Walk into your local bookstore or check out your favorite online seller and take a minute to count all the new books on happiness. It seems like everyone is searching for the secret to a happy life. Whether the advice comes from researchers, psychologists or Buddhist monks, most of it comes down to a few basic truths:
- Feel and express your gratitude.
- Notice your interconnectedness with the world around you.
- Recognize that you are more than your thoughts and feelings.
But of course, what is simple isn’t always easy. Too often it’s our own bad habits and distorted thinking that get in the way of our happiness.
That’s why A Plan For Living offers a Happiness Formula:
Gratitude + Spirituality + Mindfulness = Awareness = Happiness
This simple equation helps you remember what you should do every day to keep building happiness. Try out the APFL Happiness Formula by signing up for the free app to record your progress every day.
If you want to dig a little deeper into the science behind happiness, we put together a list of resources, comprised of books, videos and apps, to help you practice and master each step of the happiness formula.
Learning to feel thankful for your blessings and to share your gratitude with others is one of the most powerful ways to increase your happiness.
- Read: The best-selling book, Thanks: How practicing gratitude can make you happier by Robert Emmons.
- Watch: Gratitude Works! Author and professor of psychology Robert Emmons explains the positive physical and emotional effects of expressing gratitude.
- Practice: See how sharing your gratitude can instantly make you happier.
Spirituality might best be described as letting go of the illusion of control and experiencing the oneness of existence. Because spirituality can be so personal, our recommendations draw on a variety of religious and philosophical traditions.
- Read: We recommend this selection of popular books on spiritual practice drawing from a variety of religious traditions.
- Watch: MIT-trained artist, scientist and engineer Jeff Lieberman offers a scientific explanation of spiritual enlightenment.
- Practice: Choose from a variety of apps to help you with daily spiritual practice.
Learning to quiet your mind through meditation has proven to show tremendous influence in heightened mindfulness and higher levels of happiness.
- Read: We suggest Real Happiness: The Power of meditation by Sharon Salzberg, one of the world’s foremost meditation teachers and spiritual authors and co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society.
- Watch: Neuroscientist Sara Lazar explains how meditation actually changes your brain.
- Practice: The website Headspace offers an app and other tools to help you learn how to meditate.