Cultivate Happiness & Joy

Written by Violaine Guéritault, Ph.D.

Happiness and joy are the stars of positive emotions. They are life transforming, literally. Research shows that happy people are more successful, enjoy better health, have a rich social life and more friends, have a positive outlook on life and healthier lifestyles, are more grateful, productive and creative, and last but not least, they live longer.

The time for you to be happy is NOW.

Cultivating happiness is undoubtedly one of the most powerful ways to change your life entirely from your physical and mental health to your social and professional life, and so much more. Below are a few ways for you to cultivate joy and happiness so they can become an integral part of your life and of who you are as a person.

Simple ways to cultivate it!
Take good care of your health.

This is one of the basic requirements to cultivating joy and happiness. This doesn’t mean that people suffering from an illness or a disability cannot be happy, far from it. But there are simple aspects of your health you have an easy control over and that can contribute significantly to your experiencing happiness. Those aspects are very straightforward and you are already aware of how important they are. All you have to do is choose to do what is necessary to improve them.

  • Sleep more and better. Good quality sleep will improve the stability of your moods, your vitality, how clear headed you are, and therefore it will directly affect your levels of happiness.
  • Feed your body wisely. Healthy foods and nutrients will make your body stronger, healthier, full of energy and more resilient to stress and diseases. Needless to say, that all these benefits contribute greatly to having a healthier mind and positive attitude toward life.
  •  Get plenty of exercise. A large body of scientific studies demonstrate consistently how physical exercise helps us fight stress, fatigue, anxiety and negative emotions. There is no one single kind of exercise that will bring you these benefits. Any kind of workout will work as long as you enjoy it and practice it on a regular basis, that is at least one hour per day five times a week.
Practice gratitude.

The power of gratitude – count the blessings in your life! Did you know that there is a science of gratitude and that research is being conducted on the powerful link that exists between the practice of gratitude and happiness? Robert Emmons, professor at UC Davis, is a leading researcher on the science of gratitude. His popular research shows that counting our blessings reduces toxic emotions such as resentment, frustration and envy while improving overall well-being, increasing resilience, and reducing stress and depression. The bottom line is that gratitude effectively increases happiness, so let gratitude become a part of your life and embrace the happiness it will bring to you.

One way to do this, is to keep a gratitude journal in which, every evening, you write down three good things that happened to you during the day. It doesn’t have to be big things. In fact, it’s important that you train your mind to be grateful for the things we usually tend to take for granted such as being in good health, having food on your table, having caring family members and friends, and even for the fact that it was warm and sunny outside when you woke up this morning.

Seek good company.

Seek out the company of happy and positive people. Were you aware that happiness is contagious? That’s exactly what research shows. Being around happy people will influence and even change your mood for the better. So, make a point to surround yourself with happy people and to distance yourself from negative and toxic people whose moods can also rub off on you.

Be kind to yourself & others.

Give yourself and others the gift of kindness and compassion. Research makes some powerful arguments in favor of kindness. Studies have shown that being kind is associated with greater feelings of happiness, wellbeing, and life satisfaction. It was also found to increase self-esteem, empathy, compassion and good mood. Choosing kindness for oneself and others is a very simple way to welcome happiness into your life.