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The essential ingredients for being happy

Lecturer Sandra Teschner lists some of them for a good start in 2020

Happiness is a matter of being, not having. For centuries we strode misinformed and oblivious to the best of life. It’s time to unlearn. Misled by conflicting relations with time, money, power, wealth, expectations and comparisons, we hope to achieve success as if it were synonymous with being happy. But happiness is the cause, not the consequence. It lies in the day-to-day journey that happy people live.

We confuse moments of joy, an ephemeral feeling that responds promptly to a stimulus, with happiness, that cozy prolonged sense of well-being, fulfillment, and purpose. What gives us temporary pleasure may be a positive supplement to our general state of mind, but it works as an anesthetic: the doses have to be increased permanently in order for it to work. We always want more things, we believe that when we reach this or that we will be happy, and for that we make sacrifices and get disappointed.

Activities which are not always pleasant when performed can be the foundation for long lasting well-being. Happy people cry, suffer, live through the stages of pain and regain control of their life. The opposite of happiness is not sadness, but apathy – as the opposite of love is not hate, but disdain.

Science proves that 40% of our happiness depend on the choices we make and can be learned. Even if personal, social and cultural factors interfere with the generic result of surveys, some of them are unanimous in different parts of the world. Even if a “recipe” may sound frivolous, being happy resides in a hug, in positive personal relations, in affective memories, in the possible lightness of our days. The simplicity of the ingredients (some essential ones are listed below) is the good news for this coming decade. Enjoy in moderation.

  1. Start by choosing to be happy!
  2. More eco, less ego (altruists are happier, a fact!)
  3. Smile, release endorphins.
  4. Exercise.
  5. Read what challenges you, watch what amuses you, practice what relaxes you. Blend it all.
  6. Self-knowledge is the secret of taste.
  7. Help others! Giving is better than receiving; science has proven it!
  8. Excel in empathy.
  9. Meditate, practice faith.
  10. Learn how to breathe.
  11. Adopt a pet; they know all about unconditional love and forgiveness.
  12. Bring green into your life, build your urban jungle.
  13. Place positive sentences on the walls. Your unconscious mind is recording everything!
  14. Enjoy good company, socialize.
  15. Decorate your home with meaning. Let affective memories embrace the present!
  16. Use technology as a facilitator, not as a replacement! Nothing replaces the touch.
  17. Practice reversed logistics. Reuse, recycle, re-signify!
  18. Have a list of what makes you happy with you.
  19. Do not compare yourself with others; do not. The other is not you.
  20. The expectation of what your life should be is an endless source of unhappiness. Do you want to be happy? Build. Dream possible dreams!
  21. Be truly grateful.
  22. Invest on social connections, we’re happier together.
  23. Blend all items and repeat the dose every day.
Sandra Teschner (Photo: Reproduction/ Veja São Paulo)
Sandra Teschner (Photo: Reproduction/ Revista Veja São Paulo)

Sandra Teschner (@sandrateschner) changed her near-death experience into a driving force to understand how to choose happiness. She got the Chief Happiness Officer Certificate from the International University of Florida, in the United States, and gives lectures now.

Sandra Teschner is a publisher, businesswoman, author, speaker on topics such as self-esteem, sustainability and fashion, and happiness. Certified by FIU (Florida International university) & Wohasu, Miami.

Versão traduzida do artigo publicado na Revista Veja SP. Para acessar a versão em português, clique aqui.

Sandra Teschner

Happiness Trainer

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