We’ve all heard about surrounding yourself with successful people to be more successful.
We’ve heard that we are the average of the give people who hang around most.
But how about surrounding yourself with happy people?
In many YouTube videos, in happiness books, in TED talks, and other scientific lectures, it is clear that happiness bleeds into success in other areas of life.
In the book The Happiness Advantage, the author concludes dozens of scientific studies show that happiness helps your success in other areas of life, such as earning power, longevity, fitness, work ethic, concentration, and so on.
Does that mean that the happiest person on earth will also be the richest and healthiest? Not necessarily. But it helps a substantial amount.
If you surround yourself with happy people, it’s much easier than finding successful people who will hang out with you. Even in a town or city where the average happiness level is really low, it’s not hard to find someone when there are thousands of people.
I find it more helpful to find people who are REALLY happy, not just slightly above average.
These people tend to actually have an effect in improving my own happiness.
Of course, different personality-type’s have different ideal situations.
Some people might feed off other’s happiness. Others thrive better no matter what.
I think for most people, they tend to do better if they are around people who are more happier though.
Another thing you want to consider are people who are funny and crack jokes often. People with a sense of humor tend to usually be more positive and happy.
Also, I have found that humor helps you stay happier sometimes more than just someone else who is happy.
For some people, being around super happy people doesn’t help at all if they’re really unhappy. It may just make them jealous. But no one can resist a good joke.
Just remember that a sense of humor can differ from person to person so find the right type of people.
A great place to look are hobby meet-up’s and comedy-themed meet-up’s.
Stand-up comedy or any activity that you enjoy tends to be an alignment of multiple goals: you get people there who are happy and interested in a hobby you are into.
If you want to take it to the next level, you want to find successful, rich, happy, funny people in the industry you are in. But of course, these are harder to find.
What I find interesting is that all things can be developed.
It’s not easy, but that’s what makes it rare.
YOU can become successful, rich, happy, and funny even if you are not right now.
I’m always looking for ways to have massive impact and you can do this by finding multiple alignments of goals with one action or event you go to.
Maybe you can develop yourself by watching stand-up comedy tutorials or go to business networking meetings and looking for like-minded people.
As far as actually getting these people to be interested in you too, that’s a matter of social skills, which is a topic for another day.
Do you struggle with being happy? Have you been told many theories on what makes people happy? Are you unsure which ones to trust?
I struggled with these same issues for a lot of my life. Adults, teachers, and religious authorities gave me opinions on what brings happiness. I wanted to turn to something I could count on and trust: rigorous scientific testing. Surely there must have been strict, controlled experiments done to find out what makes a human happy.
I poured through many lectures, speeches, and books. When all hope was lost, I finally started stumbling on some books that were actually good. Rather than opinions and cherry-picked anecdotes or studies, they turned to studies done on tens of thousands of people. My favorite comprehensive book on the science of happiness is called The How of Happiness.
I wanted to share with you some of the biggest discoveries I learned from the book. These things saved me from depression and confusion. This will significantly help you live a happier life. Some of these will be shocking.
Materialistic Things Don’t Bring Long-Term Happiness
This was the most shocking and impactful thing I learned. Before I read this book, I was like most of the world: confused and unsure. They have tracked many people who made a lot of money. It turns out that the increase in happiness significantly decreases once basic necessities are met. There are still a small correlation, but the bang for your buck goes further and further down after you hit six figures.
I made it my mission to spread this message because 99% of people I meet believe this. It’s not entirely their fault. Modern society has burned this message into their heads to get them to buy things.
There are many science-backed reasons for meditation. A research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, found that parts of the brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew after completing the course, and parts associated with stress grew smaller.
Studies show that after meditating, you experience more calm, contentment, awareness in the present moment, and empathy. And regular meditation can rewire the brain matter for higher levels of happiness. You also show less job strain and more well-being.
2. Practice Gratitude
A lot of successful people practice gratitude. In podcasts or articles I consume, they often talk about it.
The Journal of Happiness studies published a study that tested how being grateful can affect our happiness. 219 men and women wrote three letters of gratitude over a 3 week period. Results indicated that writing letters of gratitude increased participants’ happiness and life satisfaction, while decreasing depressive symptoms. But writing a letter more than once a week didn’t have any extra effect, so many once a week is enough.
In another experiment, participants noted things they were grateful for everyday, and their moods got better.
The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several measures across three studies compared to other groups. The study concludes that a conscious focus on blessings may have benefits.
3. Help Others
…when researchers interviewed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that money spent on activities–such as concerts and group dinners out–brought far more pleasure than material purchases like shoes, televisions, or expensive watches. Spending money on other people, called “prosocial spending,” also boosts happiness. -Shawn Achor
A study was published that showed that participants saw a much larger increase in happiness when recalling something they purchased for someone else than something they bought for themselves.
Examples of this include weekly volunteering or spending your own money on a stranger. Have an abundance mindset. Know that money will come back to you.
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
How often should you help others? Research shows that 100 hours a year is the threshold you should hit for maximal happiness.
4. Savor The Moment
Savoring exercises are similar to gratitude exercises but more detailed.
When you’re grateful, you are appreciating what you have. When you are savoring something, you are marveling at how amazing it is to experience it.
Since I’m really into food and nature, I can easily appreciate the beauty of things by chewing slower or experiencing every leaf on a tree. Find what works best for you.
5. Practice Religion
This one is optional. Honestly, all these exercises are optional. I suggest you pick the ones that are best suited to you. If you aren’t religious but still want to maximize happiness, try doing all the ones that fit your preferences.
Having said that, religious people have been happier by practicing more religion.
6. Do Cardio Exercise
In a study cited in The Happiness Advantage, three groups treated their depression with medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. Only 9% of the exercise group relapsed compared to 38% for the medication group and 31% for the combination group. It’s fascinating and strange that the combination group did worse, but nonetheless, exercise clearly helps. This study also shows that exercise improves your self-esteem even before your body changes.
It has to be an exercise that engages your whole body and gets your blood pumping. My top recommendations include sports, running, jogging, swimming, or biking.
7. Stay Positive
My favorite study has to be one that followed nuns throughout their life. They examined the daily journal entries that different nuns wrote. The ones who wrote in a positive manner lived much longer.
Most people, like myself, are naturally negative because we were programmed that way for survival. But times have changed. Being that negative is no longer as advantageous.
I recommend positive affirmation exercises and mindsets to re-frame yourself.
By saying things at the start of the day and believing them, I have changed my attitude. My favorite is “TODAY WILL BE A GREAT DAY!”
If you’re really negative, start with something just slightly more positive and work your way there.
8. Be More Present
Long-term meditation can help you be more present.
You can also be more present by simply focusing on what you’re enjoying right now.
Most people are caught in the past or future. People are worried about what will happen tomorrow. Or they are constantly thinking about how someone wronged them in the past.
Forget everything and be in the moment. The best exercise I have found to rid myself of troubles is to turn on catchy music I like and force myself to dance to it. I’m usually alone so I don’t get embarrassed. I prefer catchy, pop, mainstream music but you may prefer something else. Do what suits you best.
Even when I am very sad, this helps brighten my mood. I have to physically force a smile on my face but it really helps. Amy Cuddy, a Harvard professor, did a TED talk that explained how changing your posture can change your psychology and hormones.
You can fake it until you make it to a degree.
9. Sleep More
Research has shown that sleep deprivation is similar to being drunk. You can’t focus, you have less energy, you’re more susceptible to manipulation, you’re more likely to just say yes to things. A study showed that you’re more sensitive to negative emotions with less sleep. Another study found that less sleep increased social withdrawal and loneliness.
10. Invest in Relationships
Research has found the strongest factor correlating to happiness is the strength of your relationships. George Vaillant, the director of a 72-year study of the lives of 268 men, concluded that relationships with others is all that matters. He found that 93% of people 65 or older who were close with a sibling were still thriving. In fact, research found that relationships are worth $100,000 in extra life satisfaction. So spend on experiences, not items. Other studies support the power of relationships over any other happiness-boosting tactic.
Other Minor Tips
Research has found that if you live in a natural environment rather than an urban environment, you’re noticeably happier.
Another study found that the weeks where you are planning and anticipating a vacation show significant boosts in happiness moreso than the vacation itself. So start planning!
Use your phones less. A study by Kent State University of 500+ students found that tons of cellphone use was associated with lower grades, higher anxiety, and less happiness.
Conclusion: Make These Things A Habit
At least 1 of every 4 people I meet seems to have this false idea that you can’t be happy without wealth. It’s kind of ingrained into society. However, you simply have to visit a poor neighborhood locally or a 3rd world country to see that this isn’t true.
There are plenty of poor people with nothing.
I don’t ignore wealth. I think it’s important to be able to pay for unexpected medical bills or your children’s tuition. Money is important.
However, realizing that you can be happy and fulfilled without wealth will free you. There are many rich people who are still bitter and unhappy. They have yet to internalize these things.
The big lesson I learned is that these happiness exercises I mentioned need to be formed into a consistent habit. You won’t see a dramatic increase in long-term happiness if you just do them once.
It will be tough, but it is so worth it. For example, work on 5 minutes of daily gratitude exercises. That small commitment will keep you from burning out and will help you turn it into a habit.
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your actions.” – Dalai Lama
Bio: Will has spent thousands of hours studying the world’s most successful people, especially businessman. He has poured over hundreds of books and thousands of videos and articles to find the secrets to success.
Get a free bonus eBook from Will: “The Top 10 books that changed my life” at https://willyoulaugh.com/powerful-books
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