We always think that getting what we want is the key to happiness. After all, if you had the perfect job, family, and life, you'd be happy, right? Not so much. It's human nature to always want more and to think that the grass is greener on the other side. What you can do to feel more satisfied with your place in life is to alter your personality. In fact, research has shown that personality is the strongest predictor of life satisfaction, while pay and marital status have much less influence on well-being.
A new study by the psychologists from the University of Manchester and London School of Economics and Political Science found that personalities are not fixed and that they can actually change given some time. Here are some of the traits the study noted that help increase a person's happiness:
- Extroversion: Being more of an extrovert may lead to more social participation, which can increase happiness.
- Less neurotic: Not responding with negative emotions to threatening situations can improve your well-being. Having more neuroticism can lead to physical symptoms and illnesses, as well as higher stress levels.
- Agreeability: Being agreeable or to act in accordance with other people apparently predicts higher quality relationships. Being agreeable also means you have a tendency to be prosocial, which means you will help other people even if it doesn't benefit you. For more ways to be prosocial, read this suggestions for nice things to do for people.
- Conscientiousness: People who are conscientious have a lot of motivation and are driven by goals. These people are more likely to achieve success, which can affect life satisfaction.
- Being open to experiences: This trait has the strongest links to certain aspects of intelligence.
So instead of making little changes to try and achieve joy, perhaps what you need is a personality overhaul. That's not to say that the personality you have now is inadequate, but developing the traits that induce overall well-being definitely can't hurt.