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By Eric Barker
May 12, 2014

There’s an overwhelming amount of happiness research.

Forget incorporating it all into your life — merely remembering it is daunting enough.

I like to keep it simple: Remember the 4 P’s.

  1. Purpose
  2. Perspective
  3. People
  4. Play

Work those into every day and you’ll be smiling more.

Purpose

This one gets short shrift in the modern era so we’ll put it first. You don’t need to live and die by the Bushido code but the best lives have purpose.

Via The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People:

This can be religion or a set of ethics or goals. But your vision of your life needs structure.

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And it’s not enough to just have beliefs. We really feel good when we make progress toward our ideals.

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Perspective

Happiness is more about how you look at life than what actually happens.

Happy people and unhappy people’s lives, objectively, are not all that different.

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Compare yourself to those better than you and you’ll feel bad. Compare against those below you and you’ll feel better.

…despite that the circumstances might be exactly the same.

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If you focus on the added work and pressure, even a promotion can be seen as negative.

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Happy people see negative things as isolated incidents. Unhappy people see bad times as part of who they are.

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People

70% of happiness is your relationships with other people.

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Do you have a group of people you feel very close to? You’re four times as likely to be happy.

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Friends and family were nine times more important than money when it comes to being happy.

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And it’s not just getting. Giving has a huge effect on happiness.

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It’s hard to tell how happy you are from knowing how many problems you have.

It’s much easier to tell by knowing how many people love you.

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Play

It’s not all serious, deep stuff. You need to have plain old fun to really have a happy life.

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Laugh.

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Rest.

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Exercise.

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Read. (Yes, blog posts count.)

Via The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People:

Keep The 4 P’s In Mind

Try to check off all four of these each day:

  1. Purpose
  2. Perspective
  3. People
  4. Play

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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What 10 things should you do every day to improve your life?

Here are the things proven to make you happier

What are the three ways to train your brain to be happy?

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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