You Are in Control of Your Own Happiness

July 20, 2023
You Are in Control of Your Own Happiness

Do you want to know the surprising link between happiness and wealth? There’s research that shows how happy people earn more money. How is that possible? Let’s find out in this blog.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness, conducted research on this topic and found that happy people show more flexibility, ingenuity, and productivity in their jobs. They are also better leaders and negotiators, and as a result, they earn more money.

The Happiness Hack You’ve Been Missing

Why Do Happy People Earn More Money?

Lyubomirsky wrote, “Compared with their less happy peers, happier people are more sociable and energetic, more charitable and cooperative, and better liked by others.

If you want to earn more money next year than you did this year, you have to make this game-changing pivot today: decide to become happier.

If you are happier…

  • You’ll get better jobs.
  • You’ll get the chance to work with better people.
  • Your pay will grow faster.
  • Your better network will lead you to even more lucrative collaborations.

In short, be happy to earn more.

How To Become Happier?

According to Lyubomirsky, 40% of our happiness level is influenced by our own behavior. This means that we are not victims of our genes or circumstances, but rather, we can determine our own happiness.

Here are nine simple steps you can take every day to become happier:

1. Express Gratitude

In my pursuit to become happier, I tried many things, but nothing seemed to work. Worse, as an engineer I learned to spot what was not working in my life. That was great for my job but not so good for my personal life.

Slowly, I began reflecting on what I was thankful for each night before going to bed. I started with small things, like the delicious cappuccino I had on my way to work. Reflecting on these positive moments gave me a wider perspective even in difficulty.

  • What are the things you are grateful for?
  • What gives you joy?
  • What did you experience today that gives you deep satisfaction?
  • Have you expressed your gratitude already?

Our forefathers knew better, they began to celebrate Thanksgiving.

2. Help Others

Have you observed, like Lyubomirsky, that “[happy people] are often first to offer help to coworkers and passersby?

One morning in my previous job, as I went to get a coffee, I opened the door for a colleague and said, “Good morning, Steve, how are you?

Hi, David. Is there something you wanted from me?” he asked.

Nope. I just wanted to wish you a great start in the new week.”

That made his day, and it made mine, too. I felt happy all day due to this little act of service even though it did not require much effort at all.

In the words of John C. Maxwell, who prioritizes adding value to people, “People who live intentionally think on the front end about ways to add value. A quick look at your calendar can give you ideas for adding value - you could bring doughnuts to a morning meeting or decide to buy lunch for the friend you’re meeting.”

Researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerland stated in an article published in Nature that generous people showed more substantial increases in self-reported happiness.

Helping others makes you happy.

3. Practice Optimism

Do you see the glass as half-full or half-empty? How do you envision the future of our economy? Are you afraid of high inflation or the stock market crash?

Helen Keller once said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

Faith is the antidote to fear. Happiness requires a belief in a better future. I love to tell my friends, “The best is yet to come.” I say it even when I don’t feel it.

Optimism is about declaring positive things over our lives. According to Merriam Webster, optimism means “to anticipate the best possible outcome.”

Take a minute to reflect on these questions —

  • How do you feel about your future?
  • Do you believe the new year will be the best year of your life?
  • Do you think your biggest problem (job, sickness, relationship issues, or whatever challenge you may face) will vanish?
  • Do you sincerely believe you will find the way out of the tunnel?

I encourage you to envision the best possible outcome of your biggest challenge. That’s practicing optimism.

4. Devote Much Time to Your Family and Friends

John Ortberg once said, “We would be better off eating Twinkies together than eating broccoli alone.” Science has provided evidence to support this claim: we are happier in good company.

In today’s busy world, many people have become busy just for the heck of it. That’s why it’s more important than ever to prioritize spending time with others.

  • When did you visit your parents the last time?
  • How much quality time do you spend with your spouse?
  • If you have children, how often do you play together?
  • What’s your time commitment to spend with friends, engaging in leisure activities, having lunch together, or having a video chat online?

I live thousands of kilometers away from the rest of my family. Nevertheless, I intentionally schedule quality time with them.

Robert Hall, the author of This Land of Strangers, urges us to find new ways to stay in touch with close friends and lose connections even if we can’t always fly around the globe.

Why? As Hall explains, “The very act of meeting face-to-face, making eye contact, and physically touching nourishes us.

Finding ways to connect with intentionality has never been more important than it is today. As Helen Fisher concluded, “Connection with people who love and value us is our only safety net in life.”

In sum, healthy relationships fuel joy.

5. Savor Life’s Pleasures

During a hike in the Swiss Alps, my friend and I took a moment to stop and admire the scenery as the sun began to set. The descending sun, combined with the late fall setting, transformed the landscape like a perfectly lit movie scene. As I watched the sun disappear behind the mountains on the other side of the vast Lake Geneva, I held my breath. It felt like Heaven had touched the Earth. In that moment, my troubles and sorrows felt thousands of miles away.

It’s easy to miss these golden-hour moments in our busy lives. If happiness experts were to be believed, doing less with a higher level of happiness would result in more success than desperately trying to achieve all our objectives leading to our target: making millions.

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years.”

— Abraham Lincoln

Life in your years makes you happy. I encourage you to become intentional about savoring your life’s pleasures.

On the way home today from work, stop a few minutes and enjoy the small pleasures of your life.

6. Live in the Present Moment

Fear has the power to ruin your day and drain your energy. However, have you considered that worrying may cause you to miss out on the great pleasures that the new day has in store for you?

Don Joseph Goeway, the author of The End of Stress, stated that “85% of what subjects worried about never happened.” This means that most of what you worry about is wasted energy and time. Not only is there a high likelihood that it will never materialize, but your worrying also does not influence your circumstances. Have you ever been able to change your future by taking your anxiety up a notch?

The HuffPost reported that the stress hormones that worry dumps into your brain had detrimental effects:

  • Shrinking brain mass
  • Lowering your IQ
  • Being prone to heart disease, cancer, and premature aging
  • Predicting marital problems
  • Family dysfunction and clinical depression
  • Making seniors more likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s.

To quote Jesus, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.

Another danger is if, like me, you set ambitious goals. Goal setting is excellent and necessary to move in the direction we want. However, there is a caveat. At times, I have become too focused on my destination and thus frustrated with my present self.

On my hike, I decided to be mindful of that reality. Instead of only looking forward to the summit, I enjoyed the viewpoints along the way. The present moment, the way up, is just as crucial as the high-fives at the summit cross.

7. Exercise

Research shows that people who exercise weekly or even daily are happier. Physical activity lifts your mood.

Moreover, physical activity can make you more creative. For instance, Steve Jobs held many meetings while standing or even walking around the block, discussing his next brilliant product idea.

Exercise not only makes you happier but also improves your general well-being.

8. Commit Yourself to Lifelong Goals and Ambitions

A deep sense of purpose can bring happiness. Dr. Christina Hibbert states, “Research shows that purpose and meaning in life are associated with the highest levels of happiness.”

I have experienced this firsthand. When I decided to take action to address Cambodia’s lack of education, I felt a profound sense of joy and satisfaction. The vision of making a difference greater than myself motivates me to wake up every morning and dream of a brighter future for thousands of children in that poverty-stricken country in Southeast Asia.

Mitch Albom expressed this idea by saying, “The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, to your community around you, and in creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

  • What is your purpose?
  • Where do you want to make a difference?
  • What do you want to change in your world?
  • What cause is your heart beating for?

Committing yourself to a noble cause will make you happy.

9. Smile

Say cheese.” How do you feel? Isn’t it interesting that by simply smiling, you can change your feelings? Jaime Pfeffer stated, “Smiling absolutely changes the way I think and feel.”

A writer summarized the findings of Dr Isha Gupta, a neurologist from IGEA Brain and Spine: “Smiling can trick your brain into happiness.”

Dr Murray Grossan, an ENT-otolaryngologist, highlighted, “..the physical act of smiling can make a difference in building your immunity. When you smile, the brain sees the muscle [activity] and assumes that humor is happening.”

Researchers from the University of Missouri-Kansas City discovered:

  • Smiling elevates your mood and creates a sense of well-being.
  • Smiling induces more pleasure in the brain than chocolate.
  • Even a forced smile can lead to a mood boost.
  • Smiles can predict fulfillment in marriage.
  • Smiling makes you seem courteous, likable, and competent.
  • The span of a person’s smile can predict lifespan.
  • Smiling is contagious.

So get set…SMILE!

The Takeaway

So, there you have it - the secret to becoming happy and earning more money.  It's no surprise that happy people exhibit better thinking, higher productivity, and enhanced leadership and negotiation skills, all of which result in higher income. But our focus shouldn't solely be on money. Instead, we should prioritize our happiness and fulfillment, as they can have a greater impact on the amount of money we make than even the best investment strategies.

As the Apostle Paul once said, “Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow for you are united with the Anointed One.”

So take control of your own happiness today and start living your best life.

Free Book Preview

Get the first chapter of Single For A Season for free!

Book Single For A Season
Enter Your Name and Email Below

When you sign up, you'll receive regular emails with additional free content.
Explore the strategies and tools that help you unlock meaning in every season of life.
© 2024 – All rights reserved
Cookie Policy