How to Be Happy: 8 Life-Changing Tips from Happiness Experts

By Minda Zetlin | INC.

Smiling peopleWhat makes us happy? Thirteen happiness experts, including psychologists, researchers, monks, and the inimitable Malcolm Gladwell, try to shed light on this surprisingly difficult question in a series of TED Talks about happiness.

Over and over, the same two themes emerge. First, we’re usually wrong about what will make us happy–or unhappy, for that matter. For example, research has demonstrated that people who win the lottery are no happier about that event one year later than if they’d lost the use of their legs instead. And second, happiness is largely a matter of choice. Which is good news, because it means we can pretty much all be happier if we want to be.

Related Article: Is Happiness In Your Genes?

How can we make this happen? Here’s some of what the TED speakers advise:

1. Don’t expect happiness to be one-size-fits-all.

In a fascinating bit of product history, Gladwell recounts how the food industry discovered to its astonishment that some people like chunky tomato sauce. And what that discovery means in a broader context–that what makes me happy won’t necessarily do it for you, and vice versa.

2. Stop chasing things like success, fame, and money.

Or at least, keep chasing them but don’t expect them to make you substantially happier than you are right now. As psychologist Dan Gilbert explains, our brains have a defense mechanism that’s hard-wired to make us happy with the lives we have, whatever those may be. Even Pete Best, a drummer best known for getting fired by the Beatles just before they hit it big, now says he wouldn’t want it any other way.

Related Article: How to Get Out of Your Own Way of Your Happiness

3. Keep challenging yourself.

If you love your work, you’re good at it, and you’ve been doing it for a while, you probably have experienced “flow,” that state where you get so lost in what you’re doing that you forget yourself and everything else. That state of flow is where true happiness lies, says psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and we can also find it when doing something creative, or even something recreational. But only so long as we keep challenging ourselves. Boredom is the opposite of flow.

4. Be generous.

Connecting with other people and feeling part of something larger than ourselves takes us a long way toward happiness. Social scientist Michael Norton recounts a fascinating experiment that proves–contrary to popular belief–that money can buy happiness, so long as you spend it on someone other than yourself. Not only will you have made someone else happy, you’ll have made yourself happy too, a happiness buy-one-get-one-free special.

Related Article: 40 Little Things That Bring Us True Happiness


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5 Reader Comments

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  1.' Rosemarie Audra says:

    I am glad that I am able to write this today, a year back, I had no luck, no job and no money, even my husband left me with my son in that bizarre situation making it more worst for me to survive.
    Thanks to the spell caster and to the money spell and love spell which changed my life as a whole, gave me a reason to live and smile, now I have my own business, my family is unite once again and am also donating small amounts to people who are similar to that of my situation. your own case is not exceptional, for any spiritual solutions, contact Dr Ajith with this thanks ones again may God bless you for me Dr Ajith

  2.' Giang Hồ Du Khách says:

    Hello everyone, Conscious Life News…if the correct answer these questions,i think… you are intelligent…
    ZtmpDbC play now (y) ~>

    let’s like post: What makes us happy? Thirteen happiness experts, including psychologists, researchers, monks, and the inimitable Malcolm Gladwell, try to shed light o…

  3.' Mayse Vila says:

    I start the day by saying: I have complete control over my point of attraction today! I will look for things that feel good today! Abraham- Hicks.

  4.' Aarush says:

    Thanks for sharing such great content about happiness.Because lot of persons are full of stress in today’s busy life.

  5.' preethi says:

    Hi i am a 35 yrs old women .married since 7 years. I have two kids .and from last year my husband is an affair with another woman .but now he says and proved that he left that affair and he wants to leave with me and my kids happily . But i could not forget that incident and still i am crying each and every moment and i am feeling bad for that. please advice me how can i come out of this. Recently my husband said we just had lust not love in this last 7 years of arrange marriage .i was broken more after this .i was wounded badly and blamed by my relatives for my husband s mistake .but i have to stay with my husband for my kids future i am stay away from him it hurts and if he is near i am feeling bad remembering the past i am unable to forget the past mistakes of my husband .i an feeling bad for being cheated badly by my own husband .even now i am with my husband and kids.i am see the changes in him but i could not forget the past this is mentally disturbing me .please advice

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