- Talk to strangers.
- Answer the phone with good cheer.
- Be willing to be enthusiastic.
It can feel generous and fun-loving to urge people to take another piece of cake or to make another purchase. But when you see people trying to resist temptation, support them.
- Do you have a favorite color? A lucky number?
- Would you rather be in a long, quick-moving line or a short, slow-moving line?
- What’s your happiest time of day?
One of the best predictors of whether a person will be happy in the future is whether he or she has been happy in the past. If you’re interviewing for a job with a boss who seems generally dissatisfied, you might predict that this boss wouldn’t be happy with you (and vice versa). If you’re thinking of sharing an apartment with someone who is very down all the time, you might want to choose a different roommate.
Laughter is more than just a pleasurable activity. It can boost immunity and lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. It’s a source of social bonding and helps to reduce conflict and cushion social stress. When people laugh together, they tend to talk and touch more. So go ahead — indulge in those silly YouTube videos, repeat dumb jokes, tune in to your favorite comedians, and generally relish any chance for laughter.
Research suggests that spending money on an experience brings more happiness than buying a possession, so instead of buying that new shirt or piece of jewelry, use money to plan a party, go to a concert, or visit a new neighborhood or a new city.
Novelty and challenge serve as important engines of happiness; we’re happiest when we have new experiences. Even small steps, such as going to new restaurants or seeing different sets of friends, can give us a boost. In fact, positive events make us happier when they’re not predictable, because the surprise makes the experience more intense.
“When one loves, one does not calculate.”
— St. Thérèse of Lisieux
- The quickest way to progress from A to B is not to work the hardest.
- It’s easier to prevent pain than to squelch it (literally and figuratively).
- Where you start makes a big difference in where you end up.