Hank Smith, a seminary instructor, spoke at BYU on the topic "The Science of Happiness." Brother Smith explained that the number 1 contributor to happiness, according to Dr. Martin Seligman, was the quality of a person's social circle. "He (Dr. Seligman) indicate that why women live longer than men is because they have bigger social circles," said Brother Smith. "There is a myth that when a man's wife dies he will go quickly behind because he can't take care of himself. But this is not true. A man soon dies after his spouse because he doesn't have a social circle upon which he can rely.
Kate Bratskeir, a happiness researcher, took data from multiple happiness studies from the past 40 years and put together a list of what she called “The Habits of Supremely Happy People,” said Brother Smith. “Some of the things on her list will be things you already know.”
Ten things that supremely happy people do:
1. Happy people surround themselves with other happy people. Joy is contagious. People are four times more likely to be happy in the future with happy people around them.
2. Happy people try to be happy. When happy people don’t feel happy, they cultivate a happy thought and smile about it.
3. Happy people spend money more on others than they spend on themselves. Givers experience what scientists call the “helper’s high.”
4. Happy people have deep in-person conversations. Sitting down to talk about what makes a person tick is a good practice for feeling good about life.
5. Happy people use laughter as a medicine. A good old-fashioned chuckle releases lots of good neurotransmitters. A study showed that children on average laugh 300 times a day versus adults who laugh 15 times a day.
6. Happy people use the power of music. Researchers found that music can match the anxiety-reducing effects of massage therapy.
7. Happy people exercise and eat a healthful diet. Eating a poor diet can contribute to depression.
8. Happy people take the time to unplug and go outside. Uninterrupted screen time brings on depression and anxiety.
9. Happy people get enough sleep. When people run low on sleep, they are prone to feel a lack of clarity, bad moods, and poor judgment.
10. Happy people are spiritual.
In closing, Brother Smith shared the words of author Victor Frankl from his book Man’s Search for Meaning: “Even the helpless victim of a hopeless situation, facing a fate he cannot change, may rise above himself, may grow beyond himself. He may turn personal tragedy into triumph.”
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