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Fourteen Fundamentals
Written by Mark Millard C.Psychol   

fourteenfundamentals.jpgFourteen Fundamentals is a proven program designed by Dr Michael Fordyce to help people increase their happiness.

The premise is simple, Dr Fordyce identified fourteen characteristics that psychological research shows highly happy people have in common.  He then created a training program to help other people develop the same traits.

The results show that, for most people, learning to do what highly happy people do has a noticeable and perhaps long-lasting effect on their happiness.


The Fourteen Fundamentals

1. Be more active & keep busy Happy people get more out of life because they put more into it - on all fronts, relationships, work, play etc. They embrace life, engage in a wider range of activities and invest more energy & enthusiasm in doing them - especially things they enjoy doing. Unhappy people are more passive or preoccupied with other things, either way they spend less time doing things they actually enjoy

2. Spend more time socialising Happy people have active, rewarding social lives, they cultivate wide networks of friends & acquaintances. When times are tough they seek people out rather than cut themselves off

3. Be productive at meaningful work As well as deliberately doing more of the things they enjoy, happy people also focus more on things that are meaningful to them. They are purposeful, productive & get things done. Happy people are good at finding meaning in even apparently mundane tasks, which makes them more enjoyable to do

4. Make plans and organise Happy people are more organised, they know what they want to do or achieve, make plans and follow them through, which helps build a sense of achievement, progress & momentum

5. Don't worry needlessly Not only does worrying make us feel bad, it often doesn't do much good either, so happy people waste less time with it, they decide to move on or distract themselves with something more enjoyable or productive instead.

6. Lower your expectations & aspirations Tricky one this, much as we need aims & goals to get the best out of ourselves we also need to be realistic in our expectations.  Happy people have a sense that their expectations - of themselves, their lives & others - are being met or surpassed. In part this comes from setting the bar at the right height, so they get pleasantly surprised rather than predictably disappointed. Happy people are also more careful who they compare themselves with - usually people who are less fortunate than themselves

7. Develop positive, optimistic thinking At the most basic level, happy people spend much more time and effort thinking about good things than bad. They are preoccupied with positives rather than negatives - about themselves, other people and life around them. Whatever the situation they want to make the best out of it, by playing up the positives and pushing the negatives out of their minds. If this doesn't come naturally to you it is a thinking skill you can learn - simply by noticing when you are dwelling on the downside and consciously turning your mind to more positive thoughts. Writing down '3 Good Things' that happen every day can help develop the knack & habit of spotting positives. Happiness is no more & no less than thinking good things - no matter what's going on around you - it's an attitude of mind.

8. Focus on today Be happy now. Happy people prioritise happiness in the present, they don't dwell on the past or defer happiness to the future. They deal with happiness now and make the most of every moment. By being happy now you are much more likely to be happy in the future as well

9. Work on a healthy personality True happiness is a sign of mental health - happy people have a positive view of themselves and their abilities. Partly because they engage in activities which play to their strengths and partly because they are realistic and accepting about their weaknesses. Most of all though, happy people have the self control to get the most out of life, they don't let their fears & frailties get in the way of what they want to do. And if they have a setback they stay positive & keep going. In short, happy people know how to take care of themselves

10. Be outgoing People like to be happy and they like happy people. Happy people smile more and make more of an effort to be positive and engaging with other people. Good humour is contagious and often reflected back, so one way to get happier is to hang out where people are happy and immerse yourself in the vibe. You can make yourself happier by acting happy and by being in a happy place.

11. Be yourself Happy people tend to come across as genuine and true to themselves. They are comfortable with who & what they are and communicate it.

12. Don't bottle things up Bad things are bound to happen from time to time, but bottling them up is a recipe for poor mental and physical health. Happy people try to deal with negative emotions such as fear, anger, anxiety and sadness as quickly and effectively as possible - by solving the problem directly, bringing problems into the open so they can be solved or doing things that directly diffuse the negativity. Happy people also know when and how to ask for help if they need it.

13. Nurture close relationships Happy people know the value of close, loving relationships & friendships and nurture them. It takes time, effort and skill to build quality relationships and happy people are attentive and responsive to the needs, wants and hopes of those they love and value

14. Value your happiness Highly happy people value their happiness, they know what does and does not make them happy and do the things that do. And by following their lead many of us could become happier too.

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