Creating Your Ultimate Recipe for Happiness

Live a joyful life with these simple ingredients.

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What is the secret to happiness? Sometimes it all boils down to a few simple ingredients to create a life full of joy. Just as in cooking, you can taste as you go and adjust to make your life something you really love. Start with these essential ingredients to create your recipe for happiness.

Five cloves of gratitude

Any good recipe for happiness starts with gratitude. According to Psychology Today, practicing gratitude improves relationships, physical health, self-esteem, and mental strength. You can actively count your blessings by keeping a gratitude journal, sending a thank you note, or thinking about five things you feel thankful for each morning.

A woman shows gratitude by writing a thank you note.

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A dash of freshly grated giving

You have heard the phrase “you get what you give.” While it may seem counterintuitive, altruism is certainly an important ingredient for happiness. Giving to a charity, volunteering, and prioritizing the needs of others are the kinds of activities that lead to greater health and happiness, according to research from the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Serving food to the needy at a soup kitchen.

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One tablespoon of mindfulness

Ancient cultures practice mindfulness by bringing full awareness of the body, mind, and emotions in the present moment. And today, psychologists are discovering the amazing benefits of mindfulness in overall wellbeing.

Mindfulness improves mental health and helps cope with stress, depression, and anxiety. So add some mindfulness meditation to your day when creating a recipe for happiness.

A man practices mindfulness at work by meditating at his desk.

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Two stalks of growth mindset, roughly chopped

You might not think of happiness as a skill. A lot of people who feel unhappy assume that they are damaged or genetically predisposed to be that way. While true to an extent, science suggests something different, that happiness can be learned! It all comes down to your outlook.

In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, professor of psychology at Stanford University, Carol S. Dweck observes two mindsets: fixed mindset and growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset focus on intelligence and talent over self-improvement. They are stuck on the idea that talent, as opposed to hard work, leads to success. A growth mindset sees limitless potential with practice, persistence, and effort. In other words, by working hard, you get better at something.

So if you want to “practice happiness,” focus on a growth mindset. This will motivate you to build a life of joy and meaning by putting in consistent effort towards creating the life of your dreams.

The different thoughts of a growth mindset versus those of a fixed mindset are illustrated.

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Two thirds of a cup of love

When The Beatles sang, “All you need is love”, they weren’t wrong! Humans are social animals that need love and connection. Research published in Psychology and Aging found that close connection leads to greater happiness. When it comes to love, think quality over quantity and surround yourself with at least a few close-knit, truly supportive friends.

Two birds perch lovingly, their beaks and bodies touch to form the silhouette  of a heart.

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Half a teaspoon of laughter

Everyone needs a good laugh. In fact, a study from Omega found that humor and laughter create positive emotions, even for recently bereaved spouses. Crack a joke, take life less seriously, and put on a funny show. When you laugh, you’ll feel good from the inside out!

A little girl laughs with happiness.

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