When it comes to the perils of give-me-itis, it's easy to be clueless like Cher, Alicia Silverstone's character in the movie -- you guessed it -- Clueless, and to believe that owning the latest fashion brings enduring happiness. The truth is you can't buy happiness because happiness really isn't for sale. Besides, even the kindest-hearted folks can turn antisocial and self-centered when surrounded by a media environment that says "you gotta have this -- now." What can actually follow are depression and isolation.
The formula for genuine happiness is being generous of spirit and being able to count on others, plus focusing on what you have -- not on what you don't have. Here's how to do that:
- Volunteer. Share some of your time by volunteering at a school, library, hospital, or any organization that needs a helping hand. Research shows that you'll live longer and younger. That should make you happier.
- Count your blessings. Really count them. It's important to be conscious of your blessings to appreciate them.
- Get a workout partner. Connections and health are the strongest predictors of happiness. Get going using the buddy system!
- Create healthy family dinners. This boosts your happiness two ways: First you cut out fattening foods by eliminating added sugars, syrups, saturated fat, and trans fat, and any grain that isn't 100% whole. Heavy hips and a heavy heart make for the blues. Second, you'll create family bonding, which increases your sense of security and identity.
- Have an adventure. Time (and money) spent on doing something brings greater happiness than money spent on getting something.
- Get joy from intimacy. A talk with a friend, a hug, cuddling, and shared passion are all forms of intimacy.