Scott Galloway

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October 20, 2022 — 9:01 AM

For an emotion as subjective and elusive as happiness, there sure are a lot of tips and tricks to “find” it. A quick search on Google, and you’ll find pages of articles dedicated to seeking true happiness in your life. Our take? There’s no one road on the journey to happiness, but some experts have come pretty close to cracking the code—whatever it looks like for you.   

Enter Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at the NYU Stern School of Business, serial entrepreneur, and bestselling author of The Algebra of Happiness, which provides a formula for a life well lived. Today, he’s on the mindbodygreen podcast to discuss his newest title, Adrift: America in 100 Charts, but we couldn’t help but probe him for his updated advice on happiness. Here’s how Galloway recommends finding joy, boiled down to three actionable tips:  

“A decent forward-looking indicator of your success is the ratio of time you spend sweating to watching other people sweat,” Galloway declares. “Show me somebody who does Pilates, works out, boxes, runs four or five times a week, and uses sports as a means of establishing relationships in the company of others, and I’ll show you someone who is good at life.” 

In terms of happiness, we know exercise is associated with mood-boosting properties. See, when you exercise, your heart rate increases and your body pumps more oxygen to your brain, and that process can affect your overall positivity: Multiple studies have found that a well-oxygenated brain helps manage anxiety and depression, and research has shown exercise may help alleviate depression and anxiety overall.

“I’m not saying be ripped; I’m not saying be super skinny. I’m saying be the strongest version of yourself,” Galloway adds. “You want to be happier, more likely to succeed, decrease your likelihood of depression, be more kind, [and] you want to have a broader selection of mates? Simple sweat.” 

We’ve likely burned it into your brain by now, but allow Galloway to emphasize: Quality social connection is integral to happiness. “We’re a social species,” he explains. “We are meant to be around each other. We’re meant to be in the company of each other.” It’s good for your mental and physical health to connect with others (even with those you might not agree with). Plenty of research has demonstrated the link between quality relationships and happiness; on the flip side, social isolation has been linked to early mortality.

Galloway fears we’ve lost the art of social connection, which is why he encourages his sons to strike up a conversation with at least one stranger. “I don’t care if it’s in line to get peanuts,” he shares. “I want you to say something to the person in front of you. I want you to ask the person giving you your Coca-Cola, ‘Where are you from?’ I find young people are isolating [themselves] to their phones, not developing the skills to engage in physical relationships, and that’s going to have a huge impact on our mental health.” 

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At the end of the day, happiness ebbs and flows, so if you’re not feeling your most positive self right now, that’s OK. Of course, it’s important to take mental health conditions seriously, and if you’ve been feeling depressed for a long period of time, know that you’re not alone and there are options out there for you. “But if you find yourself stressed and occasionally unhappy, just know that’s part of [life],” says Galloway. “Keep on keeping on; that is a [common] part of the journey.” 

For some, stressing about your happiness can lead to even more feelings of overwhelm. So at the risk of sounding cheesy: Try to trust the process. “For most people, every day, [just put] one foot in front of the other,” Galloway says. “Remember, nothing is as good or as bad as it seems, and happiness waits for you.”

Happiness is a journey, not a destination—so enjoy the ride. According to Galloway, movement and social connection are crucial for a positive outlook on life, so consider it another reason to grab a buddy and get moving.

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