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Finding Your Happy: 6 Things Proven to Increase Happiness


May 14, 2013 | Published by

be kind graffiti by Flickr user Dave Mathis

It’s often argued that happiness is mostly determined by things out of our control, like our genetic makeup. I think this may be true to some degree, but I believe happiness is something we can create on a daily basis. The human mind is a very powerful tool, and I firmly believe that you are as happy as you make up your mind to be. Don’t believe me?

Here are 6 things proven to increase happiness:

1. Being Thankful
In a study, people were asked to write thank you letters to people who helped them in some way. In the end, the study found that the letter writers reported a lasting increase in happiness with their new habit. The real surprise: actually sending the letter isn’t necessary; when people wrote letters that were never sent, they still reported feeling better afterwards (though you should probably send yours). Think about it: we have a lot to be grateful for in life. No matter who you are, there is something to be grateful for, like life itself.

2. Being Optimistic 
In another study, participants were asked to picture their ideal future and describe the image in a journal entry. After repeating this exercise for a few weeks, the participants reported increased feelings of well-being. Several other studies have found a strong connection between optimism strong immune systems. Don’t feel yourself to be the glass half full type? Try it out – you have nothing to lose by having positive thoughts!

3. Counting Your Blessings
Every week, write down 3 good things that happened. Those who make this activity a weekly habit show significant boosts in happiness, studies prove. It seems that the mere act of thinking about and focusing on the positive helps people remember reasons to be happy.

4. Focusing on Your Strengths
Another study asked participants to identify their strengths, and then asked them to use these strengths in different ways. For example: someone with a quick sense of humor could tell jokes to lighten up the mood at work or cheer up sad friends. This activity seems to heighten happiness as well. Plus, everybody is strong in at least one thing, so if you’re unsure what your strengths are, it’s worth the time to identify them and spend time putting them to use.

5. Performing Random Acts of Kindness 
By helping others, we also help ourselves. Those who donate time or money to charities assisting people in need report real improvements in their own happiness. Random acts of kindness can be anything from smiling at strangers, to holding a door for others, to spending time with people in retirement homes who don’t get many visitors. Helping others on a daily basis is an act of kindness that gives to the person as much, if not more, as it gives to you.

6. Finding Joy in Simplicity 
This may be the most important, and why I left it for last. The gist is to experience tiny bits of happiness every day. What does this mean? Sitting outside with a cup of tea watching the sun set or rise; taking a casual walk to admire the scenery; curling up in a comfortable chair with a book or your favorite music; a nice soak in a warm bath – these are just a few examples of little things we can do daily to find and increase joy. There are literally hundreds of little moments that bring you joy and pleasure; write down your favorite ones and repeat as often as necessary.

Image Credit: Be kind graffiti by Flickr user Dave Mathis

dr eric bakkerAbout the Author: Eric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specialises in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website:  You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many You Tube videos:  Dr. Bakker’s Blog:


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