What Is Happiness Made Of?
What is happiness? The answer you’ll get to this question too often depends on who you ask. So I dug into thousands of articles across disciplines to get the real answer to the elusive question “what is happiness?”
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Happiness doesn’t appear to be any one thing but rather the intersection of many things. Happiness is what emerges when people develop happiness skills. The more of these happiness skills you have, the happier you are likely to be.
To discover what happiness is made of, read more about each of the happiness skills below.
1. HAPPINESS KNOWLEDGE
What is happiness knowledge?
Happiness knowledge involves understanding what leads to happiness and what doesn’t. Without happiness knowledge, it’s very challenging to increase your happiness because you end up doing the wrong things.
So how do you increase your happiness knowledge?
There are lots of resources that can help you learn what does and does not lead to happiness. You can increase your happiness knowledge with our Happiness Skills Workbook. In addition, helpguide.org, psychcentral.com, and greatergood.berkeley.edu all provide lots of articles to help you develop happiness knowledge.
2. HAPPINESS SET POINT (MOOD)
What is happiness set point?
Happiness set point refers to your mood and how positive or negative it tends to be.
How do you boost your happiness set point?
Some ways to boost your happiness set point is to exercise, eat well, and get plenty of sleep. Websites such as greatist.com may help you with your happiness set point.
What is happiness mindset?
Happiness mindset involves the beliefs we have about our ability to attain happiness.
How do you change your happiness mindset?
You can develop a stronger happiness mindset with our Happiness Skills Workbook and
tools such as mindsetworks.com. You can also check out our Happiness Program
4. SELF-BELIEFS (& SELF-COMPASSION)
What are self-beliefs?
Self-beliefs refer to how we feel and think about ourselves.
How do you improve self-beliefs?
There are lots of books on self-compassion, self-esteem, and confidence (including our Happiness Skills Workbook) and some courses on self-compassion. You can also check out our Happiness Program. These may be able to help you improve your self-beliefs.
5. HAPPINESS VALUES
What are happiness values?
Happiness values involve knowing what matters to you and what is most likely to bring you joy.
How do you improve happiness values?
A good way to improve your happiness values is to do some self-exploration through writing in a journal. Guided exploration of happiness values is also included in our Happiness Skills Workbook.
6. HAPPINESS MOTIVATION
What is happiness motivation?
Happiness motivation refers to how motivated you are to doing the work it takes to increase your happiness.
How do you improve your happiness motivation?
Any of the motivation books or motivation courses can help you develop greater motivation. Just keep in mind your goal of increasing your motivation specifically to improve your happiness skills. For happiness specifically, check out our Happiness Program.
7. MINDFUL SELF AWARENESS
What is self-awareness?
Self-awareness is all about paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations.
How do you improve self-awareness?
There are many apps that can help you increase awareness - for example, headspace.com, themindfulnessapp.com, and soundstrue.com. Another option is to track your emotions with apps like trackyourhappiness.org.
8. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence encompasses a variety of different emotion skills that often increase happiness and success.
How do you improve emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence flashcards can help you (and kids) develop stronger neural networks for happiness. Familiarizing yourself with different emotional expressions, with emotion magnets or coloring books, can also enhance emotional intelligence.
9. EMOTIONAL REACTIVITY
What is emotional reactivity?
Emotional reactivity refers to automatic, unregulated emotional responses.
How do you improve emotional reactivity?
Products including mybrainsolutions.com, or the foundations of well-being course may be effective for rewiring the brain to reduce negative emotional reactions.
10. NEGATIVE THINKING & RESPONDING
What is negative thinking?
Negative thinking & responding refer to the thought processes that occur after a triggering negative emotions. For example, people may ruminate on negative thoughts or expect the worst outcome.
How do you improve negative thinking?
Some websites that may be helpful include https://www.thinkpacifica.com, https://www.7cups.com, https://joyable.com, betterhelp.com. In addition, our Happiness Skills Workbook can help you identify and put a stop to these types of responding.
11. RESILIENCE & EMOTION REGULATION
What is emotion regulation?
Emotional regulation refers to our ability to influence which emotions we have, when we have them, and how we experience and express them. This ability helps us recover more quickly and be resilient in the face of stress.
How do you improve emotion regulation?
You can improve emotion regulation with our Happiness Skills Workbook or online tools like happify.com. You can also check out our Happiness Program.
What is coping?
Coping sometimes refers to using a crutch (like food or alcohol) to change your emotions.
How do you improve coping?
To improve your coping, you may want to check out books on emotional eating, addiction, or binge shopping.
13. EMOTIONAL RECOVERY
What is emotional recovery?
Emotional recovery refers to your ability to return to baseline after a stressful event.
How do you improve emotional recovery?
Websites such as calm.com may help.
What is positivity?
Positivity refers to your ability to think about your life in ways that bring you more positive emotion.
How do you increase positivity?
You can improve positivity with our Happiness Skills Workbook and our Happiness Program. Recently, there has been a surge of products for positive thinking including, superbetter.com, happify.com, and happier.com.
15. HAPPINESS EXPERIENCES
What is happiness experience?
Happiness experiences are the things we do, day to day, that bring us more happiness.
How do I have more happiness experiences?
There are beginning to be more products focusing on happiness experiences. You can improve happiness experiences with our Happiness Skills Workbook or even AirBnB is helping people have more happiness experiences.
What is authenticity?
Authenticity refers to our ability to feel, express, and share our real selves with the world.
How do you improve authenticity?
You can work on authenticity by learning DBT skills or improving communication skills with websites like mindtools.com.
17. EMOTIONAL COMMUNICATION
What is emotional communication?
Emotional communication refers to our ability to share our emotions, needs, and desires with others.
How do you improve emotional communication?
You can improve emotional communication with our Happiness Skills Workbook or online tools like mindtools.com.
18. COMPASSIONATE EMPATHY
What is compassionate empathy?
We increase our happiness when we think positively and kindly about others.
How do you think well of others?
Practice skills like empathy and kindness with the support of resources from websites like greatergood.berkeley.edu, livehappy.com, and ggia.berkeley.edu. You can also check out our Happiness Program.
What is kind behavior towards others?
We increase our happiness when we do nice things for others and treat each other kindly.
How do you behave kindly towards others?
You can practice random acts of kindness with our Happiness Skills Workbook or online tools from websites like ggia.berkeley.edu.
20. LIFE-LONG HAPPINESS
What is happiness maintenance?
Maintaining happiness skills refers to our ability to continue practicing and growing the skills that we have developed so far.
How do you maintain your happiness skills?
Our Happiness Skills Workbook is one of the only resources that helps you develop a plan to maintain your happiness skills long term.
Now that you know what happiness is, go out and get it!
About Dr. Tchiki Davis
Dr. Davis is founder of The Berkeley Well-Being Institute. After getting her PhD in psychology at Berkeley, she started creating online content & programs to boost well-being—some of these have reached more than a million people. As author of Outsmart Your Smartphone, and contributor to Psychology Today, The Greater Good Science Center, and Shine Text, Dr. Davis aims to share her insights on happiness & health with people all across the world. Learn more about Dr. Davis.