Our overall sense of wellbeing is 50% constitutional, 10% circumstantial, and 40% controllable, says Dr. Henry Cloud, author of The Law of Happiness.
Dr. Cloud said in a CNN story that the majority of people’s effort to improve their lives, for example with their job or a new car, can bump up their happiness level by 10%, but then it goes back down. However, much is still within our control when it comes to becoming happier. He says that happy people do the following 5 things. I’ve added tips on how we can adapt the advice for a happier marriage.
1. Create a support system.—Develop a close circle of significant relationships both inside and outside the home.
Happy marriage tip: Remember to have strong friendships as well as a strong marriage and family relationships. Choose friends that will back up your marriage. If you’ve been lax about spending time with friends, contact one now to schedule a coffee date.
2. Set specific goals.—Having both long- and short-term goals helps organize your brain around helpful activities to aid you in achieving your goals.
Happy marriage tip: Set long- and short-term goals for your marriage. Make them doable. For example, set aside 15 minutes each day to reconnect. Work on scheduling a date night each month or an annual vacation with your spouse.
3. Volunteer.—When you give back, your brain secretes the same chemical as when you eat good food or enjoy sex.
Happy marriage tip: Consider volunteering together on an activity that you are both passionate about. This will help you feel good and will help you become more bonded to each other. In addition, it gives you something meaningful to talk about besides chores, the kids, and work. Not to mention, you’re helping make the world a better place.
4. Don’t dwell on what you cannot control.
Happy marriage tip: Don’t try to change your spouse. You can only control yourself.
5. Believe in a higher power—Dr. Cloud says that those with an active spiritual life live longer and have stronger immune systems.
Happy marriage tip: If you attend a church, do so together. Consider being involved in a ministry together or making friends there as a couple.
What is the one thing that boosts your happiness the most? Do Dr. Cloud’s tips resonate with your life? How much of your happiness do you believe is within your control?
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