Are you HAPPY? As girlfriends we want our friends to be happy, right? And, as a friend to ourselves, we want to experience happiness too, RIGHT?!

This year on Girlfriendology, we’re exploring the ‘Elements of Happiness.’ We’re challenging our girlfriends to appreciate each other and be happy we have friends. Today’s journey into happiness …

truly happy shooting star“You know you are truly happy when you have to think really hard before making a wish upon a shooting star.” – Anonymous

5 Simple Measures of Your Happiness

If someone asks you, “Are you happy?” What are the first things that come to mind in terms of how you personally measure happiness? Chances are your first reaction is very simply a gut-check – do you feel happy at the moment?

Like anything else in life, especially when it comes to helping define some of the most ill-defined emotions we feel – like “happy” – there has been an amazing amount of research done on the subject. Volumes have been written on how to define and ways to measure that which we all aspire to: happiness. In reviewing a lot of that material, I’ve discovered some simple measures that always rise to the top of the list.

Happiness TemperatureHere are five quick ways you can take your happiness temperature.

1. Happy people are content with reality. Their perspective on live is simply what goes right gets way more emphasis than what goes wrong. They possess a certain self-confidence and self-trust in their decisions. They are optimistic in setting and reaching goals, then making new ones. They are comfortable in their own skin and are happy to have time on their own. Their own greatest happiness often exists in silence. Further, happy people are not thrill seekers by nature. They don’t need the adrenaline rush or to continually feed the adventure monster inside them to be happy.

2. Happy people sleep like a rock.  Someone once told me that a good financial investment is one that’s making money for you while you sleep. Evidently a good night’s sleep is a great investment in happiness. It’s been shown that consistent, positive emotions add up to a better nights sleep. And being well-rested often translates to being contented and happy with the way things are. It’s no surprise that unhappiness causes stress which causes poor sleeping habits.

3. Happy people are active. Many of the studies I reviewed pointed to a fact that happy people engage in life promoting behaviors. Certainly at the top of the list of these behaviors are things like exercise and eating well, but there are also things like volunteering in everything from tutoring children to swinging a hammer for Habitat for Humanity. A healthy heart and stronger immune system are actually quiet indicators of happiness.

4. Happy people feel gratitude in their lives. If you’ve been following Girfriendology for any length of time, you know that the idea of gratitude gets a lot of attention. Story after story and research study upon research study points to the very positive affect that gratitude plays in creating happiness. The effects of gratitude are magnified because it is a two-way street; we feel great when we receive gratitude from our friends, family and co-workers, we feel even better when we send our gratitude out into the universe.

5. Happy people are surrounded by happy friends. There’s a very old saying that is considered a social truism: misery loves company. In my review of indicators of happiness, the opposite seems to be true as well. Happiness loves company! And that is one of the foundations of Girlfriendology, the happiness that comes from sharing life with girlfriends – close, positive, involved, fun and happy girlfriends. Look around. Who is closest to you? Do you see them as happy people?

Bonus happiness indicator: Happy people smile a lot. Uncontrollably. I don’t really need to explain this one, do I?

Did you notice that nowhere in here did I say anything about a job or a love life or a new car or any material thing that was a sure-fire measure of happiness? Study after study concludes that material wealth is not an indicator of happiness. So when you see that shooting star and wish for a million dollars you might just get rich but you won’t necessarily get happy.

In most of what I’ve read on the subject, getting good readings on the happiness meter doesn’t take much effort, as long as you try. There aren’t a lot of direct cause and effect, do this-get that activities that guarantee happiness, but there are a few that will certainly get you leaning in the right direction.

So next week, we’ll take a look at some of the easy things you can do to amp up your happiness meter. Until then, think about what you might wish for when you see that shooting star.

Keep looking up girlfriends!

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