10 Ways to Generate Happiness
How to boost happiness in 2021, according to science.
There are tons of things you can do to boost your happiness in the digital age. The research shows that the strategies that work best depend on you—on your interests, strengths, and abilities. So here are a bunch of strategies to try. You can choose your favorites.
1. Find out what to do first.
How are you supposed to build the right happiness skills if you don’t know which ones you are struggling with in the first place? This is why it’s helpful to take this quiz to explore your happiness strengths and weaknesses. That way, you can make an educated decision about what to focus on first.
2. Give yourself a confidence boost.
Why would you bother increasing your happiness if you didn’t think you could be successful at it? You wouldn’t. That’s why it’s so important to build your confidence — to prove to yourself that you can increase your happiness. The best way to do this is by starting with easier skills — skills like gratitude or prioritizing spending time doing fun things. Get a quick win, and you’ll be more confident that you really can change your life.
3. Fuel your progress by learning how to feel better about yourself.
You wouldn’t practice math to get better at cooking. And you wouldn’t learn another language to lose weight. To be happier, you’ll likely make more progress by focusing on the skills that are most closely linked to happiness. In my research, the skill that usually turns out to be most closely linked to happiness is: self-worth. Luckily, you can learn how to feel better about ourselves—for example, by imagining your best possible self, noting your positive qualities, or identifying your strengths.
4. Create balance and overcome burnout.
How are you supposed to have the energy to boost happiness if you’re stressed, exhausted ,and miserable from work? It will be really hard. Building new skills—skills that will help you happier—will take time and energy. So it’s helpful first to create better work-life balance.
5. Build a growth mindset for happiness.
Growth mindset refers to the belief that we can change ourselves. When we build a growth mindset for happiness, we believe we can change our happiness. This is super important, because if we don’t believe we can increase our happiness, we won’t even bother to try.
6. Make positive memories.
Every region in our brains can be strengthened through practice. If our brains are really good at remembering negative things that happen, it can be useful to strengthen the regions of the brain responsible for remembering positive things.
7. Find those silver linings.
Everything we experience can be a bummer if we choose to see it that way. But when you search for the benefits or silver linings in your life, you may be surprised to discover a lot more good than you thought. Keep thinking positive to decrease negative emotions to cultivate happiness.
8. Take breaks from social media.
Facebook tends to have a negative effect on our happiness. By choosing to take breaks from technology—or changing the way we use technology—we can boost our happiness.
9. Spend smarter for more happiness.
How we spend our money impacts our happiness. When we choose not to buy a fancy house or car—things that don’t bring us much happiness—we have more money to spend on adventures or on gifts for friends: things that actually do make us happier.
10. End your negative patterns of thinking.
Let’s face it: Sometimes we are what’s making us miserable. We just can’t stop thinking about how so-and-so wronged us, or how our life didn’t turn out as we hoped. Negative thought processes — like worrying, ruminating, and self-judgment— just keep us miserable and unable to move forward. When you find yourself thinking negatively, pause and refocus your thoughts. The more you do this, the more your brain will be able to do this on its own.
Published with permission:The Berkeley Well-Being Institute