Can We Plan For Happiness?

DG-plan-for-happiness_pt1Is it possible to plan on taking specific action steps to become happier? Do we find ourselves pouring effort into improving our circumstances from a narrow point
of view, only to find that we’re not that much happier after all?

The King of Bhutan, the last Buddhist kingdom in
the Himalayas, has decided that the best way to
foster economic development in his country is to
shift the focus from GDP (Gross Domestic Product)
to GDH: Gross Domestic Happiness.  Cool concept!

While most people in this tiny country between India and China are subsistence farmers, they enjoy food, shelter and universal health care. They refuse to make money from commercial ventures that could compromise their nation’s health, environment and egalitarian principles.

gross-national-happiness_wide

So is it possible for an entire country—or even one individual—to raise happiness levels?

This is something I discuss in my coaching sessions. Many pause when presented with the concept of planning our happiness or satisfaction. We know we must devote considerable time and effort to master a sport, hone our professional skills or successfully rear a child. But we do not think about exerting control over our emotional or mental lives, we tend to just tolerate the way thing are.

With sports, or any professional entertainer, there’s a ‘natural’ or assumed correlation between practice and mastery. As it turns out, the same can apply to attaining greater happiness. If you focus on intentional practice you improve.

To become happier, you must have a plan, apply effort and commitment every day. It’s hard work, but it’s the most rewarding assignment you’ll ever undertake.  The payoff can be amazing.

Why Create a Plan or Focus on Being Happy?

Researchers who study happiness have found compelling reasons to achieve it.

Happier people are:
More sociable
More energetic
More charitable and cooperative
Better liked by others
More flexible and innovative
More productive at work
Better leaders
Better negotiators
More resilient when faced with hardships
Higher earners
Physically healthier (stronger immune systems)
Likely to live longer

Happiness bolsters self-confidence and self-esteem. We come to believe in ourselves as worthy human beings, deserving of respect — a mindset that facilitates positive behaviors and outcomes.

As we become happier, we benefit not only ourselves, but also our partners, families, communities and society at large.

It seems to me that the pursuit of happiness is worthwhile. What do you think?

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