If you ask a group of people what they want most out of life, many of them will answer that profound question with one word: happiness. But the concept of happiness is often viewed as a long-term effort that takes both time and good fortune to achieve. Not so, according to happiness researcher Shawn Achor.
As he tells Oprah in the above video from OWN's "Super Soul Sunday," it is completely possible to make your own happiness happen today. Achor cites two simple ways to do this. The first is a shift in perspective, in which you understand that even the most fleeting moment -- like reading this article on happiness, for example -- is something to be grateful for.
"Recognize that this moment, the fact that you got to watch this conversation on happiness, is a privilege," Achor says. "It's an opportunity that many people in the world didn't get."
What's more, practicing this type of gratitude can also impact the happiness of those around you.
"If there's somebody in your life who didn't get to hear that happiness could be a choice, we need to actually be living models for that for other people," Achor adds.
Another way to boost your own happiness is to perform random acts of kindness for strangers. Even the smallest kind gesture can have a huge impact.
"It's a happiness multiplier," Achor says. "Not only does it make you happy and make those people happy, but as soon as you start talking about it -- even thinking back to some of those random acts of kindness -- we immediately start to smile."
Committing random acts of kindness also fosters your sense of empowerment.
"The other thing it shows us is how much power we have. We have the power to actually change the reality of what we see around us," Achor says. "Oftentimes, we just feel like this world makes my happiness or not; like if things are not going well, it's because of what the world is giving me... What we're finding is that when you do a random act of kindness, it shatters that."
Another way to increase happiness: Write a two-minute email praising or thanking someone. If you send one email per day for 21 days, it could help extend your life.
"Super Soul Sunday" airs on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.
The Morning Email helps you start your workday with everything you need to know: breaking news, entertainment and a dash of fun. Learn more