How to Increase Your Happiness in 2023—Part 2

How to Increase Your Happiness in 2023—Part 2
January 26, 2023

In week 2 of “The Science of Well-Being,” we learn about misconceptions around happiness. When it comes to happiness, knowing is not half the battle, and our intuitions are often wrong. Even if we know what we need to do to be happier, actually changing our behavior is difficult because we default into the same routines. (Note—if you haven’t read the book Atomic Habits, by James Clear, I would highly recommend it to help you to change your habits).

Dr. Santos shares several examples of things that won’t make you as happy as you think they will. Instead of trying to aim for goals that have little payoff (good job, money, “stuff”, perfect body, etc.), reconsider your aspirations and work towards things that will lead to improved well-being. Research has found that materialistic goals often lead to lower life satisfaction as you age, when you realize that things like relationships are more important. We will learn more about what REALLY makes us happy in a later lesson, so stay tuned!

Tips of the week: Even if you already know all of this or it seems to be common sense, you need to practice it! This week’s tips are to practice savoring and gratitude.

Choose one experience every day to truly savor—really think about and focus on why you appreciate it. You can also share the experience with someone else, think about how lucky you are, take a photo to remind yourself of the feeling, or just try to stay in the present moment.

A daily gratitude journal is another way to be mindful of your positive emotions—every night, write down at least one thing you were grateful for that day. At the end of the year you can read back through them and reflect on what makes you happy.