One Habit That Leads to Happiness According to Science

by Don Smith

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With Thanksgiving on our minds, it's a good time to remember one of the primary habits that consistently leads to happiness.

The principal of “hedonic adaptation” means that as we have things happen that make us happy or unhappy, we ultimately return to our former state of happiness. A study of lottery winners showed that after a brief period of joy, these winners quickly returned to their old levels or even lower levels of satisfaction.

That's why changing things from time to time helps keep us happy, and why even many millionaires aren't happy. Any time we get something new, we're like big kids who got a new toy. Before long, that newness wears off, and we need something else to get that rush again.

But there is a way to combat that tendency, which is the one habit that consistently leads to feeling happier.

The Habit That Leads to Happiness

According to various studies done by researchers at Harvard, University of California, Davis, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Miami, giving thanks can make you happier.

Take a few moments to list out what you are grateful for today. Say thanks to a friend, family member, or coworker. Learn to appreciate what you already have.

You Probably Have a Lot to Be Thankful For

According to the CDC, 780 million people do not have access to a good clean water source right now. 2.5 billion or one in three people in the world don't have access to modern sanitation. Nearly half of the world's population doesn't have access to the Internet yet, and many of those have minimal access. The average salary in the world is only $20k, slightly below the minimum wage in the USA.

Villagers happily chatting while carrying water
Happiness Doesn't Require Having Much

If you've got a toilet that flushes, clean running water, and even Internet access, congrats, you've got more than many people. If you've got at least one person who cares for you, you're blessed beyond measure.

Don't give up trying to improve your situation, but take a few moments each day to say thanks for what you already have.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

About the Author 

Don Smith

Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, is the founder of this site, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.

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