12 Scientifically Proven Steps Toward Everyday HappinessHappiness and science. Did you know that the two are in a relationship? Up until recently it’s been on the hush-hush, you know, the low-key down-low. But it’s time we talk openly about it.

They’re an all star team together – think Jordan and Pippen with 6 rings in the 90s. Foul line dunks and Phil Jackson coaching.

Something amazing has been happening in the last 10 years. Its called the positive psychology movement. People who are leading it, like Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, are saying that instead of using psychology to simply treat mental illness, let’s us it to make normal life more fulfilling.

How’s this for a slow passionate steamy mind-screw? In the 20th century, from 1900-2000, for every 100 articles published on the negative side of psychology (illnesses like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, etc…) there was approximately one article published on the positive side (things like gratitude, exercise, optimism, etc…) Pretty twisted.

6 Successful Virtues

What’s fascinating is scientists’ recent findings. Dudes are discovering what ancient philosophers have been declaring for centuries. Consistently living a life of integrity and virtue brings lasting happiness. These are the six virtues that seem to show up in the most successful of people:

  1. Wisdom / Knowledge
  2. Courage / Bravery
  3. Love / Humanity
  4. Justice / Fairness
  5. Temperance / Self-Control
  6. Spirituality / Appreciation

12 Happiness Habits

Philosophizing is fun, but Sensophizing is sexier. Instead of just loving this information, lets feel the effects of it. That’s the essence of Sensophy. So…

Here’s how we’re gonna’ roll out. For a second, forget all of the lab coats and mad scientist hair-dues… let’s focus on action. Positive Psychologist and author Sonja Lyubomirsky, wrote a bangin’ book called The How Of Happiness. In it, she identifies 12 happiness activities that are scientifically proven to make us happier. They are as follows:

  1. Expressing gratitude
  2. Cultivating optimism
  3. Avoiding over-thinking and social comparison
  4. Practicing acts of kindness
  5. Nurturing social relationships
  6. Developing strategies for coping
  7. Learning to forgive
  8. Increasing flow experiences
  9. Savoring life’s joys
  10. Committing to your goals
  11. Practicing religion and spirituality
  12. Taking care of your body

Let me take this puppy for another walk around the block because it’s THAT important you get something outta’ it. (Get it?) Performing the above is scientifically proven to make you happier. Scientifically proven!

I’ve known about this list for almost a year, so, has it made me happier? Hell yeah! But here’s the pooper scooper: knowing about it alone won’t do a damn thing for you. You’ve gotta’ actually create rituals in your life around this knowledge and make them non-negotiable. It’s as essential to daily life as eating, showering, and breathing.

Pick Your Favorite

Here’s something really cool that Sonja says: pick your favorite item on the list and just focus on that. Not the one that you think you should do, but instead, the one that you want to do!

I recently started spending 5 minutes first thing in the morning and 5 minutes last thing at night consciously expressing appreciation. That’s right. I sit down with my little pad and just write things that i’m grateful for. This morning it was:

  • my excitement
  • my apartment
  • my knowledge of self
  • my focus
  • my ability to make my dreams come true
  • my past
  • my style
  • wisdom and virtue
  • philosophy
  • spirituality
  • etc…

I’ve been doing this for about two weeks and i noticed something noteworthy. In the middle of my day, at random moments, my mind just starts saying thank you. It just pops up outta’ nowhere and all of a sudden i’m appreciating the moment and all of the things in it. That is big time bad ass!

My Challenge To You

Pick one thing. Just one. Only one. And commit to consciously and deliberately practicing it for 3 weeks. Side note: research shows it takes 21 days to develop a habit. Spend a minimum of 10 minutes a day focusing on it. At the end of the 3 weeks, see if you feel like practicing that habit has increased your happiness.

If you choose to participate, I would love for you to leave a comment below and share what you picked. I’ll hold you accountable!

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