There is no doubt that every single one of us wants to be happy. Whether you are a stay at home mum, successful businesswomen, entrepreneur or even a full-time professional or amateur golfer, we all want to live a happy life. But what is it that makes us happy? Is it the money we make, the experiences we have, or the support we have from friends and family? What exactly is the formula for finding happiness where we are?
Nobel Prize winners, Angus Deaton and Daniel Kahneman, may have the answers for us. In 2010, Angus and Daniel published a study looking at whether income would have an impact on our evaluation of life and emotional well-being. What they found out was that whilst happiness does increase with income, it plateaus at the US$75,000 mark. This means that our experience of day-to-day happiness does not increase much after that amount. So it seems that the more we earn, doesn’t necessarily provide for a life of happiness. Then what will provide for a happy life?
The World Happiness Report published in March 2016 ranked each country’s happiness level using 6 measures; real GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption. The results were; Singapore came in at number 22, below developed and developing countries like Mexico (no. 21), Australia (no. 9) Puerto Rico (no.15) and Denmark taking the number one spot. What was interesting was that whilst Singapore scored really high in GDP per capita, life expectancy and the absence of corruption in comparison to the countries ranking above, we scored lowest in generosity and social support. Could being more generous and having more social support make us happier?
Here are 4 psychologically proven tips to find happiness where you are:
1. Having gratitude
Being grateful has been linked to happiness in numerous positive psychology research. It has been found in a study that people who wrote down things that they were grateful for every week for 10 weeks were much more optimistic and felt better about their life than those who did not (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)
How: Keep a gratitude journal and write 3 things you are grateful for every day. Yes, including that birdie you scored today.
2. Stay present to your thoughts
We have between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day and for many of us we may not be aware of the type of chatter that is happening. With the practice of mindfulness (including meditation) you can cultivate greater awareness of your negative thoughts, triggers and reaction pattern. In turn you can modify these thoughts.
How: Practise 10 minutes of meditation twice a day (even better before a golf game!). Increase the time with more practice.
3. Give something
The act of kindness or helping someone has been significantly linked to an increase in happiness in the ‘giver’. Giving does not have to just take place in monetary or material giving, but can also include a listening ear, giving of time or even a gimme.
How: Perform one act of kindness every day.
4. Build ‘quality’ social connections
It is found that it is not just the quantity of social connections that is related to personal happiness and well-being but the quality of these connections. Whilst you are building many networks, remember to grow your current relationships and friendships too.
How: Catch up with a friend once a week for golf or a quick lunch or coffee.
The author, Bhali Gill is an organisational psychologist, executive coach, trainer and writer at Corporate Wellbeing. If you would like to contact her about the post or for any enquires please drop her an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in: Golf/Women Magazine (Vol 3; pg 40-41)