Happiness Is About Enjoying the Simple Things in Life

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.

Can't get happy? It may be a sign of depression.

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.