to my happiness, but that’s not enough for long-term satisfaction because we also want to feel confident. We also want to feel like we’re good at what we do. We also want to improve and get better. That’s part of our nature. If we think about our strengths, about what we’re good at, where our talents reside, and then find the overlap between those and what makes us happy, that’s the ideal scenario.

Sound like a tall order? Keep in mind that it’s all about your feelings, not what someone else thinks.

Research shows hospital cleaners found their jobs meaningful when they saw themselves as contributing to sick people getting better, not as a bunch of menial tasks.

(To learn how to be happier and more successful, click here.)

Okay, so we know what makes a happy life… Now how can we use these ideas to get happier?

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