The Most Important Factor in Happiness

by Marshall Brain

We all want to be happy - Everyone would like to live a happy life. So how do we enhance happiness? What is the most important factor in happiness? One important answer to these questions can be found in Chapter 3 of the book Authentic Happiness:

"A rich and fulfilling social life" is the key factor in happiness. We see that sentiment echoed in this article:

The Importance of Friendship

The following article points out the same kind of thing:

Study reveals ‘secret ingredient’ in religion that makes people happier

Another reason why friends and social interactions increase happiness is because happiness is contagious. However, in order to be affected by this contagion, you have to interact with others:

Your whole world smiles with you

Why is happiness important? Again from Chapter 3 of Authentic Happiness: This leads to an obvious question, especially if you are the type of person who is not very social: How do you form real friendships with people? How do you build a real social network? We all understand that exercise is important to health, so we exercise to stay healthy. It would seem like we should be actively working on friendships and our network of friends in the same way. This page offers one technique: "When you truly love others it comes through in your words, your actions, and your smile - people naturally like to be around you. Forming social connections is easy." That page and many other books of wisdom point out the importance of loving yourself as well: "When you truly love your own life you don't want to be anybody else, so you automatically stop comparing what you have with others – this allows you to be happy at any income level. This also means you will possess true self confidence without narcissism." Here are some additional tips.

One way to find friends is to become involved in some kind of community. That community could be found anywhere from your neighborhood, to a local group or organization that interests you, to a DecidingToBeBetter community in your area. One of the fundamental goals of DecidingToBeBetter is to help people form meaningful friendships.

Once you have a strong network of friends in place, what else can you do to enhance happiness? This page offers 11 additional suggestions:

See the page for additional details on each one.