Posted by: Martin Fox | February 22, 2010

Things that will make you happier

A cross-post on one of our favorite topics – Happiness.

Peace out – Martin Fox with the Center for Global Leadership. Learn more about our work at

One Earth, One People, One Global Community

5 things that will make you happier

Clara Moskowitz
LiveScience Senior Writer
Mon Feb 22, 11:50 am ET

Five things that research has shown can improve happiness:

1. Be grateful – Some study participants were asked to write letters of gratitude to people who had helped them in some way. The study found that these people reported a lasting increase in happiness – over weeks and even months – after implementing the habit. What’s even more surprising: Sending the letter is not necessary. Even when people wrote letters but never delivered them to the addressee, they still reported feeling better afterwards.

2. Be optimistic – Another practice that seems to help is optimistic thinking. Study participants were asked to visualize an ideal future – for example, living with a loving and supportive partner, or finding a job that was fulfilling – and describe the image in a journal entry. After doing this for a few weeks, these people too reported increased feelings of well-being.

3. Count your blessings – People who practice writing down three good things that have happened to them every week show significant boosts in happiness, studies have found. It seems the act of focusing on the positive helps people remember reasons to be glad.

4. Use your strengths – Another study asked people to identify their greatest strengths, and then to try to use these strengths in new ways. For example, someone who says they have a good sense of humor could try telling jokes to lighten up business meetings or cheer up sad friends. This habit, too, seems to heighten happiness.

5. Commit acts of kindness – It turns out helping others also helps ourselves. People who donate time or money to charity, or who altruistically assist people in need, report improvements in their own happiness.



  1. Being the list lover that I am, I enjoyed this and appreciate you posting it. I agree with all 5 practices and would like to add one of my own if I may: Belief.
    That may not necessarily mean God to everybody, but instead whatever your particular belief is that allows you the awareness that you are a part of something much bigger than yourself; something that stretches beyond sight or reason, something that for the most part, evades our understanding of it but nevertheless, allows us the capacity to feel hope when none is in clear sight, strength when we’re at our weakest, and compassion for one another. It’s believing that we are all here for a reason and while that reason eludes us at times, we believe and trust that we each have an important role. We each matter in our own way. Believing in this importance; in both ourselves and others, helps to stay focused on being in this world rather than of it and that practice leads to happiness.

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