How to Be Happy Pt. 2

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Did you know income only makes up 10% of your happiness? Check out how to be happy with social capital over cash..
This post is a continuation of Friday’s where we talked about the movie happy, which outlines how money can only buy 10% of your happiness, and new experiences can contribute to the joy you feel on a daily basis. Want to learn more about how to be happy? Here are two other components that play a major role.

Go with the Flow.

While being zen in all situations is probably great for keeping stress levels down, here we’re talking about the kind of flow that you feel when you’re doing something really well; when you’re in the zone.

The most relatable example they used was being “in the zone” when you’re playing sports.  But they also displayed farmers in Okinawa who were in their flow when they were working their fields.

You can experience “flow” at your job, while taking care of your kids, or while performing any task or skill that you’re feeling confident in.  Don’t feel confident yet? KEEP PRACTICING.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll get to a place where you have positive feelings towards your abilities.

How to be Happy by Participating in Your Community.

I am a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan.   A common theme throughout many of his books was that the breakdown of the family, not just nuclear, but extended as well, was the cause for the breakdown in us as human beings in general.  Before if you were a man and wanted to sit around and drink alcohol after a hunting expedition, you had about a ton of male relatives you could do that with from your own family and your wife’s.  If women needed to vent and chat, they could do that with the other tons of women that were obligated to listen and chat in return because they were family.  Social needs were satisfied at the basic level and sometimes beyond by our families.

In the world we live in today, you’re lucky if you have a nuclear family that lives all together.  As kids grow up, they go to college, sometimes not in their hometown.  Some take jobs in new cities.  Phone calls are made.  But it’s not the same.  They’re somewhere new, and while they may have friends, those friends are not obligated to help out the way families are.

The movie happywhich both of these posts are based on, said essentially the same thing.  Without so many gender stereotypes.  People who feel connected and a part of their community are so much happier.  And apparently it may even lead to living a longer a life!

Should you watch it?

Absolutely.  Believe it or not, I haven’t even talked about all of it.  Karoshi, which is the Japanese art of quite literally working yourself to death, was covered in great detail. And happiness CAUSED by adversity?  This is a science I could really get into.

This post, which contains affiliate links, originally appeared on Femme Frugality on September 26, 2012.

28 thoughts on “How to Be Happy Pt. 2

  1. Modest Money

    lol about a certain aunt. Being a guy it took a second to figure out what you were talking about. That’s a good point about how in today’s society families are much more spread out with much less direct contact. That is sure to affect people’s overall happiness levels.

  2. AverageJoe

    One of my favorite books is Flow. If anyone reading this wants to know what life is all about, I’d read that book. It gave me some of the biggest a-ha moments about success and life.

  3. Jonathan

    My girlfriend recently went to Vietnam, she told me the people there didn’t have much but were happier relative to people here in America. I guess the 9-5 grind has a way of zapping the life out of you.

    1. femmefrugality

      I’ve been hearing this in the comments from so many people who have either been to or know someone that’s been to these countries we consider less fortunate than ourselves. Maybe we need to reevaluate our definition of “fortunate.”

  4. Meredith

    I really appreciated this post, Brynne, especially the part about going with the flow. This has been something I’ve been learning/realizing a lot this past year. Great discussion of something that is too often overlooked–simple happiness 🙂

  5. Derek @ MoneyAhoy

    I think the best way to be happy is very similar to your idea of “going with the flow.” Basically, if you can prevent yourself from create expectations, then you can never be upset or frustrated when things don’t go as you planned.

    We get angry and frustrated when outcomes are different than our idealized plan. If you don’t have a plan for how things should go, then you truly can go with the flow :-).

  6. Femme Frugality

    I used to think this way, and admit that it does positive things for the psyche. The only downside I see with it is underachievement. If you never expect positive things, they will rarely manifest. But I also get that the stress of expecting them as a given is sometimes not worth it. Almost thirty, and still trying to figure out my philosophy in life.

  7. Hayley @ Disease Called Debt

    I spend a lot of time worrying and imagining the worst case scenario before it actually happens. I don’t like to think of myself as being a worrier, but I am! I’m working hard on trying to change that but it’s not easy. I think if I could do that, I’d be a lot happier and more at peace with myself.

    1. Femme Frugality

      I am, too. It creates a lot of anxiety for sure. The communal living on Okinawa seems so much happier than the individualistic stress we put on ourselves in Western society!

  8. RAnn

    I read somewhere that back in the hunter-gatherer days people only spent a few hours a day hunting and gathering; most of the time was spent socializing. Now we have so much more and we don’t worry about starvation but we spend so much more time working and we both seem to seek and avoid social interaction–checking facebook while with friends for example.

    1. Femme Frugality

      Some societies still function like that! And we’re supposedly so advanced, yet I find myself asking “What is free time?” Haha. I’ve gotten better about setting boundaries in 2016. It’s funny because my challenge for April is turning off all the notifications on my phone. I don’t check them when I’m out with friends, but I am guilty of occasionally doing so when I’m out with my husband.

  9. Mrs. CTC

    That sounds like an interesting movie! I never seem to get the ‘flow’ down, since that would mean I would have to get out of my head and stop contemplating and analyzing. Would be great if I ever got there, but I will keep trying.

  10. Prudence Debtfree

    I wonder to what extent an online community to fulfill the needs of community? I understand that concept of “flow” – and I recognize it when it happens in my life. Hard to make it a day-to-day reality. It’s something that most of us have to make happen I think.

    1. Femme Frugality

      I wonder, too. There’s this line in that new depressing but great Will Arnette show. ” This is like an online community but in real life! ” “So you mean it’s a community…”
      My worry is that sometimes we filter our lives online, and I feel like that face to face can’t be replaced. I have no science to back up my feelings, though.

  11. Pingback: How #FOMO Limits Productivity | Femme Frugality

  12. Cindy @ Smart Family Money

    It’s on Netflix now! I just queued it up to watch after I get the kids in bed!

    I’ve read a lot about the science of happiness and it fascinates me. One way I try to follow the recommendations is by choosing to spend money on experiences over things. A chunk of my budget is set aside for things like vacations, date nights, and family fun. It’s all about spending time with loved ones and doing new things.

    At the end of my life, I hope to look back at strong relationships and great experiences. I don’t think I’ll regret not having a fancier car or house.


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