Harvard professor's steps to Happiness

Beat the blues this World Happiness Day

Geraldine Gittens

A Harvard “happiness” researcher gave some hot tips on how to stay happy, at Trinity Week last night.

Nancy Etcoff teaches "The Science of Happiness" at Harvard Medical School. And her research has proved results like the fact that having flowers in the house really does make us happier.

Last night, at a free public talk in Trinity College Dublin, she gave a few recommendations. Here they are:

Seven steps to happiness:

1. Savour the moment (Look forward to an exciting event you’ve planned, but most of all, savour the moment)

2. Take control of your time (use your time to do the things that you love doing.)

3. Act happy (if you act happy, it’ll have a positive effect and a happy mood will catch on)

4. Exercise and make time for sleep

5. Give time and attention to close relationships

6. Be mindful

Seven extra steps to happiness:

1. Express gratitude (Being grateful for your life will make you happier)

2. Make your pleasures varied and savour them

3. Know your strengths (and play them out)

4. Make your income a tool for happiness (Money doesn’t lead to happiness, but if you spend your money on experiences rather than things, you’ll be happier. Afterall, memories are what we get to keep)

5. Self pride and the benefits of disclosure (Disclosing your problems will be a load off your mind, and help keep you happier)

Etcoff says happiness is contagious, and our happiness will have a positive effect on our friends, but also our friends’ friends.

Her research has also found that people who had flowers in their home for a few days had less worry, less anxiety, less depression, more compassion, more happiness, and more energy at work.

And more crucially, those who have positive emotions have better health and live longer.

See http://www.tcd.ie/trinityweek/friday/ for today’s events for Trinity’s ‘Happiness’ Week.