Self-acceptance could be the key to a happy life

How can I find happiness? It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves.

It’s no secret that some people are better at being happy than others. But how? Is it genetics? Mindset? Or circumstances?

A 2014 study provides us with an interesting answer. The charity Action for Happiness surveyed 5,000 people and asked them to rate themselves between 1 and 10 on ten habits identified from the latest scientific research as being key to happiness. They also asked them to rate their overall life satisfaction.

So, which habits correlated most people who had higher life satisfaction? According to the research, Acceptance was found to be the habit that predicts it most strongly.

Yet surprisingly, Acceptance was also the habit that people practiced the least.

When answering the Acceptance question, ‘How often are you kind to yourself and think you’re fine as you are?’ The average rating was only 5.56 out of 10. Only 5% of people put themselves at a 10 on the Acceptance habit. Those participants were also the happiest.

The second most predictive habit was treating our bodies to regular physical activity.

While these were the two most predictive habits of human happiness, all habits were also statistically significant as being a factor in human happiness:

These habits were:

Giving: do things for others
Relating: connect with people
Exercising: take care of your body
Appreciating: notice the world around
Trying out: keep learning new things
Direction: have goals to look forward to
Resilience: find ways to bounce back
Emotion: take a positive approach
Acceptance: be comfortable with who you are
Meaning: be part of something bigger

So, how do you practice acceptance?

Acceptance is all about being at peace with who you are and what you do in life. It’s about valuing your strengths and being comfortable with your weaknesses.

Here are four actions you can take to be more accepting:

– Show compassion for yourself.

– When you make mistakes, see it as an opportunity for growth. Understand your strengths and remind yourself of them.

– Ask people you’re close to what your strengths are and what they like about you.

– Spend time by yourself and get to know your body and how you’re feeling. Try to be at peace with who you are.

The director of the study offered some wise words of wisdom as well:

“Our society puts huge pressure on us to be successful and to constantly compare ourselves with others. This causes a great deal of unhappiness and anxiety. These findings remind us that if we can learn to be more accepting of ourselves as we really are, we’re likely to be much happier. The results also confirm us that our day-to-day habits have a much bigger impact on our happiness than we might imagine.”

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