Modern Day Matchmaker: How to Be Happier In or Out of A Relationship

How to Be Happier In or Out of Relationship
ESSENCE.COM May, 29, 2012

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That’s what our marriage counselor told my wife and I a few days before we jumped the broom. At the time, I didn’t get it. I thought that, as a couple, we were supposed to complete each other, and therefore make each other happy. It didn’t fully register until a few years into our marriage that no matter how well intentioned my wife or I were, we could not “change” each other. Therefore our ability to “make” each other happy was futile. If you are struggling with your own happiness, whether or not you’re in a relationship, the following are 14 things you must know.

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This means more putt-putt golf and vacations. Fewer cars and new TV’s. In a survey from the Journal of Consumer Psychology, people were asked which of two purchases made them happier, fully 57% of respondents reported that they had derived greater happiness from their experiential purchase, while only 34% reported greater happiness from their material purchase.

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There are three keys to happiness. You must have all: 1) Pleasure (stuff that feels good in the moment – go anywhere you want with that statement…lol), 2) Meaning (belief/religion/philosophy), 3) Engagement (interaction with family & friends.)

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Don’t think Diddy is truly any happier than you. Well, on second thought, Diddy might be, but know the super-wealthy aren’t that much happier than the average person. Studies show once you make 75K a year, more money doesn’t make you all that much happier.

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Exercise and religion both make us happy and it’s because they provide small boosts to well-being on a regular basis. Although, I did once workout at my church and it was a miserable experience.

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Happiness expert Daniel Gilbert, who wrote the book Stumbling on Happiness, in an interview I once saw him do stated ”We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends."

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It’s the first of the month, you just got paid, and you’re thinking making it rain on yourself is the quickest route to happiness. WRONG! Several studies show that those that give or what’s called buy “pro-socially” (ex: day-to-day activities that include friends and family) are happier than those that simply spend on personal items.

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Research by Nicholas Christakis, a social scientist and internist at Harvard, states “the reality is straightforward: our friends strongly shape our behavior. We imagine ourselves as individuals, responsible for our own choices and emotions, but that sense of independence is a romantic myth. There is no wall between people.” So this means happier friends, happier you!

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People who set conservative goals have a harder time achieving satisfaction than those who set ambitious goals. This is according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

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Thinking about the absence of a positive event from your life allows you to better appreciate the presence of that positive event in your life. Try it.

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Take a few minutes to write down five things you’re grateful for each week. Do this for 10 weeks. Studies show those that follow this simple exercise exhibit higher levels of happiness.

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“Thank you” is one of the most powerful word combinations. Use it often but use it genuinely. The result is a sense of overwhelming gratitude.

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I found this to be fascinating, here are the happiest and least happy places in the world:

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Jamaica, on the beach, Red Stripe in one hand, favorite book in the other. Not much else needed to explain here.

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The Psychology of Science reports that we experience an independent increase in positive mood when we think fast rather than slow. Therefore, I’m going to need everyone to read this entire blog post again, but do it in 30 seconds.

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Need more dating advice? I’m here for you. Find me on Twitter or Facebook any time.