7 things happy people do

It would suffice to imitate happy people to become happy. This is what all the promoters of happiness are basically saying. In theory, these claims are true. It is in practice that things get complicated.

Does happiness still have secrets? The hypothesis is unlikely as the theme is approached continuously, through new studies or books that explain how to catch it in our nets or, on the contrary, warn us that this quest has everything of dahu hunting.

But, in the ocean of publications, two sources still refer. The first is the study that two psychology researchers, Shigehiro Oishi and Edward Diener, research partner of the father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, conducted in 2007 on the topic of the quest for happiness. In total, ten thousand people were interviewed in forty-eight countries. Conclusion: to be happy is the priority aspiration, very far having to find the direction of the life, to become rich or to secure the paradise. The second source is a synthesis of all the research and studies dealing with positive psychology. For four years, this collection of “things happy people do” has been circulating all over the world, to the point where it has become a true apocryphal bible of happiness. Among the advice in the form of affirmations it contains, we have retained seven, the fundamentals, that we have chosen to deliver to the critical reflection of the psychoanalyst. Jean-Michel Hirt.

1. They surround themselves with happy people

What the studies say.
Joy is contagious. Those around happy people are more likely to become and stay happy.

Jean-Michel Hirt’s commentary.
“There is something of the order of the obvious in this observation. As if we said that our mood is better on a beautiful, soft and sunny summer day, when we are in good company. But is a pleasant feeling enough to make you happy? Nothing is less sure. We can experience a sense of well-being, feel happy, while being around people who are less so. Or by finding ourselves in a complicated situation, which nevertheless brings us pleasure because it calls on our intelligence and mobilizes our resources. “To take the lead”, that is to say to think, can generate a lot of satisfaction. The happiness of relationships does not lie in dead calm, the absence of tension, conflict or complexity. Some people find it beneficial to be surrounded by relatives who are not doing well or who are mired in problems. The same people feel uncomfortable associating with so-called “happy” people. ”

His proposals.
“It is for everyone to listen attentively to what he feels (emotions, sensations) when he is in relation with others. The body sends signals that tell us about the effect that a particular link has on us. But, be careful, nothing is played en bloc, or in an instant. It is on the duration that we must judge. We must take into account the ambivalence of feelings and emotions, ours and those of the other, but also with the circumstances that color the relationship. It is also interesting to wonder about the benefits we find in the company of people who are never well, and how we replay our own history with them. ”

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2. They cultivate resilience

What the studies say.
Happy people know how to bounce back from an ordeal and don’t get caught up in depression.

Jean-Michel Hirt’s commentary.
“Resilience remains a very mysterious phenomenon. The ability to get up is linked to something from childhood, it lies in the primary and unconscious resources that adults have been able to conserve from those years. In fact, “cultivating resilience” is a phrase that does not make much sense. To cultivate it, you would need to know its ingredients precisely, this is not the case. We are not only animated by impulses of life; there are also death drives that work silently in each of us. Resilience is played out between these two drive regimes. Who can quantify them? Who can predict how this duel will play out and end? Nobody. ”

His proposals.
“First of all, realize that there are forces within us that pull us down, and that others are like a call to the air, to the light. It is by encouraging the seconds, by taking care of them that we can perhaps recover more easily from a test. The mistake would be to try to get up very quickly without going through questioning what made us fall. We know today that depression is also a period of psychic reshuffling, of inner research, and that this time of withdrawal favors the possibility of continuing on its journey differently. Which is also a way of trying to be happier. ”

3. They act to be happy

What the studies say.
Happy people don’t expect happiness. They are active in seeking and experiencing anything that can increase their sense of bliss.

Jean-Michel Hirt’s commentary.
“We find in this formulation the conquering voluntarism of American culture. It all depends on what we mean by “being active” in this quest: is it a question of applying the recipes of the bestsellers on happiness or of opening up a space of questioning on oneself to know what can increase our sense of well-being? ”

His proposals.
“Choose the second option: ask ourselves how we could feel happier. This can go through the identification of our resistances (our internal brakes) and external obstacles, then by attentive listening to the way in which our desire is expressed. In any case, trying to be happy always comes down to developing a form of care and tenderness for oneself which then extends to others. ”

4. They are in the gift

What the studies say.
All happy people spend part of their time volunteering, listening, helping those around them who need it.

Jean-Michel Hirt’s commentary.
“Giving brings enjoyment of oneself. The narcissistic gratification is undeniable. It improves and strengthens self-esteem, and also nourishes our ideal aspirations. Altruism is a cultural advancement, a conquest that is tied to the way we treat ourselves. To give in an altruistic way, and not to use the other to fill only our narcissistic gaps, it is still necessary to be able to love oneself sufficiently, and this is not a disposition present in all. This is the whole limit of the injunction “Do good to be happy”. Altruism is not the opposite of healthy egoism, which is a prerequisite in that it supposes taking oneself into account in the face of others. ”

His proposals.
“Taking care of yourself by listening to your needs, lacks and expectations, then trying to meet them to your measure and in a personal way gives the possibility of practicing an altruism respectful of the other and beneficial for himself. A frustrated “donor”, ​​or one who has a bad self-image, will find it difficult to respect the otherness of the one to whom he gives and find satisfaction in the gift. Openness to others is rewarding for both parties when you first open up to yourself. ”

5. They see the bright side

What the studies say.
Optimism is a sine qua non for happiness. Unlike pessimists, optimists believe that after the rain comes good weather. And they trust their resources to make things work for them.

Jean-Michel Hirt’s commentary.
“There is no question of denying the benefits of optimism. But it is important to specify that this state of mind depends to a large extent on the history and experience of each individual. Difficult and precocious events, an anxious, unloving or too silent family are not a priori elements that predispose to optimism, even if these elements do not condemn to pessimism. It all depends on how each one does with their story and with their beliefs. What is certain is that in this area the will is out of the game, which makes the injunction to see the bright side of things futile. ”

His proposals.
“Only a work on oneself can make it possible to change interior disposition, to revise one’s beliefs and to no longer be prisoner of a negative vision of oneself, of others and of life. This involves looking for events, images linked to his childhood which have contributed to a pessimistic and anxious vision of life. It can also be helpful to remember hardships and successes. It helps not to feel helpless in the face of difficulties. ”

6. They know how to disconnect

What the studies say.
Happy people make cuts so they don’t get overwhelmed by stress or overwhelmed by others.

Jean-Michel Hirt’s commentary.
“It’s hard not to agree with this, but I wouldn’t stick to the obvious meaning of the term ‘unplug’. By unplugging, I don’t mean just cutting off the current to avoid the short circuit, but rather putting it on standby to return to a form of interiority that is not just about recovery. It is then a question of disconnecting in order to reconnect to oneself. Granting yourself this time is a form of self-care that nourishes the feeling of well-being. ”

His proposals.
“This return to oneself can be done in different ways. Through meditation, reverie, the practice of an art, by listening to his bodily sensations, his emotions, his thoughts. The main thing is not so much to run after vacations or entertainment as to regularly give yourself the opportunity to fully inhabit your being, not to live outside yourself for too long. ”

7. They open up to spirituality

What the studies say.
Praying, meditating, indulging in spiritual rituals are practices that have positive effects on mental health. The values ​​contained in religions contribute to the feeling of happiness.

Jean-Michel Hirt’s commentary.
“Taking into account only the material dimension of existence hardly leads to happiness: money and comfort are means, not ends. But reducing spirituality to religious beliefs and practices is a bit simplistic. These can be used to allay anxieties and to avoid a process of personal liberation that allows the exploration of his psyche and his history. This is not to deny the benefits of prayer or meditation, but rather not to take them for medicine. By spirituality, we can also understand openness to the widest dimension of one’s mind, that is to say to being in all its complexity. This openness is done through speech. ”

His proposals.
“Listening to oneself and then to the other, being attentive to the poetry of words, without dwelling on the meaning. Hear what comes from oneself in terms of desire, ideal, singularity, even if it is disturbing for oneself. To hear while smiling, to feel within us the spectacle of nature, a work of art, a reading… This allows us to get out of our dungeons, to pass from a functional intelligence to an intelligence of the whole being. This self-expansion is constitutive of the happiness of being. ”

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