Have you ever wondered why we say, ‘infectious joy’? It’s because emotions pulse like currents through social networks, spreading much like contagions. This is particularly true for happiness.
The threat of survival throughout evolution means that human brains are wired to be more sensitive to negative emotions. Therefore, most of us have a predisposition to pessimism. This is perhaps why so many of us are actively pursuing happiness, in order to escape our ingrained negativity. The good news is, we’re also wired to gain happiness from our connections with each other.
Sharing positive experiences
Do you find it difficult to keep positive news to yourself? That’s because sharing a positive experience allows you to relive the experience, devouring the happiness you felt and therefore heightening the impact overall.
It’s so important to allow others to share their good news with us as well. Listen and try to express your own joy for them. Don’t let your conversation be interrupted because it will dishearten them.
Happiness loves company
Just as we’re attracted to people who smile more, we are drawn to the company of those who appear perpetually happy. This is because it rubs off on us and we feel good in their company. Unfortunately, this is also why being a solitary person can make it more difficult to be consistently happy, because we depend on those connections.
Happiness is a choice
With every decision, negative experience or thought you’re faced with throughout the day, choose a response that will result in happiness for you. That means being mindful of how you are feeling and not reacting spontaneously, in a way you may later regret.
Happiness needs to be nurtured
Happiness doesn’t just happen and then stick around for good. It needs to be maintained throughout your life for you to stay happy. Meditating can help you keep your mind in great shape and remain open to happiness.
Build habits of happiness
Study yourself and study the way you do things that make you happiest. At the end of each day, write down five things that made you happy. This will help you spend more thinking about the positive, rather than dwelling on what might have gone wrong. Remind yourself that you alone are responsible for your happiness. Make this a template for your daily life.
Why money won’t buy it
A study has shown that you’re likely to be happier if you spend money pro-socially on others, rather than on buying things for yourself. Doing things for others increases the happiness flowing within your social network and you will reap the benefits as well. So that you can both focus on your own happiness to benefit others, and act to improve their happiness reaping the rewards yourself, indirectly.
You need both types of happiness in your life
There are said to be two types of happiness: hedonic and eudaimonic. Hedonic happiness is the pleasure-based counterpart to eudaimonia’s foundation in a meaningful life. Without a balance of these, your happiness will feel like it’s falling short. You see, a life full of hedonic happiness is likely to feel empty, whereas a life filled with eudaimonia is likely to feel like hard-work.
How to spread happiness:
- Smile genuinely at others
- Make eye contact
- Listen actively
- Share your wins
- Act generously
- Express gratitude
- Find something to laugh about together
- Share a love of animals through social activities. For example, meet up at the dog park.
- Encourage someone to enjoy the outdoors with you. For example, on a picnic.
And finally, share this post to help others understand happiness.
Tell me, what made you happy today?