A Surprising Key to Happiness

August 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

Father and son on a pier relaxing together

Looking for happiness? Recently a client shared this study that links happiness with a trait that may surprise you.

Most people’s natural inclination, ask any teenager, is to believe that doing nothing or following as easy a route in life as possible, whether lounging around all day or eating without hunger or spending money as the whim overtakes you, THOSE actions must be the route to true and lasting happiness.

This study, and others before it, found that the more self-control study participants reported having, the happier they were. This happiness was reported both in the short-term, long-term and for overall ‘life satisfaction.’

So how do these happy people mange their natural cravings? Are they just scolding themselves all day and in every situation?

It turns out that self-controlled, happy people carefully think through situations so as not to put themselves in conditions that would leave them LESS able to control their impulses.

For instance, this is a finance column so what if shopping is a weakness in which you find yourself tempted to blow the budget? Don’t make shopping a hobby. Find other things to do with friends or by yourself. Walk, hike, bike with friends or solo. Get involved with a local charity for a few hours or for a weekend. Hang out with friends at the lake or even help paint a friend’s apartment. Get busy doing other activities that don’t require spending money. Read, cook for an infirm neighbor.

Make savings automatic. Freeze the credit cards in a block of ice. Hang out with friends who value frugality and like to go to yard sales.

What other steps might you take? Whatever you do you need to make the behavior fit your life. Carefully consider your areas of weakness. Then tweak the situation to make self-control simpler. You’ll be happier. (CR9386)

To read the study yourself


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