• The Importance of Happiness and How to Get It

  • From the kindergarten song “If You’re Happy and You Know It” to Pharrell Williams’ 2014 hit song “Happy,” you’ve been taught about the importance of being happy your whole life. We looked at the science of happiness and found a few things to help you learn how to be more happy.

    The Importance of Being Happy

    The link between health and happiness is now accepted in scientific circles. In 2011, the UN General Assembly discussed the importance of happiness to global health. As a result, the first UN Conference of Happiness convened in 2012, followed by the designation of May 20 as the International Day of Happiness.

    Stop Looking

    Happiness is big business with no shortage of self-help books available to tell you how to get it. Unfortunately, this search for personal happiness may be what is keeping it from you. When we turn attention away from what gives us pleasure right now and instead focus on how we can help others, we just might find how to be more happy in life.

    People Who Need People

    What makes people truly happy? While Barbara Streisand’s song says that the people who need people are the luckiest, science tells us that they are also the happiest.

    Perhaps the definitive study on happiness is the Harvard Study in Adult Development. After nearly 80 years of data crunching, the primary conclusion is that our happiness, in large part, is determined by the health of our relationships. Taking time to develop and improve personal relationships is as important as taking time to eat right and exercise.

    Money, Money, Money

    How often have you heard that money won’t by you happiness? According to Michael Norton from the Harvard Business School, money actually can buy you happiness depending on how you spend it. He found that when you give money to others, you can improve not only your happiness but also your productivity. It doesn’t even matter what you buy or how much you spend. Simple things like paying for a stranger’s coffee can give you a happiness boost.

    Next time you’re feeling down, try finding what you can do for someone else, and you just might feel better.