Happiness Habits: Instant Happiness In 15 Minutes Or Less!, by Daphna Joffe, offers “18 tried and true psychological habits” to improve your happiness levels.

If we’re all born with the ability to be happy, consider this book the map to getting there.

Scientific research shows that happiness levels are not pre-determined. According to psychological studies, about 40 percent of our happiness is determined by our choices – the things we choose to do and how we choose to think.

This reminds me of the words of legendary psychiatrist and Holocaust-survivor Viktor Frankl:

Everything can be taken from man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstance, to choose one’s own way.

Being happy doesn’t mean you’re never frustrated or angry.

What happiness means is that you have a set of innate tools that won’t let you wallow in self-pity or be downright miserable for extensive periods of time. Negative emotions are part of life, but it’s realizing that they are a waste of mental energy that differentiates between happy and unhappy people.

Happiness Habits

Get active.

In the last few years many studies have shown that Endorphins, which are chemicals that are released in our body when we exercise, can boost our mood and lower rates of depression. Endorphins are the good stuff, they interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain, they trigger a positive feeling often described as “euphoric” which contributes to a more optimistic outlook on life.

Regular exercise has been shown to: Reduce stress; Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression; Boost self-esteem; and Improve sleep.

Strike up a conversation with a stranger. And no, creating a twitter account doesn’t count.

If you want to be happier, you must spend more time with other people – accept that drinks invitation, join the walking club, book group or choir, volunteer, build a rich social life. Active, busy, social people are the healthiest and the happiest.

Force yourself to smile, even if you’re faking it (even an artificially-induced smile has a positive effect on emotions.)

Over a century ago, psychologist and philosopher William James proposed a radically different approach to change which turns around all conventional thinking. He suggested that behavior is what causes emotions, and not the other way around.

Learn to laugh again.

Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh.

Show up. Even when you don’t feel like it. (Interestingly the same advice that’s found in Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind).

One of the biggest and simplest things you can do to ensure more happiness in your life – whether in your social life, your career or with your health – is simply to show up more.

Many people have the misconception that happy people don’t experience obstacles.This unrealistic mindset sets you back. People who get the results they want don’t just wait until they feel like doing something. They show up.

Take criticism in stride.

If a person doesn’t like what you’re doing, that’s not a sign you need to give up and get depressed. Some people feel the need to criticize because they want to express their own negativity. Others feel the need to protect you from your own failures. Either way, you need to lean on your own self-belief. No one will believe in you if you don’t.

Change is an opportunity to reinvent yourself.

Whenever I discover something that I’m afraid of, I get very excited, because I know that something great is going to happen – if I conquer that fear and take action.

Change might mean leaving your comfort zone, and losing something (or someone) you love, but change can also mean the beginning of something new and amazing, an opportunity to reinvent yourself. When change happens, look for the new doors that open. Life becomes a whole lot more exciting and interesting that way.

Failure is ok.

When you mess up, don’t see it as the end of the world. Very rarely is one failure going to ruin your entire future. When you’re doing new things, there will always be times when you make mistakes.

Become aware of your internal dialogue.

Thoughts create attitudes, attitudes create actions, actions become habits, and your habits become your personality, which in turn becomes your destiny.

Be yourself.

One of the greatest freedoms in life is being able to take decisions without the need for approval from other people.  Not being able to be yourself, always trying to change for others or censoring yourself doesn’t feel good at all. It makes your life shrink and become very boring because you don’t risk experiencing new things.

Kill the clutter.

Clutter does not contribute to focus and positivity. A pile of clothes on the floor, next to some scattered toys and dirty leftovers from last night’s dinner create a bad vibe. A tidy house and a neat work space generate inner peace and improve your overall mood.

Avoid the what-the-hell effect.

When we find that we are short of achieving something, we tend to fall right into the what-the-hell-effect, first coined by Janet Polivy and colleagues at the University of Toronto. Its best known to dieters who go over their daily calorie limit, and then reasoning the target is now gone, they dive into a ‘what-the-hell’ eating bash.

Work hard and be nice.

All successful people work real hard. Nothing comes easy, and behind every success story are hours of plain hard work. A simple shift in your attitude can turn you from mediocre into incredible. We tend to overestimate talent and underestimate hard work.

What are you waiting for? Start reading Happiness Habits: Instant Happiness In 15 Minutes Or Less! now.

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