How to be Happy: 10 Habits to Cultivate According to my Favorite Documentary

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope that your time was filled with family, friends and food.  I know the holidays can be a challenge for many people, so I just want to offer my encouragement in the form of a documentary called Happy.

I watched this brilliant educational piece on Netflix last week.  What a wonderful, wonderful movie.  I saw it a few years ago, and couldn’t really remember anything about it, other than I enjoyed it.  Since my most recent viewing I decided that I will go back and watch it once a year as a reminder of habits to include in my daily life to keep me moving forward to everyone’s life long goal of being happy.  If you are feeling down and out, may I recommend this gem of a documentary?  It is an easy watch with a quick pace, a lot of information to mull over and only 75 minutes.

My take-aways from the movie:

Research shows people who do these things (and some that I forgot) are the happiest:

  1. Aerobic Exercise
  2. Novel activities, novel exercise
  3. Acts of kindness
  4. Seek an activity and find FLOW
  5. Believe in something bigger than yourself (Religion, etc.)
  6. Seeking out intrinsic motivators (personal growth, friendships, etc.) versus extrinsic (wealth, status, appearances)
  7. Meditation that focuses on compassion and kindness
  8. Count your blessings (I use the app Happier as a daily gratitude journal)
  9. Do something meaningful (volunteering, work, serving)
  10. A supportive family and friend network

In reference to number 10, I would like to say that if you do not have this, at this time, remember, everything changes.   Open yourself to meeting people.  Find ways to get involved. Pray about it.

Prayer is how I met the founder of this blog in 2003.  I had just gotten out of a long term relationship, and when I turned around, I had no friends left.  I had lost them all to the dreaded “Relationship-pit”. (You climb so deep into the relationship that you lose touch with who you are and the people you interacted with before your relationship.  An easy pit to fall into, but hard when you reach the end of the relationship and climb out of the pit to find yourself alone.)

I was lonely.  I tried hanging out with acquaintances, but felt uncomfortable.  So, I started to pray for friends that loved the Lord.  A couple of weeks later, I saw two women about my age in church.  I stuck up a conversation and 14 years later Midori is still my best friend.

The documentary tells us that happiness is not found in the same way for everyone, which makes sense since God created us as individuals with different needs. So, what works for me may not work for you, but I believe some combination of these elements will be a winning formula to find our own personal brand of happy.

I hope that you make the time to watch this documentary and that is a blessing to you like it was to me.  If you are looking for more resources to increase your “happiness quotient” may I recommend Gretchen Rubin, she is a renowned researcher and writer on the topic of happiness.  She has an amazing podcast called Happier as well as a webpage with a ton of resources:  https://gretchenrubin.com/


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I love thinking about the intricacies of dating, love and life. I share my tiny lessons in the hope that it helps you as you navigate the dating world.

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