How to Increase Your Happiness in 2023—Part 5

How to Increase Your Happiness in 2023—Part 5
February 24, 2023

In week 5 of “The Science of Well-Being,” we learn that certain behaviors are scientifically linked to improved well-being, including performing acts of kindness for other people, spending money on other people, and connecting with other people. As mentioned before, social connection is important to happiness, so anytime we can share an experience with others, it will generally boost our mood.

That doesn’t mean you can’t value your alone time or that you don’t need time to recharge away from others, but even if you are an introvert like me, make it a point to spend a few minutes engaging in small talk with a stranger or calling a close friend to chat. Community events are also important—have a block party, attend church, participate in the Farmers Day parade, etc.—help build community connections.

Research shows that just being around other people makes us happier. One study says that feeling alone has four times more effect on happiness than salary level. Socially connected people are less likely to die prematurely and less likely to get serious illnesses. Shared experiences create connection, even without speaking—just the presence of others often has a calming effect.

However, we also need to make sure we are truly engaging with others and not distracted (we don’t want others to feel alone in the middle of a crowd). One researcher has given up his smartphone completely because he feels it distracts him too much from experiencing life. He has found that the mind wanders 30% of the time, but meditation can help train your brain to focus. Mindfulness has two primary components—attention (staying in the present moment), and attitude (accepting what is), both of which are key to happiness.

Tip of the Week
Meditation can boost your mood, increase your concentration, and increase your feeling of social connection. Spend 10 minutes per day meditating this week. There are several free apps available with guided meditations to help, or just do it on your own. This helps you build skills to use every day.