Studies show that as we become happier, we become better people. Happy people are more compassionate, more creative, more energetic, more financially successful, more emotionally and physically healthy. Not only that, but according to a 2008 study published in the British Medical Journal, your personal happiness has a ripple effect. Your happiness can boost the moods not only of the people you encounter, but of people you don’t even know—through 3 degrees of separation!
People who are happy are not immune to “bad times,” but they are better able to cope with them when they hit. Happy people are resourceful, positive, and resilient.
But happiness isn’t something that just “happens” to you. Nor is it a never-ending feeling that you have constantly. Both historical and modern-day theories of happiness recognize that happiness is not a one-time emotion, it’s a long-term pattern of action. Your action.
As Gretchen Rubin and Aristotle both recognize, when it comes to happiness, it’s up to you to take action to make yourself happy.
So, want to be happy?
Try starting your own “Happiness Project”.
Embarking on your own “Happiness Project” doesn’t mean you have to quit your job as an attorney and Supreme Court law clerk like Rubin did (we could’ve told her happiness is working at a family law firm in Nebraska instead), but what it does mean is that you have to figure out what makes you happy.
Then, you have to do something every day to make yourself happy.
Nothing huge. Nothing dramatic. Nothing expensive. Just a little something everyday that makes you feel pleased, content, nurtured.
As Angela Dunne discovered, it can be as simple as looking at pictures that make you smile.
Creating your own “Happiness Project” doesn’t mean you will never have bad days. As Angela points out in her blog post about her own happiness project, “A Year of Happy,” there really is no magic to it. You simply have to take charge of your own happiness.
So take a little time for yourself and create new, intentional habits of doing those things that make you happy. Find out what makes you uniquely you. Discover what makes you smile and makes your heart sing. Then do those things. Every. Day.
And while you are gleefully spinning around doing your new little “happy dance,” you just may find that you have touched others, and they are dancing with you.