What if you deliberately decided you were going to spend more time trying to be happy? Do you think you actually become happier?
It's an interesting question, right? I recently read an article where a woman, Dr. Brett Ford, did research in four countries Japan, US, Taiwan, and Russia, on this exact question, "If we deliberately decided to spend more time trying to be happy would we actually become happier."
As I put some quick thoughts to this question, I began to think of how I would spend my time trying to be happier.
Before my love what's next journey, I probably would've first written down all the things I thought made me happy....favorite foods, favorite activities, and who I enjoy sharing those things with and I would attempt to do them all in hopes to be happier.
How do you think you would spend your time being happier? Would you too make a list of all the things you love to do and do them? Would you go buy yourself something nice or do something nice for yourself like get a massage or a manicure?
What I found was that all those things I thought would make me happy were fleeting. That kind of happiness isn't sustainable because it only lasts for a short period of time. But just for the record there isn't anything wrong with doing these things. They are fun, they do bring a smile to your face and they play a role in your joy...but just a small one.
So what is it that creates joy? If you have been following me for a while you know my definition of joy...joy is a sense of being...being present, being purposeful, being grateful and finding peace. The goal in life or at least how I see it, is to create JOY not happiness every day.
Well, what's fascinating about this study by Dr. Brett Ford is that she discovered the other countries, Japan, Taiwan, and Russia, were happier when they spent more time deliberately trying to be happy but the US did not. She discovered that the other countries spent their time doing things for others such as a family member, friend or their community and the US participants spent time doing things for themselves hoping to be happier.
Aha! Finally the answer to the daunting question, "How can I be happier?" isn't about us...it's about others!
Well, that's not the complete answer but it definitely plays a huge role. In the Six Pursuits to Love What's Next, I discovered that 70% of our joy comes from our relationships so this makes perfect sense. Develop your relationships by spending your time doing things for the people who mean the most to you as well as those in your community and in return your joy will increase.
So the next time you are feeling low, don't rush off to buy yourself something hoping it will make you happier, think about who you could do something nice for and do that instead! And now you know...it's proven to make you happier!
Can you relate to this topic? Do you have a specific incident where this rings true? If so, tell us about it in the comments below. Thank you for sharing!!
Nicole Cavey is the Chief Pursuit Officer of Love What's Next. Through her personal journey to uncover what was next for her, she discovered that you can love where you are no matter what stage in life you are in... as long as you know how. Her mission is to show YOU how!