Happiness Is A Skill

That was said by a buddhist monk considered the happiest man in the world after studies were conducted on his brain that showed the highest level ever seen in the area of positive emotions.

According to science, happiness is achieved by three different means:

50% is genetic

10% is circumstantial

40% is a skill that we need to cultivate

So how can we practise this skill and cultivate happiness?

  • Nurturing social connections
  • Expressing gratitude
  • Positive thinking
  • Forgiveness
  • Acts of kindness
  • Living in the present
  • Working to achieve meaningful goals
  • Physical activities
  • Mind training or meditation
  • Belief in a higher purpose

  • There are two things that don’t bring happiness according to the studies: money and physical beauty. However, our security needs (food, shelter, safety) need to met. After that, money doesn’t really add to happiness.
    Another important point is that human being adapt to changes. Therefore, changes such as getting married, a better job, beautiful housing and winning the lottery only bring temporary happiness. It is proved that after less than one year, lottery winners go back to their earlier levels of happiness. It also works the other way around. When something bad happens, it doesn’t take long for the happiness levels to return to normal.

     What else has science learned about happiness or SWB (subjective well-being)?

  • Temperament is an important factor but some conditions such as being unemployed or living in a poor nation have a long lasting effect.
  • Some cultures have higher levels of happiness than others because happiness is valued more.
  • People in unstable or very poor nations have lower levels of happiness.
  • No one is happy all the time. Even the happiest people get unhappy sometimes.
  • Happiness is can be correlated with desirable consequences such as sociability, creativity, better marriages, better work performance, stronger physical immunity and resilience.
  • Happiness doesn’t come from pleasure but from working towards goals that are consistent with our values.

  • All in all, there are many things that are still uncertain about happiness. But one thing is certain: there’s not only one way to achieve it and a variety of factors play a part in it.

    Source: http://media.noetic.org/uploads/files/S22_SIMIC_InSearchofHappiness_l-r.pdf

    10 Questions To Make You Think – March

    This one comes a bit late because I was away in Brazil having too much fun but I haven’t forgotten my promise so here are the 10 questions for March:

    1. How could today have been better?
      Today’s just one day but it might represent your everyday so your answer can help improve not only today but your life in general.
    2. If you could add one hour to your day, what would you do with it?
      Maybe you can rearrange things and find time to do it anyway.
    3. In three words, describe your spirituality.

    4. What new activity have you tried?
      It’s very important to try new activities whenever you can. They give meaning to life and make you feel empowered.

    5. What do you daydream about?
      Sometimes this can say a lot about you, what you want and how you are feeling.
    6.  What makes you laugh?
      Laughter is the best medicine. It boosts your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain and protect you against the effects of stress. Therefore, you should do it as often as possible. Read more about it here.
    7. Who do you aspire to be like?
      And what can you do to achieve that?
    8. When was the last time you felt like you were on top of the world?
      Reliving good memories boosts your happiness. Plus this might help you figure out what you can do to go back to that moment or have more moments like that.

    9.  What do you want to remember about today?
      Every day has something good about it. Sometimes we forget to appreciate the little things that happen in our everyday life.
    10. Write down a few lines from a song or poem that you identify with at the moment.




    10 Ways Money Can Buy Happiness


    What? Did I hear you right? Are you saying money can buy happiness? No, I don’t think happiness depends on how much money you have. Happiness is something that comes from within. However, if you, like me, are not enlightened yet, I assume you need money to live. And there are ways this hard-earned money can help bring you some happiness. Buying products you want might give you some pleasure but that’s not the point of this post. The point here is how money can affect your happiness. So here it goes, in no particular order:

    1- Travel

    Travelling requires a reasonable amount of money. However, unlike products, it’s life experience. It will provide you with moments you will never forget and stories to tell. It will teach you about other cultures, about yourself and about life. Travelling is not just something you buy, it’s meaningful and it might change your life.

    2- Save time

    If you can use your money on something that will allow you to have more time, it’s worth it. You should spend your time doing things that really matter to you, not stuck in traffic or doing things you hate. I spent money on time when I decided to move to a more expensive place that reduced my commuting time. Now I can spend more time focusing on yoga, hanging out with my boyfriend and friends, having fun. It’s money spent on happiness. It’s worth it.

    3- Contact your loved ones

    Money spent on loved ones is not wasted money. You don’t have to buy them expensive presents but you do want to keep them in your life. Phone bills, internet, plane tickets, whatever brings you closer to your loved ones is money used for happiness.

    4- Adopt a pet

    Buying a pet definitely requires money but adopting a pet does too. You have to pay for food, health, toys, treats. Let’s be honest, a pet is like a baby to its owner and we always want all the best for them. But, even though having a pet is costly, it’s money well-spent. You have a friend for life, a company, a ball of fur or feather that loves you unconditionally, a source of fun and amusement, all into one.

    5- Be more comfortable

    If money can you make you more comfortable, take advantage of it. Walking on uncomfortable shoes all day will make you grumpy. You need a good night of sleep to be healthy. Feeling comfortable is a necessity. I remember when I decided to spend a little more money to buy nice fluffy pillows. I’ve never regretted it. Every night I put my head on my fluffy pillows, I feel glad I can sleep comfortably.

    6- Do memorable activities

    Many times you have memorable days that didn’t cost a thing. But there are activities that cost money and will give you a life-lasting memory. When I went to Paris, I decided to pay a bit more and go on a tour to Monet‘s garden. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve always loved Monet and his garden is absolutely fantastic. This memory will always seem like a fairy-tale to me. It’s unbelievable to think that I was actually there. The same goes for ‘The Phantom of the Opera‘. I could have gone for the cheaper restricted-view seats but I decided to get the second best. It was nothing considering this was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

    7- Eat healthy food

    Healthy food can be cheap or it can be expensive but it’s worth the money either way. What’s is more important than your health? I’ll come back to this point later on.

    8- Help someone

    Sometimes you can help people and animals with your time, sometimes with your money. It’s a selfless way to use it so it’s bound to bring you happiness.

    As the amazing Dalai Lama said: “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”

    9- Save yourself hassle

    Sure, we are trying to be more peaceful and relaxed. But let’s be honest, we can’t help getting stressed when things don’t work. So save yourself the hassle and spend money on practical things. Think about what’s bringing you hassle and solve it. People don’t love spending money on suitcases for example, they are not very glamorous. I travel a lot and I’ve had a lot of different suitcases. Dealing with suitcases was never a joy for me. It’s not fun when their handle or wheels break and you’re in the middle of getting somewhere or when they are too heavy to carry without injuring your back. After having this happening to me a few times, I decided that suitcases were worth spending money on. I have two suitcases. They are from the same brand and they were fairly expensive but they lasted years, their wheels roll smoothly, they are light, their handles don’t hurt my hands and their compartments are super practical. No more hassle.

    10- Invest on health 

    Finally, back to health. As I said, nothing more important than health. Sometimes you only realise how important health is when you’re sick. Don’t be silly! Your health is important all the time. Spend your money to take care of your health, go to dentist, cure and prevent your illnesses. Again, not a very glamorous thing to spend money on but worthier  than an iPhone or a pair of shoes.

    Find Your Own Path In Life

    “People take different roads seeking fulfilment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”

    H. Jackson Browne

    There are two things to be learned from this quote:

    1- We need to follow our own path. People will try to convince us that we are on the wrong path all the time. Not because they want to cause us any harm but because sometimes they really believe that. Some people fail to understand that each person has their own needs and wishes and they hardly ever will be the same as someone else’s. That’s why only we can build the way to our happiness. People can try to help but we have to really look within ourselves to find out what makes us happy. It might seem easier to join someone on their road but some of the greatest things in life don’t come easily.

    2- We need to let others follow their own path. Sometimes we are the ones who fail to understand this truth. We want to help people find their ways and forget that we don’t even know what their way is. Other people’s wishes and ways might seem unnatural to us. How can they want the exact opposite of me? But we need to learn to accept this. We can’t control other people and we shouldn’t try because it will be really frustrating for them and for us. We want other people to walk the same road as us because we are afraid to walk it alone.

    Happiness Is A Choice

    “People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it.”Eat Pray Love

    I really love this quote because it explains the whole point that led me to research about happiness and consequently the reason why I have this blog. I think you need to fight for happiness and not just wait for it to fall into your lap. Sometimes that means you have to make changes. They might be big changes: quitting your job, getting a divorce, moving to another country , travelling the world. Or small changes: sleeping well, waking up earlier, taking up a course, going out more. But sometimes that fight for happiness doesn’t necessarily mean you have to actively do something. Sometimes the effort you have to make is to actually practise acceptance. Instead of fighting against your present situation, you have to accept it and make peace with it in order to find happiness.

    I don’t think it’s a choice in the sense that you can just decide “I’m happy now” and you automatically become happy but I think it’s a choice to go after it.

    I have been striving for happiness, reading about it, trying different things, making changes. And you might ask me: is it helping? Absolutely! I did go through a rough patch even though I was looking for happiness. I felt like giving up but I didn’t and now I’m finally reaping the rewards of my efforts. I believe that this is the meaning of the quote. You need to try hard to find happiness even if it’s not something you do consciously. Most people don’t wake up one day and think “I’m going on a search for happiness.” However, happy people have decided at some point in their lives consciously or unconsciously to go after what they want, to practise acceptance, to find contentment, etc. I believe it’s more difficult for some people than it is for others. That can happen for various reasons. Maybe your brain, your family or your circumstances don’t help but it is there for you to find. We can all get it if we try hard enough.