A secret to happiness



Would you like to know a secret to happiness? You’re in luck. Over the past 20 or so years a new field has opened up in psychology looking at people with a healthy approach to living. (It was seen as a necessary balance to all the study going into the ways we can be/are broken.)

One of the areas to gain bucketfuls of attention has been the subject of happiness. After all, most of us in the western world are obsessed with the idea of having it! What could we learn that might help us achieve it?

As it happens, a lot. And many of us are on the wrong track in the way we chase after it.

Over the past term I participated in an online course led by Dr Barbara Fredrickson, one of the pioneers in this field. She was explaining that although we feel more strongly the bad things happening to us, almost everyone actually has more positives in their day than negatives. She calls these “tiny engines of happiness’.

So why don’t we feel happy? We don’t appreciate them.

Here’s one way to immediately increase your sense of well being and happiness: Pay more attention to the good currently in your world.

Stop right now and do an audit. Look up from your device or computer and ask yourself this question: what’s going well, right this minute?

For me, right now I’m safe, the weather is nice, if I look up the view is stunning, there are birds singing. My kids are happy, I’m progressing with my training work and getting over the ‘flu. My brothers and their families are up on holidays and we’ve been seeing them, I’ve been for a walk and the sun is shining.

I’m sure you can come up with a similar kind of list, if you tried.

The trick is, all these things are tiny little factors which most of the time I take for granted. But if I don’t stop to appreciate all this normal goodness then I waste an opportunity to be happy right now. A secret to happiness is noticing the good in the moment you’re living, rather than being distracted by the annoying or hard, the past or future.

Be thankful. Live in the moment. That’s both a secret to happiness and a mindset to develop. What’s good in your world right now?