A 26 year long, 60,000 person survey by the German Socio-Economic Panel, has unearthed the following keys to happiness:
Marry someone who's not neurotic.
Focus more on friends and family, less on material goods.
Get involved in making the world a better place.
Have a job but also enough time for leisure.
Stay physically active.
For men, don't be underweight. For women, don't be obese.
The whole drift is to streamline your life so that, over time, it becomes less self-oriented and more self-less. But you don’t do it by going head-on for being ‘self-less’. You do it by avoiding things that CAUSE greater self-orientation: being with the neurotic, having weight problems, worrying about career so you have no time for friends. So being self-less isn’t something holy and good – it is simply a strategy you can program into your environment over time. You put in place a few activities that force you to focus on others not yourself.
Even if it has no other benefits at least you’ll be happy.