Before we get into whether happiness is a choice, we should look at an important factor that impacts your happiness. Approximately 50% of your happiness is determined by personality traits that are largely hereditary. This means that half of how happy you feel is outside your control!
But, this means the other 50% of your level of happiness is totally within your control: relationships, health, career, and even your applications.
So what can you do to make yourself happier?
We’ve put together a short list based on a considerable amount of online research as well as drawing from personal experiences.
1. Make good friends.
It's easy to focus on building a professional network of partners, customers, employees, connections, and so on because there is (hopefully) some sort of benefit.
But there's a definite benefit to making long-term friends, whether they're from work, online or even from the local pub. Think about it like this - if you double your number of friends, you’re increasing your income by 50% in terms of how happy you feel.
But be careful who you call "friends", I'd rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies any day.
2. Actively express thankfulness
According to a study, couples that expressed gratitude to each other resulted in increased relationship connection and satisfaction for both the person expressing thankfulness as well as the person receiving it.
The same is true at work. Expressing gratitude for employees' hard work will result in both you and your employees feeling better about yourselves.
Focussing on what you have rather than what you don't, will make you happier. Although it's motivating to want more in your career, relationships and even your bank account, dwelling over these things won't make you happier. Being thankful for what you have and expressing gratitude for it will lead to increased happiness.
Something I've recently tried out myself is jotting down a few things that make me happy every week. It reminds me that even if I have have huge dreams, I have already accomplished a lot - and I should feel genuinely proud. It works, and you should try it out for yourself.
3. Actively pursue your goals
Goals you don't pursue are dreams, and dreams only make you happy when you're dreaming. However, pursuing goals does make you happy. According to David Niven, author of 100 Simple Secrets of the Best Half of Life, "People who could identify a goal they were pursuing were 19% more likely to feel satisfied with their lives and 26% more likely to feel positive about themselves."
So be grateful for what you have... then actively try to achieve these goals of yours. Compare where you are now to where you were a few days ago and not where you hope to be someday.
4. Do what you excel at as often as you can
I'm no researcher, but the more you enjoy what you do and the more fulfilled you feel by what you are doing the happier you will be.
Artists are considerably more satisfied with their work than others even though their pay tends to be considerably lower than in other skilled fields.
Of course it's unreasonable to think you can simply just do what you love. But you can find ways to do more of what you excel at. Think about your work and see what you delegate or outsource to spend more time doing what you really want to do. If you're a great salesperson, find ways to streamline your admin tasks and get in front of more customers.
Everyone has at least a few things they do incredibly well. Find ways to do those things more often. You'll be a lot happier and probably a lot more successful.
While giving is usually considered to be unselfish, giving can also be more beneficial for the giver than the receiver.
The feeling you’ve helped someone is awesome. Helping those in need is fulfilling and is also a reminder of how fortunate we are. It’s a nice reminder of how thankful we should be for what we already have.
Having said that we would like to give you a 15 day free trial of fully featured AppDynamics Pro and you can keep AppDynamics Lite free forever after the trial!
6. Don't chase more "stuff"
Money is important and having plenty of it can make your life a lot easier. But after a certain point, money doesn't make people happier nor does owning more materialistic goods.
Think of it as the bigger house syndrome. You want a bigger house and you need a bigger house too. So you buy it and life is good... until a couple months later when your bigger new house is now just your house.
New always becomes the norm.
"Things" only provide momentary bursts of happiness. To be happier, don't chase more “stuff”, instead chase a few experiences.
7. Make choices that are right for you
Your relationships, health, career, and application management tool are your choices. Surround yourself with people who support and care not for the "you" they want you to be, but for the real you.
Say things you really want to say to the people who most need to hear them (but do this with consideration for the feelings of others). Express your feelings and enjoy the small things in life.
Remember that happiness is a choice. 50% of how happy you are is within your control, so start doing more things that will make you happier.
In my previous blog, I spoke about how poor applications can have a negative impact on you and your customers. Here at Ranger4 we want you to be happy at work and be able to take control of your applications with the leading APM software AppDyanmics.
Get AppHappy with Ranger4 and AppDynamics :)