How to Be Happy in Yourself and Your Relationship

February 17, 2012

By Kim Leatherdale

What makes one person happy and productive while another is unhappy and frustrated?  Duke University did a study on “peace of mind” a few years back and found nine factors that contributed to emotional and mental stability.

9 Factors that Contribute to Emotional and Mental Stability

  1. An absence of suspicion and resentment.  Nursing a grudge usually created unhappiness.
  2. Living in the present and in the future, not the past.  An unwholesome preoccupation with past mistakes is a major factor in unhappiness.
  3. Letting go of and not fighting conditions you cannot change.  It is a waste of energy.
  4. Cooperating with the life you have rather than trying to destroy or get away from it.
  5. Making yourself be outgoing with others during periods of emotional stress.  Retreating within was more likely to cause unhappiness.
  6. Refusing to take pity on yourself.  This includes not seeking self-justification in alibis to make you appear “noble” in some way.
  7. Cultivating the virtues of love, honor, loyalty and thrift.
  8. Having reasonable expectations of yourself.  If your standards for yourself are too high, then happiness withers.  Challenge yourself, but lower your demands to a reasonable level.
  9. Believing in something bigger than yourself.  Self-centered, egotistical, or materialistic people scored lowest in any test for measures of happiness.

Which of these things do you need to work on?  Which ones do you already practice?  How do you think you would score in Duke’s study?  How could you increase your happiness? Note that none of the factors mentioned money, a particular relationship, amount of education, where you lived, what job you have, what your past is, how your present looks, or anything other than your own internal system.

So, I ask again: which of these factors do you need to work on?

It all affects relating!

What does this have to do with relationships?  The obvious is the happier you are the better your relationship will be. In addition, the things you can do individually, you can do with your partner/spouse as well.  For example, make sure your partner doesn’t become a hermit when emotionally stressed, don’t pity each other, focus together on the now and the future, stop nursing grudges.  All of these things plus the other five factors will increase your individual and relational happiness.

Kim Leatherdale About the Author: Kim Leatherdale is a licensed professional counselor and relationship blogger. She offers on-line, phone, and in office counseling and relationship coaching. For more information visit her website: CreatingRewardingRelationships, Facebook page: CreatingRewardingRelationships, or Twitter account: HappyCoupleXprt

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