How to Hack Happiness in 2014

Google trends shows strong upward movement around the term Happiness. Of course, this is driven by uses of the word such as Quarterback Brett Smith finding happiness in Wyoming but overall, the trend is indicative of a world that is seeking to learn more about happiness and endeavoring to find ways to become and remain happy.

Night School Photo by Director, Piya Jacob

Night Labyrinth

My friend’s husband, Dr. Celestino Fernandez has begun teaching a class at the University of Arizona on the “Pursuit of Happiness.” Next semester will be the third offering and each time, the class has maxed out with over 500 students. This prompted Celestino to conduct a series of outside lectures on Happiness and each time, there have been overflow crowds. Frankly, he’s a brilliant scholar and many choose to attend simply to hear Dr. Fernandez but this pursuit of happiness has become a big deal.

Disruption has also become a big deal. Everyday I read an article on the next disruptive technology or business model from crowd souring to USB ports to eatwith.com. It appears in every conventional model or idea, the new economy is hacking a direct, more immediate, cheaper way to accomplish the same things. So why not approach this subject of happiness with the same energy and verve. Let’s hack it directly – now.

Here is my 2014 wish for all of you, courtesy of Dr. Fernandez and others’ academic research:

  1. Make time for family and friends. Schedule it on a calendar now.
  2. Get moving –  preferably outdoors within nature. Go for a New Year’s day hike or walk preferably with family or friends.
  3. Find quiet time. Try meditation if only for a few minutes while looking at something green and growing. Put this reminder on your scheduling device.
  4. Create “beautiful” spaces inside or outside of your home. This is a place that will make you smile when you see it. Take a look around and plan a project to accomplish this year. Is it a garden? Making a room more serene with a different color? Adding comfortable cushions to sit on?
  5. Smile and laugh more. It’s contagious. Rent a funny movie.
  6. Help others, give to those less fortunate and volunteer – any form of doing for others increases one’s happiness. Figure out which causes you are more passionate about and then seek out organizations that address those causes. What volunteer opportunities do they have? Is this yet another way to spend time with friends and family?
  7. No matter your faith, practicing spirituality leads to increased well-being. Pray. Go to church if you have one. Find one if you don’t. Read about ways that others have benefitted from incorporating more spirituality into their lives.
  8. Practice compassion and forgiveness. Let go of emotions that keep you tied to unhappiness and stress.
  9. While money doesn’t “buy” happiness, it is does help one to feel secure. Cut your costs. Make a budget. Consider developing a financial plan.
  10. Take care of your health. Being in good physical and mental health has a direct correlation to well-being.

In the language of the Hopi, “Soosokmuy sinmuy amungem mongvastiqw pu’ piw haalayyani”

Translated: For all the people let there be prosperity and happiness

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59 Comments

  1. That’s the loveliest night labyrinth I’ve ever seen! Thank you for the beautiful wishes, it’s a wonderful list! May 2014 bring lots of happiness to you and your loved ones as well! :)

    Reply
  2. Those community lectures on happiness were amazing. Held in downtown Tucson in a huge theatre and then they had to open an auxiliary room in a corporate headquarters some blocks away to accommodate the crowds. All this despite the fact that lots of people don’t want to go to downtown Tucson and they had to pay for parking. Such a draw. Why the current interest in happiness? Have we set ourselves up in lives that preclude happiness or are we by dint of not facing daily starvation further along on the scale of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs so that we can put effort into happiness?

    Reply
    • I heard that the lectures went into spillover rooms! I believe that there is a lack of happiness and I do also have a specific theory – although not scientifically proven. I do believe that there are some societal changes which cause more anxiety but more importantly, I believe we have come to far from things that reduce the anxiety. What things? Hand work. Wood working, crochet, needlepoint, sewing, stirring a fat pot of goodness, tending to the houseplants, etc.. Not only are these genuine outlets in terms of being artistic endeavors but the repetitive motion of handwork creates seratonin in the brain – the happy factor. Just a theory…

      Reply
      • I think it’s a good theory, Tammy. The work of running a household has transformed over time ~ we engage in fewer calming and soothing chores.

        Reply
  3. This is a wonderful post, Tammy. I hope you don’t mind that I reblogged it so that some of my readers are able to take advantage of this great information. Happy New Year to you and yours.

    Reply
  4. Reblogged this on lucindalines and commented:
    I thought this was such a great post with such good ideas for this New Year that I just had to share it.

    Reply
  5. Lovely thoughts, Tammy! We actually had all of those on our vision wheel for 2013, and accomplished many, but certainly not all, so will put them on the To Do list for the new year! Wishing you and your family an amazing 2014!

    Reply
    • Is that a family vision wheel or a work vision wheel or do you distinguish between the two?

      Reply
  6. Happiness is the only true measure of success in life ~ the goal behind all goals. Here’s hoping your year overflows with LAUGHTER.

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  7. Sapna

     /  January 1, 2014

    This is such a great list – thank you!

    Reply
    • You’re welcome. I’m hopeful that we can spend time together this year and cross off #1!

      Reply
  8. Happy New Year, Tammy!

    Just got in from a hike with my family, which makes me happy. Below zero temps won’t stop us from enjoying the great outdoors. :)

    Reply
  9. Tammy,

    Great article. I have to wonder why Americans need to take a class on happiness. Your list of ten wishes for your readers is an excellent door to happiness – if we all did those things regularly not sure how we could not be happy. I might put it more simply: lead a fulfilling life, serve others and take care of yourself – and you will be happy. — Dan

    Reply
  10. That’s a great list. Happy New Year, Tammy, to you and all your family xx

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  11. Thanks for a great post! I actually discovered you through a google alert I have set up for my book, Hacking Happiness that comes out in March and covers a lot of the issues you discuss. I’m also going to learn more about Dr. Fernandez’s work as I’d like to interview him for my next book.

    Best wishes and thanks,
    JCH

    Reply
  12. Beautiful post for the New Year. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend going to see Walter Mitty at the movies. It was really a really uplifting and inspiring movie. Similar message: to experience life, to connect with people, to do what makes you happy.

    Reply
  13. Wonderful title, inspiring post! I’m headed back to read it again, hoping for that extra measure of happiness. :) A Happy New Year to you, Tammy!

    Reply
  14. Wonderful post. I love these tips :D We can all use a little more of these in our lives. Happy New Year!

    Reply
  15. Lisa H

     /  January 1, 2014

    Great list, Tammy! My favorite smiling, as it is the start to all your other wishes and is contagious as well. :)

    Reply
  16. My day has an hour scheduled in it for me! This daily ritual helps so much in maintaining my happiness. Lovely post Tammy :)

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  17. Great list on happiness, the only thing I would add to the list is that four letter word “Love” my happiest days are those days that I’m in love.

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  18. A good New Year’s message Tammy!

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  19. Thanks for sharing this beautiful message! I’ve found in my life and with my clients that these happiness laws are Universal. I’ve recently realized that I’m guided to cultivate the beauty in my own home. Your post strengthens this, so thank you!
    All the best in 2014!
    Amita Patel
    http://www.AlignedHolistics.com

    Reply
    • Having a beautiful place to sit inside or out is very pleasing! I can do more with this one also.

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  20. Thanks for the tips!

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  21. I liked the quote from the Hopi best. But you are right people are searching for quick fixes, including happiness and so attending a course or a seminar is on the outside of it a quick fix. the harder and longer work starts after the class finishes ! Happy new year :)

    Reply
    • You’re so right Claire. I’ve found that with any type of class or seminar that I’ve taken.

      Reply
  22. Tammy – this is perfect! I’m struggling with ‘retirement’ – trying to find my sea legs and this list is filled with helpful reminders!

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    • Oooh! That’s a topic that I’m interested also Diane. Hoping we can get together this year to discuss!

      Reply
  23. Great list, Tammy, and thank you for the welcome reminders. I also love the Hopi message – cheers to that and a fabulous 2014 for us all!

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    • That Hopi message was very synchronistic as it was in an email from a Hopi friend just as I was posting this message. It seemed so fitting to send along to all of you!

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  24. In my family we are outdoors people. I am still learning to manage my thought.

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  25. Love this list! I’m going to print it out as hang it in my kitchen to remind me to do all tose things ths year. Thanks, Tammy!

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    • Thanks for reading Lynn! May the list guide you and your beautiful family to greater happiness in 2014!

      Reply
  26. Love, love this post. :) Great reminders of the actions we can take to bring happiness to ourselves and ultimately others!

    Reply
  27. Wow! Just now reading this – don’t know how I missed this post. Great list and absolutely loved the Hopi comment! Wishing you a great New Year Tammy.

    Reply
  28. Tammy,
    The December books for my book group were The Happiness Project and The Happiness Advantage, and these ten tips are right on based on what I’ve recently read. Thank you!

    Reply
    • What did you think of the books and which did you like best? I have read a couple of fascinating blogs about the Happiness Project.

      Reply
  29. kirstenmadaus

     /  February 8, 2014

    I will say that I felt The author of HP had a wealth of wonderful opportunities, family members, and friends and it surprised me how unappreciative she felt towards all of those gifts. I enjoyed reading both books, but would frequently pull my head out of the book and wonder how the HP author could bitch about her terrific life.

    Reply
  30. Kim Fernandez

     /  February 24, 2014

    Tammy, I love it that you are sharing the sentiments! I like the idea of sending out ripples of happiness that spread, meet others and continue to flow.

    Reply

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