What’s your New Year’s resolution? Whether you’re determined to shed that extra turkey weight or change careers, the end goal is always the same… to increase your happiness. One current scientific theory, substantiated by reams of research, is that we are all born with a genetic happiness ‘set point’. But just because you were a gnarly teen, or mopey twentysomething, it doesn’t mean you’re condemned to live out the rest of your life in emo purgatory. According to Ronald D. Siegel, Psy.D., assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, there are five key lifestyle tweaks we all can make to maximize our happiness:
1. Practice using our strengths, particularly our virtues (ie: curiousity, compassion)
2. Practice internal and external gratitude for what we have, and towards the people who show us love and generousity
3. Savour the moment by practicing mindfulness (seriously, have you ever truly experienced an orange? Its intricacies of form and flavour will blow your mind)
4. Engage in the process (ie: feeling ‘in the zone’ while writing, or heck, even knitting)
5. Live meaningfully by serving others rather than our own egos (my own ego is pouting in a corner over this one, but no amount of whining can refute the piles of evidence supporting #5)
So go forth and be happy! Not buying it? Ok, ok, so go forth and be happier! I just can’t believe that Harvard hasn’t caught on to #6. But whatever path or key you choose, don’t forget that the rollercoaster is what drives the magic. So go forth and click out of this embarrassingly Oprah-atic post and get back to surfing this grand ol’ distraction from mortality we call the web. I suggest Youtube, because you never know when you’ll click your way into a wee spot of wisdom.