A recent survey of 5,000 people asked them to identify the everyday habits that make them happier. Here are the 10 habits, along with the average rating, on a scale of 1-10, that indicate how often the participants performed each habit.
1. GIVING: do things for others – 7.41
2. RELATING: connect with people – 7.36
3. EXERCISING: take care of your body – 5.88
4. APPRECIATING: notice the world around you – 6.57
5. TRYING OUT: keep learning new things – 6.26
6. DIRECTION: have goals to look forward to – 6.08
7. RESILIENCE: find ways to bounce back – 6.33
8. EMOTION: take a positive approach – 6.74
9. ACCEPTANCE: be comfortable with who you are – 5.56
10. MEANING: be part of something bigger – 6.38
The first letter of each habit spells out GREAT DREAM, which sounds like a good thing, although choosing to engage in any of these habits has been scientifically proven to improve our happiness level. These habits aren’t just a dream, they work.
It is quickly pretty plain that choice theory is embedded throughout this list of habits. Each of them involves a choice, either in the course we set for ourselves as an individual or as a way we respond to setbacks and difficult circumstances.
Glasser felt that happiness is an essential indicator of mental health. In fact, he equated three terms as inextricably linked – choice theory, mental health, and happiness. When you talk about one of these, he felt you were basically talking about the other two at the same time as well.
He also felt it is important to differentiate between happiness and pleasure, with happiness involving something that adds strength to our lives and that often brings us closer to other people, while pleasure involves things that temporarily feel good, but that ultimately weakens us and that threatens or harms our relationships with others.
We all have been designed to desire true happiness, although we too often settle for pleasure instead. The GREAT DREAM list is a good reminder of the tangible decisions we can make that will help us experience real happiness, rather than being addicted to chasing short-term pleasure.
+ Define and discuss the idea of true happiness or real happiness.
+ Develop an age-appropriate survey, maybe similar to the GREAT DREAM list of activities, on which your students can indicate the things they do that brings them happiness.
+ Process the responses and discuss the results. (The responses can be processed as a part of Math class; the results can be discussed as a part of Health class, Social Studies, or even Bible class.)
+ As appropriate, have students consider the difference between happiness and pleasure.
+ Help students explore the role of choice in achieving personal happiness.
The Glasser biography has officially gone to the printer. Hopefully, an announcement will be forthcoming soon regarding how to order copies of the book.
Our next Choice Theory Study Group is this coming weekend – March 15.
For more info on the GREAT DREAM survey, go to the PSY BLOG website at –