There is no route to happiness, nor are there any barriers to achieving it. “Happiness doesn't depend on how old you are or how much money you make, whether you’re male or female, or what race you belong to,” says one philosopher. “It does depend on certain personality traits, whether your work suits your skills, whether you have close relationships and an active religious faith.”
Happiness also depends on cultural contexts. In studies comparing Western and Chinese views of happiness, individuals in the West define happiness as an internal state, one that relies on internal contentment, whereas the Chinese place greater emphasis on interpersonal factors, such as extroversion, dutifulness, and achievement, also affect an individual’s sense of happiness.
The best predictors of happiness are the characteristics of good psychological health: high esteem, optimism, extroversion, and a sense of being in control. In addition to these four key traits, happy people are more likely to have healthy and fit bodies; realistic goals and expectations; supportive friendships; an intimate, sexually warm marriage; and a faith that provides support, purpose, and acceptance.
How to be happy
- Make time for yourself. It’s impossible to meet the needs of others without fulfilling you own.
- Invest yourself in closeness. Give your loved ones the gift of your time and caring.
- Work hard at what you like. Search for challenges that satisfy your need to do something meaningful.
- Be upbeat. If you always look for what’s wrong with yourself or your life, you’ll find it and feel even worse.
- Organize but stay loose. Be ready to seize an unexpected opportunity to try something different.
Although no one has absolute control over destiny there is a great deal that we can do to control how we think, feel, and behave. By assessing our life situations realistically, we can make plans and preparations that allow us to make the most of our circumstances. By doing so, we gain a sense of mastery. In worldwide surveys, people who feel in control of their lives report greater psychological well-being than those who do not as well as extraordinary positive feelings of HAPPINESS.
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