Finding your happy space
While there is no real cure to help you stay happy forever, certain lifestyle changes can slowly and steadily get you there
Imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time? This so-called happiness ladder is famously used as a way to measure and compare happiness across the globe.
The scale is intended for use at the public policy level, but there are lessons to learn at the personal level as well. Find a sustaining and satisfying job; do your best to live in a happy place; surround yourself with social support; take care of your health; and be generous (in spirit, time and money) in order to pave your own personal road to happiness.
Good things happen in the bedroom
A lot of potential for happiness happens in the bedroom. It’s the place where we sleep, have sex and retreat for quiet contemplation — all of which are activities that can improve happiness. As a result, many people who study and write about happiness encourage people to focus on life in the bedroom. A “living well” index created by British researchers found that the two strongest indicators of wellness were sleep and sex. People who feel rested most of the time are happier than people who don’t. The same can be said for people who are happy with their sex lives — they are happier overall than people with less-than-satisfactory sex lives.
Do’s and don’ts
So, as you think about your living space and how it’s affecting your happiness, make the bedroom a high priority: Turn your bedroom into a luxury hotel suite. Think of the feeling you get when you escape to a nice hotel on vacation. Capture that in your home every day.
Invest in comfort. Buy comfortable sheets, pillows and bedding and a quality mattress.
Don’t skimp on window treatments. Blocking out light will help you sleep better.
Remove the television. Bedrooms are havens for sleep and contemplation, not screen time.
Generosity makes people happier. Generosity is one of the six variables found to consistently influence happiness in the World Happiness Report. And several studies have found that people who behaved generously were happier compared to people who made selfish decisions. In fact, just thinking about being generous and kind triggers a happiness reaction in our brains.
Pets can make you happy
Psychologists conducted a series of experiments to determine the role that pets play in our happiness. They found that pet owners were happier, healthier and better adjusted than non-owners. Pet owners said they received as much support from their pets as they did from family members. And people who were emotionally closer to the pets also had deeper ties to the humans in their lives.
Dog owners who felt a strong connection to their pets were happier and healthier. And in one expressive writing exercise, writing about pets was just as effective as writing about a friend when it came to staving off feelings of rejection, according to the report published by the American Psychological Association.
—THE NEW YORK TIMES