Happy people tend to spend time with friends and family and put emphasis on social and community relationships. We are social creatures. Research has demonstrated that happiness and life satisfaction are perhaps more closely related to participating meaningfully in a network of friends, family, and community than any other factor.11 I urge you to take this research to heart by making time for friends and family and by being part of and contributing to a larger community.Another factor in happiness, perhaps less obvious, is based on the concept of “flow.”12 When you are working, studying, or pursuing a hobby, do you sometimes become so engrossed in what you are doing that you totally lose track of time? That feeling is called flow. If you never have that feeling, you should find some new activities–whether work or hobbies.Another finding is that happy people feel in control of their own lives. A sense of control can be obtained by actively setting goals that are both challenging and achievable. Ultimately, though, there are many things in our lives we cannot control. So it also is important to recognize what is and is not within our control, to cultivate the flexibility to accept unexpected change with equanimity, and to focus our efforts on achieving goals at the limit of, but still within, our reach.Finally–and this is one of the most intriguing findings–happiness can be promoted by fighting the natural human tendency to become entirely adapted to your circumstances. One interesting practical suggestion is to keep a “gratitude journal,” in which you routinely list experiences and circumstances for which you are grateful.13 Devices like gratitude journals help people remain aware of the fortunate aspects of their lives, offsetting the natural human tendency to take those things for granted after a while.
Some words of wisdom from Ben Bernanke in a speech on Happiness !
A refreshing view on happiness!