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This Is How to Find Happiness: 6 Proven Secrets From Research by TIME

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Here’s what Robert Biswas-Diener had to say about how to find happiness:

  • AIM for happiness: Attention to the good, interpret things positively, and enjoy happy memories.
  • Use your strengths: Whatever you’re doing, try to engage your unique skills.
  • Have a calling: How does your work contribute to the world? That’s how you find meaning.
  • Happiness is a process, not a place: No one thing will make you happy forever. But lots of little smiles will.
  • Balance pleasure now with meaning later: Have fun on the weekend. And work hard on Monday.
  • Focus on relationships, but don’t compare: If you remember nothing else: invest in others.

Eric Barker adds:

So how do you tailor this advice so it works for you? That’s easy. Don’t do it all. Yeah, I’m telling you to actively ignore some of the stuff you’ve just read.

Maybe using your strengths isn’t an option. Or you don’t feel your work contributes much to others. That’s okay. Robert says you should emphasize what you find works for you and double down on that.

Don’t force something that doesn’t click for you. But make sure to regularly do the things that show results. Happiness is not one-size-fits-all. Here’s Robert:

There’s no single panacea. I like to empower people to go about the business of finding happiness their own way. Mindfulness meditation is going to drive some people crazy, or a gratitude journal is going to seem repetitive to others. It’s okay to figure out what works for you. If yoga is great for you, awesome. If relationships are great for you, awesome. You should feel empowered, regardless of what the research says, or regardless of what a blog post says, to use the strategies that you know work in your life.

So, right now, get out your calendar and plan a recurring appointment to do something that you know makes you happy.

When I spoke to Stanford professor Jennifer Aaker she said time use studies show there’s a gap between how people want to spend their time and what they end up doing. They know what makes them happy — but they don’t do it enough.

Your calendar should not just be a list of obligations, interruptions and tedious errands. What are you trying to do? Inject dehydrated concentrate of depression right into your eyes?

Anticipation is powerful. Research shows it can actually be more pleasurable than the activity itself. So give yourself something to look forward to.

Find pleasure in that appointment on your calendar. Find meaning in your work. Find love in your friends. And all the sudden you’ll realize what you’ve really found is happiness in your life.

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