5 Resources To Bring You More Happiness
The Pursuit of Happiness
One of my favorite things to read is happiness research. Except don’t call it “happiness”!
It’s satisfaction. Purpose. Enjoyment. Living a good life.
And it’s harder than it sounds.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of:
Once I make x dollars, I’ll be happy.
Once I lose y pounds, I’ll be happy.
Once I get z job, I’ll be happy.
Then you achieve those things, and voila!
You feel...pretty much the same as before. Whomp whomp.
So you set a new goal and get back on that hamster wheel to hit the next milestone. Because THEN, when you get to THAT ONE, for sure you’ll be happy.
And whaddya know? Same as before. Whompppp whompppp.
So what really matters? What are the traps we fall into? What should we do in our lives to bring happiness and meaning? These are my favorite questions and here are five of my most recommended happiness resources (with a bonus item!).
5 Amazing Happiness Resources
1. The Science of Well-Being, free course by Yale Professor Dr. Laurie Santos
Laurie is amazing. She feels like a friend. You know, a friend who is one of the top professors and researchers in the world at one of the top schools in the world. That friend.
It’s accessible, it’s actionable, and it’s at your own pace.
I did this course in the midst of the pandemic (May 2020) and it:
Gave me daily happiness habits to anchor around (sleep and exercise!)
Got me started on a gratitude journal which I do daily and LOVE.
Made me rethink my life (in case the pandemic wasn’t enough…)
Led to life changes (new job) that I’m thrilled about!
Just in case my personal testimonial isn’t enough, 30,000+ people gave it an average rating of 4.9/5 stars. So, yeah. Not too shabby ;)
Extra Credit: Dr. Laurie also hosts The Happiness Lab podcast which is excellent.
2. Blue Zones of Happiness, book by Dan Buettner
Dan studies the happiest people around the world to find the common denominators. I love that it’s research-based and global with specific suggestions.
For example, having sex weekly, eating lots of veggies, having a short commute, and owning a dog are common traits of the happiest people regardless of your culture or continent.
3. Why Some Men Pretend to Work 80 Hour Work Weeks, Harvard Business Review article by Erin Reid
One of my most-shared articles, Erin’s research is highly relevant to happiness. She studies workplace expectations, how men and women approach them differently, and highlights real life examples of how to work in demanding jobs but still make time for family, sleep, exercise, and the other things that drive life satisfaction.
If you feel like you “can’t” or want a “life hack” to find time to even think about happiness, read this one.
4. Mr. Money Mustache, blog by Pete Adeney aka Mr. Money Mustache
The name says “money” but it’s really about freedom and happiness. If money doesn’t buy happiness, what does? There’s lots of data and research within his blogs but some of his best are stories or hilarious rants:
5. Deep Work, a book by Cal Newport
Ground-breaking research by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi showed that being in “flow” is one of our happiest states. How do you get there? Cal shares the research and gives specific strategies on how to do meaningful, “flow-state” work.
BONUS: Jessica’s ‘Daily Affirmation’, a YouTube video by 4-year old Jessica
No research, just the feels. If you need a happiness boost RIGHT MEOW, watch this video. Then stop and navigate away immediately. Screen time and social media are no bueno for happiness!
Some of the major happiness themes that have stuck with me:
Gratitude for what you have
Spending time with people
Spending time outside
Having purpose and meaning
Being part of a community
I’ve found that, like most good things, these strategies and activities are simple but not easy.
It’s a constant work in progress. In fact, I might even be on the happiness hamster wheel. If only I could get more sleep, then I will be happy… but for real this time!
What strategies have worked for you? Do you have favorite happiness resources?