Long-term increases in your level of happiness can be attained, but only if you abide by the five hows (or keys) behind sustainable well-being. Below are a list of guided questions and activities to get you started on thinking about how the five hows of happiness apply directly to your life.
The First How: Positive Emotions
* This is an obvious statement that is worth repeating anyway: happy people experience more positive emotions than unhappy people. Many of the activities listed in previous posts are meant to increase positive emotions, foster positive thoughts, and fuel positive experiences. JOURNAL PROMPT: Have you noticed any particular activities from this blog or others (please share!) that significantly increased your positive emotions and experiences? What are they?
* Many studies have shown that happy moods, no matter the source, lead people to be more productive, more likable, more active, more healthy, more friendly, more helpful, more resilient, and more creative. JOURNAL PROMPT: What are some activities or experiences that put you in a happy mood, no matter how seemingly trivial, mundane, silly, wasteful or cliched the sources are?
The Second How: Optimal Timing and Variety
* The importance of variety is demonstrated by both empirical and anecdotal evidence. JOURNAL PROMPT: What is a regular happiness activity that you can change or do differently this week?
* What is something new you can begin doing in your life? JOURNAL PROMPT: What is something new you've always wanted to do but felt you did not have the time or the money to do so? What can you do this week to get one step closer to making this goal a reality? (Example: I have always wanted to belong to a tight knit community of mothers and have support around being a mom, but have not been able to find what I'm looking for; I will start a moms group at my home where we invite wise women to speak to us about relevant topics and we have real conversations not just surface chit chat.)
The Third How: Social Support
* Social support is extremely important when it comes to achieving goals and sustaining happiness. JOURNAL PROMPT: Do you feel you have a strong social support group in your life? Why or why not? What do you think you need to do to start building your social support base or to strengthen what you already have?
The Fourth How: Motivation, Effort and Commitment
* When it comes to achieving greater happiness, the steps you need to take are not altogether different from those required for learning French or changing careers or any other goal that you might pursue:
1.) You must resolve to undertake a program to become happier.
2.) You must learn what you need to do.
3.) You must put weekly or even daily effort into it.
4.) You must commit to the goal for a long period of time, possibly for the rest of your life.
JOURNAL PROMPT: Do you feel you have the necessary motivation to sustain your personal happiness? Why or why not? What do you need to do to become more motivated in your personal goals and sense of happiness?
The Fifth How: Habit
Happiness is something that must be regularly maintained from your own personal efforts every day through your conscious choices. In other words, sustainable happiness must be made a habit in everything that you think, do and live. JOURNAL PROMPT: What are some new habits you've picked up that will help you continue nurturing your sense of happiness (exercise, meditation, social groups, etc.)? What are some negative habits that you need to work on that are holding you back from living your greatest happiness potential (laziness, over-eating, watching too much T.V., etc.)?
Post an intent either in the comments below or on our Facebook page and receive support from the community on how you plan on creating and sustaining lasting happiness for the rest of your life.
Do you want to discuss joining our Oakland Mom-ME circle? Please contact me!