Today I’d like to talk about the qualities that characterize the happiest women and what you can do to boost your own experience of happiness.

Many of us think of happiness as that feeling that arises when we buy something new, or have an exciting experience.

What is one small shift you can make this week to enhance your experience of happiness?

Psychologist and researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book The How of Happiness, describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”

This definition taps into the more enduring kind of happiness which is the one I’m talking about here—as it captures the fleeting positive emotions that come with happiness, while simultaneously tapping into a deeper sense of meaning and life purpose.

Interestingly the more lasting kind of happiness is not influenced by income (unless at the poverty level), address, religious preference, educational level, pain/disease/loss or most life transitions. Yet generally we each have our own unique happiness “set point” and that is where we usually return once the dust settles.

What do you notice that happens to you internally after the rush or feeling of happiness subsides?

For most of us happiness continues to come in waves like all other emotions. However there are strategies and actions that we can implement that increase the likelihood of experiencing happiness with greater depth and consistency.

That is, it is possible to change our happiness set point by making certain choices.

So who are the happiest women? And what are they doing to strengthen this characteristic?

Here are seven vital qualities of the happiest women:

1. They surround themselves with supportive family members and friends. The happiest women spend the least amount of time alone although when they do, it feels nourishing.

2. Rather than competing with others or measuring themselves by other people’s standards—they wish to connect, collaborate and support the people in their lives.

3. The happiest women routinely get immersed in ‘flow’ activities. Flow activities are projects or interests that occupy the mind in such a deep way that women lose track of time—such as yoga, painting, writing, dancing, or connecting with friends.

4. They pursue personal growth and intimate connections throughout the life cycle.

5. The happiest women are grateful for the gifts that they know they have and don’t take them for granted.

6. They also have the capacity to forgive others readily and know to remove themselves from situations in which they are not highly valued.

7. The happiest women have compassion not just for others, but for themselves. They see their imperfections and love themselves anyway, knowing they are worthy.

What is one small shift you can make this week to enhance your experience of happiness?