Happy people are healthier people. But how do you increase your geluksniveau? How do you learn bad habits that your happiness will stand in the way? NU.nl ask the professor of clinical psychology Willem van der Does, who wrote a book about it.
The netherlands belongs to the happiest countries in the world. Nevertheless, the self-help books for a happier life not dragging. How can that be?
“Stress. We have everything: weight loss, exercise, better sex, our passion to follow, a better parent/partner/friend, remember. Social media to increase the press again because they are someone else’s life better, more beautiful and more successful appear to be.”
“We also don’t settle for less. We can easier to move up than in the past. We can have our life together. We have more choices. And who care for stress.”
‘Stress is inevitable, but busy is a choice’
What is the connection between happiness, stress, and health?
“Happiness is associated with better health and less stress. Prolonged high levels of stress hormones may have harmful consequences, such as high blood pressure and increased risk of various diseases.”
“It is not certain whether stress is the cause of less subjective well-being, it can also be the other way around. It may also be that both stress and subjective well-being by something else. For example, by genetic factors or by the quality of your education.”
How can you geluksniveau increase?
“First of all you need to know what you have in your life wants to change to be happy. Where is your sense of dissatisfaction ‘m in? And then you have the courage to get started.”
How do you find out where that dissatisfaction ‘m in there?
“Most people know that of themselves. At the most is the ‘m in something they avoid. So go after what you avoid. Avoid your dream to pursue? You avoid difficult conversations with your boss or colleagues? With your partner or with your children?”
What does stress with your body?
And then? How to break out of that pattern?
“One of the most important things in order to change behavior is to start with a realistic goal. That is something else than a concrete goal.”
What do you mean by this?
“Losing weight is a good example. Virtually all self-help books for a leaner line to say: set a goal and choose a program that you step by step towards that goal. That works when the projects are going at a given time can complete: a complicated job on your work or your vacation photos to organize. Not in a long-term goal as to lose weight.”
“Select a realistic goal instead of a concrete purpose”
Willem van der Does, professor of clinical psychology
“In fact, it works counter-productive. A concrete goal, for example, 15 pounds to lose, ensures that you are unhappy as long as you have that purpose have not reached. Perhaps for years. The risk is that you have the towel in the ring throws.”
What should you do if you are so such a change would achieve this?
“In the long term, to fall off and slim to stay, you need to conduct a permanent change. Follow not a temporary diet, but something you always full can keep. So choose ‘a healthier lifestyle’ as a goal. You can be there from tomorrow is already successful at it. To lose weight you will likely correct itself.”
There are still more things we can do to become happier?
“The things that everybody knows: eat well, get enough sleep, move a lot, enough free space to schedule in your calendar, not too much hanging around on social media, not to be too strict for yourself, do something for another. Those are all things that you a little more control over your life. And that increases your geluksniveau.”
Willem van der Does is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Leiden. His latest book, “Happiness is not everything’ is released on 18 april. Previously published of his hand, ” that is who I am!’ and ‘science now’.