Success is something that most of us want.
And there’s an age-old assumption that success, whether it be at work, in relationships or at school, causes happiness. Thus, many people strive for success by putting in long hours in hopes of obtaining more happiness.
But a recent review of 225 studies in the Psychological Bulletin has found that happiness doesn’t necessarily follow success.
In fact, it’s just the opposite. Happiness leads to success.
According to the study’s findings, happy people tend to seek out and assume new goals that reinforce their happiness and other positive emotions. Researchers found that happy people are generally successful in all facets of their lives, including work, health and relationships.
Researchers say that previous studies assumed that happiness flowed from success and accomplishments in life, but this study suggests that isn’t always the case.
“This may be because happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to be more likely to work actively toward new goals and build new resources,” says researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, of the University of California, Riverside, in a news release. “When people feel happy, they tend to feel confident, optimistic, and energetic and others find them likable and sociable. Happy people are thus able to benefit from these perceptions.”
So, with this flipped perspective the challenge is discovering how you can become happier.
In an additional review, 51 studies were conducted using various types of positive thinking to see if this increased happiness. The results were very convincing.
Here are some ways you can improve your mood with positive thinking:
People reported happiness that lasted for weeks and months after writing letters (they don’t even have to be sent) of gratitude to others.
Visualizing positive circumstances and outcomes increased happiness for study participants.
Count Your Blessings
People who wrote three positive things that had happened to them each week found their spirits lifted.
Use Your Strengths
Identifying strengths and making a commitment to try and use them in new ways appeared to enhance happiness in one study’s participants.
People who help others report that it also helps their own sense of well-being.
Countless people have found these methods to work like a charm, and while there’s no miracle drug to create success, it is interesting to see how a positive attitude can impact a person’s ability to achieve great things in life. Happiness can sometimes feel like a slippery slope at times, but with some positive affirmations, this is definitely a case of one good thing leading to another.