AIM FOR HAPPINESS
AIM is an acronym:
- A = attention
- I = interpretation
- M = memory
It’s as simple as this: Focus on the positive things, and you will have more positive emotions. Pay attention to the negative things, and you feel worse.
This is sometimes quite difficult if we read the news: Most of the articles report negative things, such as catastrophes, war, terrorist attacks, etc. But if you try to focus on the good stuff, thinking of the positive things in your life, you can boost your happiness.
Many situations in our lives are not good or bad, but our interpretation of them is. If we lose our job, this can be an awful thing, making us feel depressed. But another interpretation could be that losing my job could open up opportunities. Many people are not that happy with their work but they are afraid of change. So losing a job could actually help them making an important step into a new life.
We can increase our positive emotions by going back to positive experiences in our past. This advice is actually quite close to the daily habit of writing down things we are grateful of.
FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS
Research has shown that the more time people spend every day on activities they are good at, the more likely they are to report being happier, smiling, treated with respect by others, and feeling well-rested.
HAVE A CALLING
It’s very important for our happiness how we think about what we are doing every day, our work. If people feel that their job is really important and making a contribution, they feel happier than the ones that feel it’s just for the paycheck.
HAPPINESS IS A PROCESS
If you think that “if you get there” (e.g. marrying the right person, having that house of your dreams, getting the right job) it’s done and you will be happy forever, then you are likely to get depressed and not happy. Happiness is a process. It’s all the many small things we do that add together and make us happy. And it’s an ongoing process, every hour, every day, and every month of our lives.
BALANCE PLEASURE AND MEANING
It’s important to have pleasure in your life, but if you only focus on pleasure you might have problems to achieve your long-term goals. If all you do is going out and have pleasure, you might never delay gratification. You might never get the opportunity to study or working on tasks that are important to achieve your long-term goals. But only focus on your long-term goals and sacrificing most of the pleasure won’t make you happy either. So, it’s about balancing short-term fun and efforts towards long-term goals.