It turns out that we are happier doing just about everything with other people than we are doing those things alone. That means that instead of writing gratitude lists or escaping away to do a mindfulness meditation, we might be better off building our happiness in ways that are social—by making happy moments with others. Read on to discover four ways to create true happiness by making happy moments. (You can also take this happiness quiz to get a sense of how happy you are currently).
1. Make Happy Moments Online
While researching my new book, Outsmart Your Smartphone, I discovered that one thing technology does well is it allows us to communicate with people who are not present. It allows us to share and receive messages so we can support each other as we build our happiness. We can reach out to friends to share our gratitude or say a kind word to someone. We can join a group aiming to do good in the world or offer advice to people who could benefit. We can also recruit our friends to engage in activities that generate happiness.
2. Write Snail Mail to Create Moments of Connection
I don’t know about you, but I love writing and receiving a handwritten piece of snail mail—a letter, postcard, or note from someone I care about. That moment when I see handwriting on a postcard, I start to get giddy. When I read a handwritten message from a friend or distant family member, I am downright delighted.
Write your own letters or postcards to people who live far away, and encourage them to do the same. This practice can generate small, but meaningful moments of happiness and connection. Make it a habit to send birthday cards, Christmas cards, and congratulations cards for events. And don’t forget to let them know you’d love to hear from them too.
3. Volunteer With Your Friends to Create Happy Moments
We want to make positive impacts in the world, we’re just not sure how. It’ll be boring, we think. And that may be true. I once volunteered to direct riders in a bicycle race, and it was painfully boring. But, other times I have volunteered to clear out weeds with at-risk youth or clean out the poop from the animals at a farm. Even if the task itself is boring (or even gross), we can create happy moments when we do something good for the world, especially if we do these tasks with others. So see if you can get a group of friends together to do something good for the world to create special happy moments.
4. Laugh Together to Create Happy Moments
Our happiest moments often include laughter. We can create happy moments by finding reasons to laugh. Maybe we choose to go to see a funny movie. Or maybe we choose to go to a comedy show. Or, maybe we just try to make our friends laugh by not taking ourselves too seriously. Whatever approach we take, laughter can turn any moment, no matter how mundane, into a happy moment. It is when our lives are made up of these many happy moments that we experience true happiness.
Previously published on psychologytoday
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