Before we delve into how happy women find joy, let's talk about what unhappy women do to thwart bliss.
Their first mistake? Assuming happiness is a destination. As they chase this phantom "land of happiness," filled with stacks of Benjamins or shiny new Bentleys, they end up trapped on a hamster wheel of despair and misery. Happy women, on the other hand, understand that joy isn't at point B - it's within.
1. Stay off Social Media
We're pretty sure you can last a day without seeing Healthy Holly share another one of her quinoa concoctions or Boring Betty upload a photo of her Neanderthal feet on Instagram.
The Dr. Oz Show surveyed 3,000 women and discovered keeping social media at arms length is one of the secrets to happiness. Another study conducted by the Happiness Institute in Denmark found that Facebook chipped away at users' peace of mind.
Why is that? Users are becoming dependent on "likes" as a symbol of approval to validate their worth. On top of that, it's easy to grow green with envy watching your friends seemingly progress in their lives. "Seemingly" is the operative word here, as social media is, for the most part, an illusion.
2. Nix Negative Nancies
Happy women don't have patience for nonsense! If someone in their life is nothing but stress with legs, they will say "buh-bye" and rid themselves of the toxicity.
According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that subjects who endured negativity in their social circles were more likely to suffer from heart problems. In other words, awful friends can kill you. So the next time Negative Nancy asks why you've decided to cut ties with her, say, "Because if I don't, I'll suffer a heart attack. And it will be your fault. No hard feelings!"
3. Get Rid of Grudges
Think about it. While you're reserving hatred in your heart for someone who has done you wrong, who really ends up getting hurt in the end? (Hint: You!) As Dr. Dan Baker and Dr. Cathy Greenberg state in their book, What Happy Women Know, "Forgiving doesn't let the offender off the hook, it lets you off the hook."
If you don't liberate yourself, a grudge can eat you alive from the inside. Much like Disney's Frozen, let it go!
4. Don't Dwell on Disasters
Happy women do more than count their blessings. They emphasize positive events and reinterpret negative experiences in a more "pleasant light."
So you burned Thanksgiving dinner to a crisp? No biggie! You'll order a pizza and you don't have to deal with doing dirty dishes. Broke up with a friend? Perfect! That's one less Christmas gift you'll have to worry about this year.
5. Make Mondays Meaningful
Monday is the guy that barges into a birthday bash and says, "Party's over!" It's the school bell that signals lunch has ended. Monday is - well, you get the point. It's the day of the week that takes away our fun and we detest its arrival!
But that can all change by discovering an emotionally fulfilling job.
According to Business Insider, the average person spends a whopping 90,000 hours at work throughout their life. Do you want to waste 90,000 of your precious hours moping around the office like a sad penguin? Valorie Burton, author of Happy Women Live Better, suggests choosing a career and work environment that lifts your spirits instead of tearing them down.
But how does one find job fulfillment? Here's a tip! Paraphrasing Roman Krznaric who authored How to Find Fulfilling Work, The Week recommends drafting a personal advertisement. List all your talents, ethics, unique qualities, and everything that makes you the fabulous individual you are. The only thing you will not be adding are specifics about what type of job you're looking for.
Show your personal ad to 10 different friends (and a career coach if you like) and ask them, "Hey, what type of job do you think I'm best suited for?" Once you reach consensus as to which career is optimal for you, consider pursuing this job.
Even if it's not a job that tickles your fancy, you will at least have a point of reference. And bonus, you will have also taken the time to do a little soul-searching to become more knowledgeable about yourself, which is beneficial since you'd be surprised how many unfulfilled workers lack introspection and are hazy about the breadth of their abilities.
6. Steer Clear of Splurging
Sure buying a brand spankin' new iPhone 6 might make you "happy" (for like a couple of days), but what happens when a new generation of "must-have" gadgets hit the shelves? Consumerism thrives on our fear of social exclusion, which drives us to spend more than we can afford on all this meaningless stuff we think will enhance our happiness, but actually deteriorates it.
It's time to escape consumer culture and spend your salary on things that truly make you happy: memorable experiences. According to a study lead by Miriam Tatzel PhD, shoppers who put more emphasis on having rather than doing (e.g. a night out with the girls) are the least happiest. Think of it this way: memories of buying a new pair of Jimmy Choos will not stir up warm, nostalgic, happy emotions like a family vacation to New Zealand will.
7. Stop Talking Smack
We are already inundated with a colossal number of faceless critics (thanks to YouTube and Instagram trolls), but there's only one judgemental jerk who causes the most damage to your self-esteem - you.
Happy women don't talk smack about themselves. Turn off that little cretin in your head that tells you you're not good enough! The heck you aren't! Switch on the vainglorious self-talk that tells you you're the best thing since sliced bread and all that and a bag of chips. And no one can tell you otherwise.
So ladies, it's time to let go of the assumption that happiness is there. Peace of mind and well-being are here. They're just waiting for you to realize it. Take the bull by the horns and find bliss!