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How Positive Psychology Can Make You Happier

For someone who has made it his life’s mission to give back, Tony Robbins rarely talks about his generosity. The life coach and entrepreneur has empowered unhoused people, prisoners, at-risk youth, and those who are food insecure through his non-profit organization.

Robbins began giving back even before he was wealthy. Years ago, he was down to his last few dollars, unsure of his next meal, and gave it to a kid out to lunch with his mom. He was moved by the boy’s interaction and politeness with his mother and in turn, was left with a big emotional impression. He recalls feeling no worry or fear as a result of his deed because he believed he had unlocked a fundamental ingredient for happiness.

Selflessness and gratitude can change your brain, down to a biological level, and help you improve your quality of life and the lives of the people who surround you.

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Create Lasting Happiness Through Selflessness

Positive psychologists research the underlying causes of happiness; the authentic kind that keeps on throughout your life.

Positive psychologists have a breakdown of the differences between selfishness and selflessness and what results we might expect from either of these.

– Selfishness. Selfish acts provide happiness for a short time. It quickly fades and fosters a path for more selfish acts.
– Selflessness. Selfless acts can bring about happiness that endures. It can provide a deeper connection with your environment. These acts can ease anxiety and feelings of loneliness because of this newfound connection with the world. Selfless acts, like selfish ones, also make way for more selflessness.

Photo: Shutterstock/Maples Images

Build Happiness With Gratitude

Lasting happiness also requires gratitude, which can rewire your brain, according to several studies. You can practice gratitude with exercises such as writing down what you’re grateful for and sharing daily triumphs with loved ones. With just two weeks of these 10-minute exercises, you might notice you are more productive, more creative, and more optimistic.

Daily gratitude can have an enduring positive shift in your happiness and depression symptoms, according to a positive psychology interventions review.

Not only do exercise and food determine your body’s overall health, but thoughts also do too. You reinforce pathways in your brain associated with happiness and positivity when your focus is on gratitude. With enough practice, your mind can automatically gravitate toward positivity.

Practicing gratitude might feel awkward and forced at first, but soon you’ll have strengthened those brain pathways, making it easier to practice later on.

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The 21-Day Challenge

Gratitude and selflessness are powerful daily practices that can provide you with long-term happiness. Here’s a challenge for you to practice over the next 21 days.

– Before bed, make a list of 5 things you’re grateful for.
– Do one selfless act every day.

Selfless acts can be small, like paying for a stranger’s drink or meal. Your gratitude list can contain simple things like the food on your plate or a place to live. Regardless of the acts or lists, consistency is the key. Help the people around you and show appreciation for even the smallest of things in your life. You might notice yourself becoming someone with stronger emotional resiliency and more happiness.


Selflessness and gratitude go hand in hand when working toward becoming a happier person. These practices can guide your brain toward more positive thinking and provide you with long-term benefits for both your brain and your quality of life. Do kind things for others and acknowledge good things in your life. Practicing gratitude can feel unnatural at first, but the payoff could be worth it. The jumpstart to a happier life could be just three weeks away.