12 Cheap Ways to Hack Your Life for Happiness
People who have intrinsic goals (such as being more skilled or compassionate) tend to be happier than those with extrinsic goals (making more money or buying a nicer car, for instance), says Jim Hjort, a psychotherapist who founded the Right Life Project to pass on these beliefs. But the goals can be tied together for a win-win, such as trying to become more skilled at something that will also help one's professional life.
There are many ties between eating and happiness. Sometimes foods are the focus; chocolate, for instance, is known to have many happiness-inducing qualities. Sometimes it is the experience; just about everyone has had a blissful moment of nostalgia when smelling or tasting a food that was a childhood favorite. Forgoing meals also sends some people straight into "hangry" mode, which is most certainly not a happy place.
Committing to too much at once can result in stress, the antithesis of happiness for most people. Jill Liberman, a behavior therapist and author of "Choose Happy," says some people continuously say yes because they seek acceptance and approval. But by doing so they may be valuing others' acceptance or approval over their own self-respect, and it's self-respect that can actually lead to long-term happiness. Say no and take time for yourself.
Whether they are ordinary or extraordinary, take the time and energy to fully appreciate positive experiences. Being intentionally mindful of what is happening can make the experience more intense and emotionally stimulating.
Elea Faucheron, founder of the life-coaching group Move Think Smile, says taking part in activity that forces the mind to focus on the present is one way to move past the troubles of the day. The activity can be inexpensive and fun, such as creating art from materials found around the house or hosting a cook-off with friends or family.