Achieving happiness is a vital objective, which occupies debates, scientific studies and psychology books. It is common to do everything possible to be happy, but is it so easy to achieve it? What is clear is that happiness has become a concept of vital importance all over the world, so much so that the United Nations has established that every year March 20th is the International Day of Happiness.
On this day we want to highlight the influence of happiness on our health and the 5 keys to be happier, from psychologist Patricia Maguet Levy, expert in couple, family and personal growth therapy.
Happiness and its health benefits
The reality is that being positive and working on personal happiness benefits our health. A state of well-being makes us better able to face life’s problems and setbacks. On the contrary, the problems associated with an emotional state of sadness, such as depression or stress often wreak havoc on general health, such as sleep disorders, digestive problems or headaches and migraines.
But it is important to emphasize that happiness is not a consequence of a more or less fortunate environment, but must be built by each person from their own emotional health, as described by expert psychologist Patricia Maguet Levy: “What is clear is that others are not going to make you happy, not your partner, your children or anyone else but you”.
5 verbs to be happy
Patricia Maguet describes the 5 traits of people who consider themselves happy compared to those who are not. This classification is taken from the reflections of Dr. Martin Seligman, collected in his book Authentic Happiness. These keys can be summarized in 5 verbs, actions that we can start working on every day and, as Patricia Maguet recommends, also share with our family and loved ones.
- Savor: as we do when savoring a dish, it is also important to stop and make the most of every moment of happiness, take advantage of it and create a good memory: “Pay attention to everything good that happens around you and take some time to prolong the pleasant feeling it leaves you with. It can be a beautiful view, a nice conversation with your partner or the time playing with your child. Whatever it is, don’t let it pass as just another thing, get used to savoring it to the fullest,” recommends Patricia Maguet.
- Be thankful: according to the studies of Dr. Seligman, grateful people are better able to identify what others do for them and are happier. Thus, Ms. Maguet also recommends writing thank-you letters to people who have done something good for us: “Take the time to write down on paper everything you feel you can thank them for. Once this is done, get in touch with this person and make an appointment (…) It will surely be an unforgettable and happy moment for both of you”.
- Aspire: seeking personal growth every day, reaching new goals and having hope is also a practice that makes us happier. In addition, as the expert psychologist describes, knowing the direction we are taking reassures us: “people who are clear about the meaning of their lives feel better and more satisfied”.
- Giving: as described in the findings of the Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being study, generous people are more positive and happier. It seems that giving and helping others brings feelings of peace of mind and reduces stress and frustration. Another scientific example is the study by Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, who asked a group of students to be kind to others for 5 weeks: the students who met the challenge reported an improvement in their happiness.
- Empathize: finally, empathy is one of the most important actions to be happier. It consists of doing the mental exercise of putting oneself in the other person’s place and thus stop judging people and try to understand their context and motives. Psychologist Patricia Maguet especially highlights this ability to empathize to improve family relationships and those closest to you: “If you practice empathy often, you will feel less frustrated and angry, less disappointed, and it will also help you to strengthen ties with the people you love”.