The Happiness Equation

What do you get when you put 100 happy people together?

Well, lots of laughs, for starters. And a few common traits, says best-selling author Marci Shimoff, who interviewed 100 unconditionally happy people for Happy for No Reason: Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out.

Among the Happy 100, as she called them, one shared habit is focusing on the solution rather than the problem—instead of worrying or complaining, they tend to concentrate on the good in the situation and on improving it.

Another truth, “Happy people let love lead in their lives,” she says. “Although they have the same kind of fears, pains and disappointments as the rest of us, they simply have different habits that allow them to keep their hearts open in their daily lives.” One aspect of this is focusing on gratitude. “People who are happy for no reason don’t necessarily have more in their lives to be grateful for; they simply focus more often on gratitude throughout their day.”

Regardless of their religious traditions, the Happy 100 tend to connect to something larger than themselves.

“People who are happy for no reason don’t always need to figure everything out to be in control; they live in the fl ow of life, trusting underlying benevolence and wisdom from that larger wholeness,” Marci says.

While they don’t rely on others to brighten their spirits, the Happy 100 also seek a “nourishing support system,” surrounding themselves with positive people, she says.

Another key to happiness is living an inspired life, Marci says, discovering your passion and incorporating that into everything you do.

Also essential to happiness are your physical and mental well-being. Exercising, eating right and getting enough sleep are essential. And,last but not least: a positive attitude.

“The ultimate reason we want anything is that we think it will make us happier,” Marci says. “So what I say to people is to go for the happiness first and all else follows.”

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