There is a large and growing body of empirical literature shows that people who are happier achieve better life outcomes, including financial success, supportive relationships, good mental health, effective coping, and even good physical health and longevity. Now that’s some happy news. Moreover, prospective and longitudinal studies show that happiness often precedes and predicts these positive outcomes rather than simply resulting from them. So happiness or feeling good helps position people for other good things in life.
We are not talking bout the giddy rush of happiness that comes with a new relationship or an awesome new job offer, but rather the profound and deep sense of happiness that could be described as fundamental contentment and gratitude for one’s life. People who experience frequent positive emotions grow more satisfied not simply because they enjoy themselves, but because they build resources that help deal with a wide range of life’s challenges. Improvements in material wealth and living circumstances increase life-satisfaction, also produce relatively few positive emotions. So money does not buy happiness. It might provide a way to access things that do lead to happiness, but many of life’s pleasures are free. Like the public park in spring, verdant and alive with birds, bugs and people.
While we might want it all, a good living, a comfortable home and to be happy turns out it is important regularly experience positive motions. Experiences in life that bring joy or interesting are what start the process of exploring, learning, connecting, and ultimately building new resources. Those resources can later improve one’s life, offering up new opportunities for enjoyment and resource building. So go explore, see what you find, you might just discover new resources within like, joy and gratitude.