How happy is life

What is luck? 14 ways to get happier right away

Everyone strives for happiness. But what is happiness anyway? A feeling? One moment? Lot of money? The fact is: A fulfilled life does not come about “by chance”. Not even through more success or wealth. Feelings of happiness tend to give us good friends and love in return. But more than that, happiness is an attitude of mind. Do you want to discover happiness and become happier? Then you've come to the right place: We'll show you what psychology and science know about happiness and give you tips on how to increase happiness ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

What is luck?

What is luck? A lucky coincidence? A happy stroke of fate? The coincidence of favorable circumstances? There is still no clear definition. What makes us happy is too subjective and individual for that. Happiness research today distinguishes two types of happiness:

  • Chance luck

    Random happiness cannot be influenced by anything. As the name suggests, it is pure coincidence and comes suddenly and unexpectedly. A classic case of "lucky". Some then speak of “undeserved” or “outrageous” happiness. An exciting contradiction! On the one hand, many are convinced that happiness is pure coincidence. At the same time, many think that we are the “smith of our luck”.

  • Happiness in life

    Happiness in life is defined as that state of bliss when we are carefree and healthy, maintain good relationships and feel really at home and at ease somewhere. The greatest happiness factors for happiness in life are health, relationships, work and freedom.

You can also see from the definition: Happiness is not a sign of life in that we win the main prize in the cosmic happiness spiral. Happiness is not a stroke of luck, but the result of our thoughts and actions. It's an attitude.

Happiness is a choice

Two components are decisive for your own happiness: Our assessment of the situation and the resulting satisfaction. Both are a matter of attitude. Or to put it another way: our sense of happiness is a decision.

The sociologist Ruut Veenhoven is regarded as an expert in happiness research. He is also convinced: “Happiness is the degree to which a person is satisfied with the quality of his own life. In other words, the extent to which you like your own life. ”So it depends on how we judge things ourselves. Even strokes of fate and serious accidents with dramatic physical consequences do not have to make people unhappy. Quite a few experience the proverbial "luck in misfortune".

Whether we are happy or not - it is less the circumstances that decide, but how we react to these circumstances: what significance we give them. How we experience it and how we adjust to it. Those who think they are in control of their own happiness are generally happier. Such people strike a balance between what they have and what they want.

As Dale Carnegie said, “Happiness doesn't depend on who you are or what you have; it just depends on what you think. "

Happiness curve: happiness is not a permanent condition

You have probably noticed it yourself: happiness is not a permanent condition. Even those who think that some have leased happiness will often be taught otherwise. If you even try to be happy all the time, you are guaranteed to be unhappy trying.

Current studies even come to the conclusionthat our sense of happiness strongly depends on age. For example, the economists David G. Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald. Then happiness follows a U-curve: People are most satisfied at 20, in their mid-40s (in Germany an average of 42.9 years) the mood darkens, only to slowly rise again to old youthful heights.

If you have no serious health problems, you can look forward to the happiness level of a 20-year-old again at 70 (see article on happiness curve).

Happiness psychology: that's what happiness research says

Happiness rarely comes alone: ​​it comes with health, satisfaction, stable relationships and success. An essential result of psychology and happiness research today is: It is not our success that makes us happy - the other way around: Those who choose to be happy will be more successful!

According to research, the IQ only determines 25 percent of our professional success. Much more influential (75 percent) are optimism, relationships and the ability not to perceive stress as a burden.

Once the brain is in a positive state, it works 31 percent more productively. An upward spiral of energy, creativity and performance emerges.

The renowned Harvard happiness researcher, Shawn Achor, is considered one of the world's leading experts in the field of "happiness and success". He says, "Most people make the mistake of thinking that their happiness is conditional." Such people think:

  • "Once I'm rich and financially independent, I'll be happy."
  • "When I finally get a higher salary in my job and get promoted, I'll find happiness."

Huge mistake! Anyone who thinks this way stands in the way of their happiness. The external circumstances are at most ten percent decisive for long-term happiness in life. Much more decisive is the effect from within - whether we focus on the positive or the negative in our life.

This is an enormously encouraging perspective: It doesn't matter how popular, well-known, perfect or privileged a person is. We find happiness in life even without that, even without success. What matters is our attitude towards it.

Curious studies of luck

We do not want to withhold the following exciting results and findings from happiness research from you:

  • Happy people talk more. Scientists working with Matthias R. Mehl from the University of Arizona found that happy people have twice as many in-depth conversations as unhappy people.
  • Happiness is contagious. When Nicholas Christakis from Yale University analyzed status messages on Facebook, it became clear that every positive status message resulted in an average of two positive status messages among friends.
  • Memories make you happy. The memory stores experiences that shape us. The US brain researcher Antonio Damasio found that what is associated with strong, positive emotions automatically ends up in our long-term memory. The memory of it in turn triggers the associated emotions.
  • Exercising strengths makes you happy. Those who train their strengths of character increase their wellbeing. That is the result of a study by Willibald Ruch from the University of Zurich. Those who trained curiosity, gratitude, optimism, humor and enthusiasm showed a significant increase in life satisfaction.
  • Recognition makes you happy. The studies of the psychologist Cameron Anderson from the University of California at Berkeley revealed a strong correlation between recognition and subjective well-being. However, this feeling of happiness is fragile.
  • Wishing someone luck increases their performance. Lysann Damisch from the University of Cologne found that wishing others luck encourages them. Cosmic forces do not play a role. But the certainty that you don't have to cope with your task alone, but that there is still someone there who is for you.

Become happier: 14 tips for more happiness in life

Unfortunately, there is no general recipe for happiness or a simple formula for happiness. Neither is the ONE path to happiness. But many: In fact, we can increase our happiness and help him on the jumps. Here are numerous proven tips and strategies for more happiness:

1. Gratitude

Gratitude is an essential key to satisfaction and happiness. Because we do not look at deficits (which we do not have), but learn to enjoy what we have long had - and what is often not taken for granted.

2. Mindfulness

Happiness is a matter of focusing. It is often the little things that make us happy: a colleague's joke, the affectionate message from our partner ... Notice this consciously - and write it down. As you become more aware of these things, you will become happier.

3. Lucky diary

Anyone who struggles with the first two points should note down their numerous little happy moments and record them - in a luck diary. Not only does it make you remember it better. Reading in it makes you happy even years later and conjures up many wonderful memories. Incidentally, a so-called Juhu list works in exactly the same way.

4. Expectations

Above all, our expectations make us happy: Anyone who thinks they are unlucky will hardly experience any good moments. The perceived lucky ones are different: their attitude towards happiness gives them more of it. In psychology one speaks of the power of thoughts.

5. Smile

Happy people smile. The same also applies the other way round: Smiling people are happy! Even they have no reason to. Studies show that even an artificial smile triggers feelings of happiness. Reason: When we twist our mouths into a smile, we send signals to our brain. That in turn interprets it like this: We smile, so we have to be happy. It promptly releases hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.

6. Movement

Just a 20-minute walk sends your thoughts on a journey and makes you happy. According to studies at Yale University, proteins such as VEGF, IGF1 or BDNF are released with regular exercise. These promote the formation of new blood vessels in the brain (and thus its oxygen supply). If we go for a walk in the sunshine, the sun's rays create a real instant happiness effect.

7. Nature

The sensual experience of nature has been shown to have a calming effect. Those who are mindful of their surroundings have less opportunity to worry or brood about future things. The sun on your skin, the smell of freshly mown grass in your nose - life in the here and now. That makes you happy!

8. Touches

Touch also makes us happy. Gentle, loving caressing or simply being hugged and held lowers our stress level and heart rate. Our body reacts immediately to tenderness and skin contact: fears decrease, we calm down, and even the immune system is strengthened.

9. Dancing

“I could dance with happiness!” - It's not just a saying. It's true: dancing makes you happy (and smarter). Numerous messenger substances are released that make you happy and improve your mood. The dance style doesn't matter. So if you need a lucky kick: turn on your favorite music and dance to it!

10. Spontaneity

Plans give security. But spontaneity makes you happy. It is the crazy ideas and spontaneous actions that burn into our memory in the long term and that we remember years later with a glow in our eyes. For a brief moment we were free, courageous, self-determined. In short: happy down to the tips of your hair.

11. Sing

You know that music lifts the mood. This is even more true for singing along. For example in the car or in the shower. According to studies, singing loudly gives us an immediate feeling of happiness. It also lowers stress and prevents depression. Even more so when we sing with others.

12. Fault tolerance

Life doesn't always go perfectly. Setbacks and defeats are part of it. For every minute that we get angry about it, we lose 60 seconds of happiness in life. Anyone who pulls their hair out at every mistake and makes their happiness dependent on perfection cannot be happy. Accept mistakes for what they are: lessons, both large and small, that we can grow with.

13. Challenges

People tend to be lazy. Many stay in their comfort zone. But we pay for the cosiness with negative moods. Our mind thirsts for new experiences, adventures, variety and new stimuli. Those who stay active stay happier. The type of activity is of secondary importance. It is crucial that it challenges, strains, activates us. Mentally and physically. Whenever we exceed our previous limits, we not only literally grow beyond ourselves. We create new experiences of success - and they are harbingers of happiness.

14. Meditate

Many thousands of thoughts buzz through our heads every day. Some inspire us, others weigh us down or admonish us. It is crucial that we ensure order and clarity in the head from time to time. One way to do this is through meditation. Those who meditate regularly are not only doing something good for their brain. It makes us happy, can reduce fear and pain and increases awareness and empathy. However, these are long-term effects that only appear after a few months and regular meditation.

Happiness killer: 8 ways to unhappiness

“Happiness is a tailor-made suit. Unhappy people are those who want to wear someone else's tailor-made suit, ”said Karl Böhm, for example. Sometimes we don't have to do MORE to be lucky. Rather, we sometimes have to shed those habits and ways of thinking that make us unhappy:

  • Humiliation
    Life is not a popularity contest. Anyone who still takes part can only lose. You can never please EVERYONE. Better keep your backbone.
  • Control addiction
    Man plans - fate laughs. Wanting to control everything at all times only robs quality of life. Those who learn to embrace change will be happier.
  • Addiction
    In search of confirmation we become slaves to others. But our self-worth is autonomous. And happiness is something very personal, that is nobody's business.
  • bitterness
    Every minute we get angry, we lose 60 seconds of happiness. That only leads to a kind of tunnel vision. But it's always dark at the end of it. Resentment only harms ourselves without changing anything.
  • Brooding
    There are two things we should be less worried about: things we can't control anyway. And: things that we can control. Instead of “What if?” We should ask: “Why not ?!”
  • Egocentricity
    You can jump through any hoop someone else holds out to us. But you don't have to. Anyone who thinks the world revolves around him is also loaded with all the frustration in the world. It's your own fault.
  • Hold tight
    There is no harm in being wronged. You just have to be able to forget it. Those who stick to the past miss the present and the future. Being able to forgive and forget shows greatness and is a balm for relationships.
  • Comparisons
    Luck is not relative or a zero-sum game. When others do better, that doesn't mean they automatically get worse. Unless you let it get you down. Frequent comparisons are a sure way to unhappiness and permanent dissatisfaction. There will always be people who are (apparently or objectively) better off, who have more or who are more successful. So what?!

Answers to the most important questions about happiness

Happiness cannot be forced, but it likes stubborn people. That's why we answer the most frequently asked questions about happiness here:

Why is the 4-leaf clover a symbol of luck?

The four-leaf clover is rare. Finding it means being lucky. However, it has only functioned as a symbol of happiness since a Christian legend (for which there is no evidence): According to this, Eva is said to have taken a four-leaf clover with her when she was expelled from paradise to remember the happy time in paradise.

The ladybug also owes its success as a symbol of luck to such an “urban legend”. In that case it was allegedly the Virgin Mary who is said to have sent the insect to earth as a gift. The ladybird was very lucky for the farmers because it eats lice and other vermin.

Does money make you happy?

“Money doesn't make you happy, but it is incredibly calming”, is the popular saying. The bon mot comes from the publicist Marcel Reich-Ranicki: "Money alone does not make you happy, but it is better to cry in a taxi than in the tram." Today we know: wealth does not make you happy. But having too little money makes you unhappy. Scientists working with Daniel Kahnemann and Angus Deaton have found out: With an annual income of 60,000 euros, our happiness in life reaches a maximum.After that, more money may expand financial leeway - but it doesn't make it happier. From an annual income of between 80,000 and 100,000 euros, it is hardly possible to measure a connection between money and satisfaction.

Do lucky charms really bring luck?

No. It's pure superstition. Whether the call "Glück auf", horseshoes, falling stars or shamrocks: happiness does not follow any symbol of luck or wishful thinking. Still, many think so. According to an Allensbach survey, 42 percent of Germans believe that a four-leaf clover brings good luck. 40 percent hope that the circumstances will be more favorable when shooting stars or an encounter with chimney sweeps (36 percent). But it's all nonsense. The only real effect of lucky charms is the placebo effect and a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy: By expecting happiness, we notice more positive experiences and the happiness of the moment.

Where do the happiest people live?

According to studies, the Danes are the happiest. This is followed by the Swiss and Icelanders. The "pursuit of happiness" is even anchored in the American Declaration of Independence of July 4th, 1776. There the Constitutional Fathers wrote that it is one of the rights of every American to strive for happiness. Remarkable: In the state of Bhutan, "happiness" has been declared a national goal. King Buthans once said: "Gross national happiness is more important than gross domestic product."

How happy are the Germans?

Germans live happily at home. A study on the "Day of Happiness" came to the result that every second German is happy. A full 28 percent even believe that they will be happier in five years' time than they are today. According to the survey, the greatest moments of happiness for Germans include the birth of their own child (25 percent), getting to know their partner (13 percent), a trip (6 percent) and a special experience with friends (5 percent). However, Germans do not feel that they are lucky: a good half (56 percent) do not believe that they have had much luck in life. Around 40 percent would even make important life decisions differently.

When is the day of happiness?

The international world lucky day is on March 20th. That is how the United Nations decided. Remembrance Day is intended to remind us that happiness goes beyond material prosperity. The pursuit of happiness is not a banal issue, but a need that has to be taken seriously. The day of happiness is designed to help manifest the importance of happiness and well-being as a goal in people's lives.

How can I make others happy?

"Happiness is the only thing that doubles when you share it." - You know the saying "happiness". And it is true: science has long known that our environment has an enormous influence on how happy we are. But that also applies to the other direction: We can contribute to making people around us feel better. We become happiness makers - literally. This is how easy it is to make others happy:

  • make compliments
    A compliment that is sincere and from the heart delights and instantly makes everyone happy.
  • to take over work
    Offer help on the spur of the moment. You don't have to do all of the work. The gesture alone counts. Help without ulterior motives has been shown to make you happy.
  • Give a smile
    A simple smile can infect others in a good mood. It even works virtually: with smileys and a friendly undertone.
  • Show gratitude
    Not only do you cultivate an attitude of inner gratitude, but also show it externally - through words and deeds. A simple "thank you" works wonders.
  • Call friends
    Don't pick up Messenger or Mail, just pick up the phone: Call a friend, ask about their well-being, listen - in short: cultivate relationships.
  • Be a listener
    Listening is an expression of appreciation. No one who does not enjoy this attention. "The listener is a silent flatterer", Immanuel Kant recognized.
  • Give away a little something
    Small attentions are always a delight. Especially if the gift is self-made and without a reason. There is something in it that money cannot buy: lifetime. Think of the quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Happiness is a perfume that you cannot spray on others without getting a few drops yourself."

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