This Is All You Need To Do To Be Happy

And no, it doesn't cost a cent.

It's the number one question most of us spend our entire lives (and a lot of money) trying to answer: how to be happier.

Now it looks like science might very well have a workable solution that won't cost us a cent.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and Texas A&M University found that setting general goals about life tend to make people happier.

They came to the conclusion by conducting a few experiments that looked at how people's happiness changed over time after a specific event.

Young women hanging out at the beach, at sunset. Source: Getty

In one of the trials, researchers asked two groups to describe important purchases in their lives that had different goals: broad or specific.

Let us explain: The group with the broad goal were simply looking to increase the level of joy and happiness in their lives. Whereas the other group, the one with the specific goal, were looking to become happier by increasing a certain emotional feeling -- such as excitement.

As it turns out, both groups experienced pretty much the same level of happiness at the time of purchase. It was only as the days and months passed that the difference between the two goals really became noticeable.

According to the researches, the group with the general goal -- you know, the ones who were just looking for some general joy in their lives -- reported feeling higher levels of happiness as time passed.

"Our findings suggest that people can change the amount of happiness they get out of an experience," said Professor Rohini Ahluwalia, who is the author of the study.  "A general happiness goal can leave a longer-lasting positive emotional imprint."

The results bear a close resemblance to those plethora of studies which show how important mindfulness -- or being in the moment -- is to our general well-being.

According to research from Harvard University,  47 per cent of a person’s day can be spent lost in thoughts.  Being on auto-pilot means that you’re not fully present and aware of what is happening around you.  You can’t be creative, plan something new or respond appropriately if you’re operating mechanically.

You also don't have the capacity to register something as happy or joyous.


Feature Image: Getty