The mystery for the ages: Why are some people happy and others less so? And if we knew the secrets of happy people, could we practice them and become happier ourselves?
It’s worth a try, suggests Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside and the author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want (Penguin Press, 2008). Studies show that if we all engage in the established behaviors of happy people, we will be happier.
Happy people are more likely than unhappy people to perceive themselves, as well as the world around them, positively,” says Lyubomirsky. This also translates into seeing the future with optimism. The key here, she says, is to write down your hopes for the future, create goals and mini-goals, and go for them.
If you need a reason to get up and get moving, and here it is: You could be happier with regular exercise. (Gag, that again.) Exercise is a proven method for preventing or managing negative emotions. You could get even further along the way to happiness if you can work out with a group, building relationships even as you start to feel better about your life and your body.
My favorite neighbor, Brenda, made me join yet another gym last week and we worked out together four days. I’m four hours closer to becoming a happy person. Not only did we did we get to see people we haven’t seen in ages, but we laughed like hyenas as we went through our paces. Our trainer, Brian Arnett, designed our program for little old ladies. Next week, we begin the program for middle aged little old ladies.
Who knows, maybe the following week, we will be legitimate middle aged ladies, then the sky’s the limit.