Seriously speaking, this is not a game. These are ways that have been scientifically proven to make you happy. Aren’t you interested? Come, let’s check it out.
- Exercise: 7 Minutes Could Be Enough – Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it is an effective strategy for overcoming depression. A study was conducted on people diagnosed with depression and final results showed that the people whose depression was being treated using exercised had relapsed by only 9%. This simply means that the benefits of exercise are many even if you don’t suffer from depression. Exercise can help you relax, increase your brain power, improve your body image even if you don’t lose any weight and also help in releasing proteins and endorphins that make us feel happier.
- Sleep More: You’ll Be Less Sensitive to Negative Emotions – We know that sleep helps our body recover from the day and repair itself and that it helps us focus and be more productive. It turns out sleep is also important for happiness. In NutureShock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explain how sleep affects positivity: negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories get processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories yet recall gloomy memories just fine. It is not surprising to see that people who had longer sleep at night and slept better have happier and more productive days.
- Spend More Time with Friends/Family: Money Can’t Buy You Happiness – Research has also proved that time spent with friends and family really does affect how happy we feel. George Vaillant directed a 72-year study of the lives of 268 men. In an interview, Vaillant was asked what he had learnt from the study and responded that he learnt that the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people. The Terman study, covered in The Longevity Project, found that relationships and how we help others were important factors in living long, happy lives.
- Get Outside More: Happiness is Maximized at 57 – In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor recommends spending time in the fresh air to improve your happiness. One study found that spending 20 minutes outdoors, preferably in natural serene environments, in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory. Studies also found that happiness is maximized at 57 degrees (13.9°C), so keep an eye on the weather forecast before heading outside for your 20 minutes of fresh air.
- Help Others: 100 Hours a Year is the Magic Number – One added reason we should help others more is that it makes us feel very happy. In fact, 100 hours per year (or two hours per week) is the optimal time we should dedicate to helping others in order to enrich our lives. Shawn Achor says this again in his book “…when researchers interviewed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that money spent on people activities–such as concerts and group dinners out–brought far more pleasure than material purchases like shoes, televisions, or expensive watches”. Spending money on other people, called “prosocial spending” and spending time with people also boosts happiness.
- Practice Smiling: Reduce Pain, Improve Mood, Think Better – Smiling can make us feel better, but it’s more effective when we back it up with positive thoughts, according to this study led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts–such as a tropical vacation or a child’s recital–improve their mood and withdraw less. Smiling can improve our attention and help us perform better on cognitive tasks and it is also one way to reduce the distress caused by an upsetting situation.
- Plan a Trip: It Helps Even if You Don’t Actually Take One – The simple planning a vacation or break from work, not even actually taking a holiday, can improve our happiness. A study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks. After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people. If you can’t take the time for a vacation right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar–even if it’s a month or a year down the road. Then, whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it.
- Meditate: Rewire Your Brain for Happiness – Meditation is not only great for improving focus, clarity, and attention span, as well as helping to keep you calm; it’s also useful for improving your happiness. Meditation literally clears your mind and calms you down; it’s been often proven to be the single most effective way to live a happier life.
- Move Closer to Work: A Short Commute is Worth More Than a Big House – Our commute to work can have a surprisingly powerful impact on our happiness. The fact that we tend to commute twice a day at least five days a week makes it unsurprising that the effect would build up over time and make us less and less happy.
- Practice Gratitude: Increase Happiness and Satisfaction – Sharing three good things that happen each day with a friend or your partner, and going out of your way to show gratitude when others help you is a great way to increase happiness in your life. Participants in a study included 219 men and women who wrote three letters of gratitude over a 3 week period. Results indicated that writing letters of gratitude increased participants’ happiness and life satisfaction while decreasing depressive symptoms.
Man, this is new knowledge for me too o. Turns out happiness is not just a state of mind but a state of mind influenced by external factors. Hope you were schooled too.
Culled from inc.com