No matter what you may have heard, money does NOT bring happiness. Neither do good looks, big brains or youth. That’s the word from the folks at Psychology Today. They say these things only account for about 10 to 15% of our “subjective well-being” – the technical term for how good we judge life to be. In fact, the things that really do make us happy are pretty ordinary – and totally within reach. Here they are:
- A sense of humor. Not taking things so seriously can bring hope and happiness. And people with a hopeful outlook tend to laugh more, which is also great for your immune system.
- Social skills. Spending time with your friends can lift your mood more than spending time with your family - because you see your buddies less often. Also, getting along with your coworkers and knowing how to strike up a conversation with someone of the opposite sex are associated with happiness.
- Free time. Hours spent doing the things you love, not just the things you have to do, can bring you tons of happiness. The best activities are those that combine socializing and physical activity – think salsa dancing or co-ed softball.
- Self-esteem. Having a high self-esteem is good for your mood! People with a lot of self-love are less likely to be depressed, lonely or anxious.
Just don’t go thinking you’re “better” than everyone else. You simply want to be the best person YOU can be. That’s healthy narcissism.
- Volunteering makes you happy. In one study, doing charity work brought more joy to people than any other activity, except dancing! The sense of accomplishment, the social connection and the chance to do something meaningful is what makes it so satisfying.
So to recap. If you want to be the picture of joy: Develop a good sense of humor and great social skills, make the most of your free time, love yourself, and volunteer for a worthy cause. That’ll bring you the type of happiness money CAN’T buy.