Sunday, 25 September 2011

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS: The Seven Habits of Happy People

GLEE! Is there a secret to lasting joy? Experts help TALLAWAH uncover the true source of emotional wholeness, by explaining what happy people already know and showing us how to tap into our own bliss:

> Make commitments – and then practise keeping your word. The greatest dreams will not be accomplished without discipline and daily effort - and that process brings joy,” says the Reverend A.R. Bernard of NYC’s Christian Cultural Centre.

> End each day by recalling three moments that made you feel grateful – anything from a gorgeous sunrise to a loved one’s smile. Practise sitting in quiet contemplation or prayer, recommends Valorie Burton, life coach and author of Listen to Your Heart (WaterBrook Press).

> East nourishing food and get six to eight hours of sleep nightly. And exercise regularly – the endorphin boost adds to your feeling of well-being and may help prevent diabetes, heart disease and other illness. “Research shows that exercising three times a week for 30 minutes each session has the same effect as some of our most powerful drugs for alleviating depressions,” notes Harvard lecturer Dr. Tel Ben-Shahar, who also recommends that we give ourselves permission to be human. “When we accept emotions such as fear, sadness and anxiety as natural, we are more able to overcome them.”

> Be intentional in building strong bonds with other people. “Social relationships are a powerful predictor of happiness, much more so than money,” writes Daniel Gilbert in Stumbling on Happiness (Vintage). Indeed, a 2002 University of Illinois study shows that participants who reported the highest level of happiness also reported the strongest ties to friends and family.

> A 2006 Pew Research report revealed that those who attend weekly church services – or any faith-based events – indicate that they feel much happier than those who attend once a month or less.

> Experts agree that holding on to anger and resentment is an emotional weight that robs you of your joy. Let it go. “Happiness is spiritual peace – peace with God, with yourself and with others,” explains Reverend Bernard. In similar ways, generosity makes us feel as if we’re making a difference by creating an environment of connection and love.

> We need positive interactions for every negative, according to psychologist John Gottman, in order for us to consider a relationship a happy one. The point is: Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you, and give a wide berth to those who criticize and deplete you.

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