A growing number of researchers believe we have the power to be happy—really, truly happy—by adopting these 6 habits.
3 of 7 | Seek Stillness
Start by adopting this habit: Spend a few minutes being both alone and quiet every day. The realities of modern life normally keep you buzzing with distracting mental chatter, says Suzanne Willis Zoglio, Ph.D., a life coach in Doylestown, Pa.. You're thinking about what you need to do today, what you should have said five minutes ago, or that tough phone call you're dreading tomorrow. Quiet time allows you to cut through that noise to find out what really matters to you. Zoglio suggests that you set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than your usual wake-up time (before your family wakes or the phone rings) and shuffle in your slippers to a quiet room. Write in your journal, do mind-clearing breathing exercises, or just light a candle and sit quietly.
This practice helps you find happiness in two ways. First, it stanches the flow of harsh stress chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol, which can build up, making you anxious, irritable, and unhappy. Second, practitioners of Buddhism and yoga believe that when you learn to quiet this demanding inner voice, something amazing happens. "When you get quiet and still, the answers to those questions—like, what makes me happy?—automatically arise," explains Stephen Cope, scholar-in-residence at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Mass.