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How Do We Cultivate Happiness?


Socialize, exercise and give thanks for a happy life.

If given the chance, most of us would want to be happier. But how? Aren’t we naturally wired to be happy or unhappy? While personality does partly determine happiness, we can change our thoughts and behaviors to cultivate more happiness in our daily lives.


Attitude of gratitude

Research shows us that people who keep a gratitude journal are 25 percent happier, reported fewer health complaints and exercised more. Leaf Van Boven, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, says that keeping a daily gratitude journal is one of the most valuable happiness practices we can do.

“Increasing gratitude in our lives makes it easier to see life’s positive side,” he says. “A gratitude list is an intentional action that leads to greater happiness.”

Connect with others

When expressing gratitude, give thanks for family, friends and acquaintances because they contribute greatly to our happiness. Spend time with friends and family regularly. Even a phone call works wonders. Join a social club or attend church regularly. Group fitness classes and outdoor activities provide a happiness double whammy because of exercise’s mood-boosting benefits.

The bright side of senior living

Regardless of what happiness route you take, remember that statistically, older adults report higher levels of positive emotions than younger folks.

“Seniors tend to be happier on a moment-to-moment basis,” says Van Boven. “As we age, we stop worrying about the small things. We stop thinking about trying to bring about a future outcome. When you let go of that, things change.”