We all want to be happy right? Happy with what we have in life and happy in our careers, business and relationships. Well, today I am going to regurgitate what has already been said about happiness. However, sometimes a different viewpoint or voice on the matter, can add another ingredient to the pie.

But before I go into the regurgitating, let me first start off with what won’t make you happy or happier. Incidentally, if you would like to know if happiness is just a choice you can read about that here.

What Won’t Make You Happy

Many people often say they will be happy when…and this is counterproductive to happiness.

I will be happy when…

  • “I get a new job”
  • “My business starts going well”
  • “I am earning more money”
  • “(add in your own reason/want)”

It sounds logical to assume that more money will make us happier especially when we are short or have none. But it won’t, well not longer term anyway.

The Hedonist Treadmill

Gains in virtually anything will not make us happier. Let’s say that you came into a windfall and your finances were boosted. This will only make you happier, according to research, for about 3 months. It is the same with work. If your wish is to be happier ‘when you get that promotion’, again, you will experience a temporary surge in your happiness levels.

After about 3 months, which psychologists have recorded is the average time we will experience that uplift on our happy-ometer, you will simply revert back to the level of happiness you were before you got the windfall or the promotion.

Psychologists refer to this as the hedonistic treadmill. Like the hamster wheel, you will be going nowhere longer term with regards to your happiness. So try and eliminate any thoughts of “I will be happy when….”

So What Does Make us Happy?

You may have heard of the extensive research that has been conducted by Harvard university on happiness. The results were published a couple of years ago.

Robert Waldinger was the Harvard psychiatrist who took over the 75 year study of happiness, which started way back in 1938.

Without going into the details of the work here, I will just share the one factor that the study concluded that will not only make you happier, but healthier too!

Over 75 years of meticulous study and painstaking research it concluded that relationships are the key to happiness.

Meaningful, kind and loving relationships. The people in the longest ever study on happiness had loving, meaningful relationships.

Social media “relationships” like on Facebook have no bearing. They are, in other words, worthless as far as your happiness goes (Other studies suggest the opposite; social media causes unhappiness. I blogged about this before).

So not money or a new car; not fame or a new house but relationships.

Nurture Your Relationships and Become Happier and Healthier

So there you have it. Take time out to nourish your relationships with your other half, family and friends. Go out of your way to be more loving, more friendly towards your friends.

In my lifetime, and to my cost, I have learned that relationships need as much time, focus and care as do our passions in life.

Clicking like on a facebook post is not going to cut the mustard. Go and see someone in the real world. If you know a person who is currently lonely go and visit them. As Robert Waldinger says, he does it more often because he knows how much it will mean to them. And how good for their health it is too!

If you want to see the Tedtalk by Robert Waldinger and I recommend you do, you can do so here.