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16 Ways To Cultivate Real Happiness In Your Life

Authentic Happiness Can Come With These Effective Stress Relievers


Updated July 31, 2014


Happiness comes from many areas of life. Here's how to cultivate the most important sources of happiness.

Serg Myshkovsky/ Getty Images

While there’s more to happiness than just the absence of stress, there are relationships between stress-relieving activities and happiness. Positive psychology pioneer Martin Seligman has researched and written extensively about "authentic happiness", which is facilitated and enhanced by all of those thing you may instinctively know are good for the soul: strong relationships, challenging work, and meaning in life. (Read more about the positive psychology approach to stress relief.)

Dr. Michael Frisch, a Baylor University professor and another pioneer in the field of positive psychology, has found 16 different areas of life that contribute to a person’s happiness, and measuring satisfaction in these areas can help measure a person’s overall level of happiness and life satisfaction. Interestingly, many of the things that bring happiness are also things that relieve stress, such as exercise, expressing creativity, maintaining supportive friendships, keeping an organized home, and enjoying your work.

When you’re overwhelmed with stress, often just relieving the imminent pressures is foremost on your mind; however, following a stress relief program that also incorporates activities known to increase overall happiness can give you short-term stress relief, and the lasting gains of a happy life. And when you incorporate into your life a general state of happiness, and make habit the lifestyle features that promote it, you’ll be better able to weather future stress in your life.

The following is a list of the 16 different features that promote happiness, with resources from this site and others that can help you incorporate these features into your life, relieving stress at the same time!

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Additional Resources:
How Happy Are You?
Take this quiz to assess your current lifestyle and see what changes may bring you greater life satisfaction.
How To Be Happy
Here's a step-by-step guide to bringing more happiness into your life.
Top 5 Changes for Greater Happiness
If you want to feel happier right now, here are the five best things you can do for yourself. These changes can bring big results!
Who's Happy? Are You?
Here's a poll from my site that explores the question of whether or not you are happy. Vote in the poll, and see how many people would consider themselves truly happy.


Frisch MB, Clark MP, Rouse SV, Rudd MD, Paweleck JK, Greenstone A, Kopplin DA. Predictive and treatment validity of life satisfaction and the quality of life inventory. Assessment, March 2005.

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