See her other blogs at Nicole Graham Writes
In Experiences (consideration, enthusiasm)
Many studies confirm that lasting happiness exists in experiences. Material success only brings fleeting happiness so experiences are preferential for someone trying to obtain real happiness. At study in the Journal of Consumer Research looked at 2 types of experiences—ordinary and extraordinary. Ordinary experiences constitute everyday life—a walk through the neighborhood, a dinner date, reading a book. Extraordinary experiences are those that happen less frequently—seeing one’s favorite sing live or visiting another country.
Whatever your preference, bypass the new outfit or fresh vehicle and spend your money (and time) doing something which will produce lifelong memories. Consider your fondest memories. Happiness, after all, is found within the experience.
Gratitude, as described by a study in the Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, is considered a higher level emotion with moral undertones. The act of counting one’s blessings and being able to see the positive in one’s life is directly related to positive emotions such as hope, happiness, and contentment.
As an expression, gratitude can help one see more positive and less negative, which directly correlates with one’s experience with overall happiness. So how do we express more gratitude in daily life? Write a physical gratitude list in the morning. Thank the people around you when they are helpful or compassionate. Notice what’s around you—are there flowers blooming? Do you find peace on your porch? Does spending time with a friend bring you contentment? All of these things promote gratitude in daily living.
In Helping Others (service, caring, compassion)
During a conference on the subject of happiness held in Sydney, Australia, Professor Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University referenced several studies when he explained that his mother routinely suggested he help someone else when he was feeling lonely, bored, or depressed. As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Professor Post, the head of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love at the university's medical school, said contemporary research showed a profound connection between giving, altruism and happiness.
For example, a new study showed that executives who gave their bonuses away to help others returned greater happiness scores than those who kept the extra money. Students given $20 in an experiment had higher happiness ratings when they spent the money on someone who needed it rather than on themselves.
Journal of Consumer Research. Jun 2014, Vol. 41 Issue 1, p1-17. 17p.
Arya, B., & Khandelwal, S. (2014). Inculcating gratitude: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective happiness in daily life. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(4), 474-476. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1655222088?accountid=10657