| Thursday, January 19, 2006
| EIGHT STEPS TOWARD A MORE SATISFYING LIFE
|Want to lift your level of Happiness? Here are some practical suggestions from University of California Psychologis Sonja Lyubomirsky, based on research by her and others. Satisfaction (at least a temporary boost) guaranteed.
1). Count your blessings.
One way to do this is with a "gratitude journal" in which you write down three five things for which you are currently thankful -- from the mundane (your peonies are in bloom) to the magnificent ( a child's first steps). Do this once a week, say, on Sunday night. Keep it fresh by varying your entries as much as possible.
2). Practice acts of Kindness.
These should be both random (let that harried mom go ahead of you in the checkout line) and systematic (bring Sunday supper to an elderly neighbor). Being kind to others, whether friends or strangers, triggers a cascade of positive effects -- it makes you feel generous and capable; gives you a greater sense of connection with others; and wins you smiles, approval, and reciprocated kindness - all happiness boosters.
3). Savor Life's Joys.
Pay close attention to momentary pleasures and wonders. Focus on the sweetness of a ripe strawberry or the warmth of the sun, when you step out from the shade. Some pyschologists suggest taking "mental photographs of pleasurable moments to review in less happy times.
4). Thank a Mentor.
If there's someone whom you owe a debt of gratitude for guiding you at one of life's crossroads, don't wait to express your appreciation -- in detail and, if possible, in person.
5). Learn to Forgive.
Let go of anger and resentment by writing a letter of forgiveness to a person who has hurt or wronged you. Inability to forgive is associated with persistent rumination or dwelling on revenge, while forgiving allows you to move on.
6). Invest Time and Energy in Friends and Family.
When you live, how much money you make, your job title,and even your health have surprisingly small effects on your satisfaction with life. The biggest factor appears to the strong personal relationships.
7). Take Care of your Body.
Getting plenty of sleep, execercising, stretching, smiling and laughing can all enhance your mood in the short term. Practiced regularly, they can help make your daily life more satisfying.
8). Develop strategies for coping with stress and hardships.
There is no avoiding hard times. Religious faith has been shown to help people cope, but so do the secular beliefs enshrined in axioms like, "This too shall pass" and "That which doesn't kill me makes me stronger". The trick is that you have to believed them.
MEASURE YOUR HAPPINESS
How happy are you? Sure, you may think you know, but this little test will help you keep score. The Satisfaction with Life Scale was devised in 1980 by the University of Illinois psychologist Edward Diener, a founding father of happiness research. Since then the scale has been used by researchers around the world.
Read the following five statements. Then use a 1-to-7 scale to rate your level of agreement.
1_____ 2 _____ 3 _____ 4 _____ 5 _____ 6______ 7 _____
Not at all True ///////Moderately true//////// Absoulutely true
A. In most ways my life is close to my ideal. 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/
B. The conditions of my life are excellent. 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/
C. I am satisfied with my life. 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/
D. So far I have gotten the important
things I want in life. 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/
E. If I could live my life over,
I would change almost nothing. 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/
31-35: Extremely satisfied
26-30: Very Satisfied
21-25: Slightly satisfied
15-19: Slightly Dissatisfied
05-09: Extremely Dissatisfied
(Abstracted from: THE NEW SCIENCE OF HAPPINESS/ TIME Special Section)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 1:47 AM