How to Increase Serenity

True serenity comes from within, but even Buddhists can use a little jump start now and then.

You will need

  • Opportunities to laugh
  • Time for family and friends
  • TV-watching time
  • Absorbing hobbies
  • And a gratitude journal
  • A new job

Step 1 Laugh often Laugh as often as you can. It causes your heart rate and blood pressure to drop dramatically, leaving your feeling profoundly relaxed.

Step 2 Find time for friends Find time for friends and family. Researchers who studied very content people found that every single one was extremely outgoing and reported strong social bonds.

Step 3 Take charge Take charge of your life—even if that means standing up to a controlling loved one or finding a job that gives you more freedom. Confronting a troubling issue now will ensure more serenity later.

Step 4 Do what you love Start a career doing what you love. A Swedish study found that people who work hard at something they find fulfilling are more satisfied with their lives.

Step 5 Don't feel guilty Be a couch potato without guilt. A study of women who kept a daily mood diary found that watching TV at night was their daily relaxation peak.

Step 6 Sleep more Get more sleep. A major impediment to serenity is fatigue due to lack of sleep.

Step 7 Return to nature Go for a hike, take a walk on the beach, or garden—just get outside. Scientists believe that we’re actually hard-wired to relax when we’re in the presence of the natural world, including plants and animals.

Step 8 Go with the "flow" Go with the “flow,” which is the state of intense well-being that occurs when we are so immersed in an activity that we lose all track of time—researchers say this is a key to contentment.

Step 9 Keep a gratitude journal Keep a gratitude journal. Studies show it helps us want what we already have — the true key to happiness.