The mental health experts at Psychology Today explain that positive psychology typically “focuses on the character strengths and behaviours that allow individuals to build a life of meaning and purpose—to move beyond surviving to flourishing.” This means they focus on learning how people become happier or more fulfilled. Interestingly enough, it focuses on three specific questions that can be used to steer almost anyone to a happier life.
The issues that positive psychology experts emphasize are:
What is good in life is as genuine as what is bad
What is good in life is not simply the absence of what is problematic
A good life requires its own explanation, not simply a theory of disorder stood sideways or flipped on its head
Essentially, then, positive psychology looks at meaning or meaningfulness rather than just a sense of happiness, which by its very nature is always fleeting. It knows that the absence of problems does not translate to happiness and that the definition of a good life is personal rather than theoretical and applicable to a broad group.
By adhering to each of these schools of thought, it becomes much easier to figure out how to improve your level of personal happiness. We offer the following tips derived from positive psychology, and they are scientifically proven to boost happiness. Before we look at them, however, it is important to note that they must be done habitually if they are to offer the best results. Once and done rarely applies to psychology, but especially here.
Tips for Happiness from Positive Psychology Experts
Be Grateful – Study after study has proven to us that the act of conscious gratitude boosts individual levels of happiness. This might mean seeking joy in the little things in life or simply starting each day with a momentary pause, and a conscious effort to smile rather than groan. All of these grateful actions are proven to boost happiness.
Mindfulness – Paying attention to what you are doing, what you are thinking, and what you are feeling is far more likely to induce a sense of clarity. This sort of clarity or presence of mind is described by experts as “paying attention on purpose,” and as one expert noted, may help you “start to realize that we are not our thoughts or emotions, and we will be less affected by them. That’s when we’re able to stay focused on what we do at any moment and become more present with our lives.”
Get Sleep – The body has a psychological need for sleep. Just as you might be encouraged to reboot a computer when it becomes slow and cluttered with data, sleep is a reboot to the brain. In our modern world, we have started to think of sleep as a bit of a luxury when it is actually a proven health benefit, and a happiness boost. The University of Michigan conducted a study that determined that “getting just an extra hour of sleep every night will make you happier than earning a [significant] raise for the year!”
Spend…On Experiences – Another scientifically backed benefit from positive psychology is to encourage investing in experiences rather than material possessions. As a Cornell University study noted, “acquired experiences are less tangible (compared to physical pursuits) and hence, harder to subject to social comparison. The result is that our happiness level doesn’t adapt to such personal experiences as quickly as we habituate to purchased goods.” Additionally, our brains allow us to set aside any unpleasant or frustrating memories from our experiences with each recollection of a cherished experience.
Studies have also found that shortening the daily commute, smiling, and owning a pet are also scientifically proven to boost happiness. Try to adopt one of these habits today and see the difference in your personal happiness immediately.
Science says a positive mindset can make you happy, start using these tips today and feel better tomorrow.