“Happiness is a thing to be practiced, like a violin” — John Lubbock
These days, studies are published on ways to become happier. However, it’s important to remember that happiness is a journey, not a destination. And while I might list 18 non-monetary ways to be happy, I’m sure there are a lot, lot more.
- Be with loved ones.
Research shows that happy people spend very little time alone. Instead, they surround themselves with friends and family, and find joy in sharing their lives with others.
- Marry someone you love and respect
Advice from Socrates: “By all means marry: if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher”.
- Smile a lot
Acting the part often leads to feeling the part. Besides, it’ll make you look a lot better, and might even make someone else happy.
- Laugh a lot
Not only is it good for your heart, but also for you and the people near you.
- Be honest — except for a few white lies
Honesty is the best policy, and saves a lot of heartache down the road. Of course, the road to honesty is to become a person of exceptional integrity, which while difficult, is possible. But remember to tell your next-door neighbor that she looks like she lost some weight…
- Spend less than you earn, and plan for your retirement
No matter how little you’re earning, and how badly you want to buy those expensive shoes (apply whatever seems to pull you the most) don’t splurge on them if your bank manager isn’t too pleased with you.
- Give as much as you can
Children in orphanages often write to Santa: “I don’t really want anything, but my sister needs a coat because it’s so cold”. Give to those with less than you, both in terms of time and money. Few other actions are as rewarding.
- Lead a sensual life
Surround yourself with pleasant smells: nice perfume, beautiful flowers, baking cookies. Keep a nice painting or photo on your wall. Buy flowers. Eat spicy food.
- Get rid of clutter
Clean your wardrobe, your desk, your kitchen. Don’t let things that don’t help pile up.
- Donate things that you don’t use
Whether they’re books that you don’t read, clothes that you don’t wear, or gifts that you’ll never use: give them to someone who’ll appreciate them.
- Be healthy
Eat healthy, avoid junk food and excess alcohol, exercise regularly, and make sure you go for your yearly check-ups.
- Remember that you’re healthy
An interesting study shows that happiness is not directly correlated to being healthy. Many healthy people take their health for granted. Whereas some sickly people appreciate the few healthy days that they enjoy. Hypochondriacs are the most miserable.
- Be grateful
Gratitude is essential to happiness. Psychiatrists have found that talking and writing about what they’re grateful for amplifies adults’ happiness. Learning to savor the small pleasures has the same effect.
- Spend some time reflecting on life
Meditate, keep a journal, or do both. They will give you perspective and structure to your life.
- Set your own standards
Forget the Jones. Establish goals for yourself, based on what you think is reasonable. You’ll be happier when you achieve those, than what the Jones’ have.
- Find activities that you love
Try to spend most of your time doing work or activities which make time flow faster. The happiest people are usually busy with things that they love to do, whether it’s cooking, starting a new business, or being with a child.
- Construct routines, but remember that surprises often lead to greater happiness
Life is too full of uncertainties to be controlled. Yet those experiences which we don’t plan for, often lead to greater growth and fulfillment.
- Stretch yourself mentally.
Learning leads to a satisfaction much greater than any impulse purchase.
And finally, for ways to buy yourself some happiness, check out this post