We're all different in what we want to be happy, but there are a few things that you can do that will actually make you happier starting now. These are all ways to be happier and they are backed up by research.
1. Start exercising more regularly.
As little as seven minutes a day may be enough to kick start your happiness. You may have heard about the new 7 minute workout that has been mentioned in the NY Times, well there is a reason that its gaining in popularity. Regular exercise gives you plenty of benefits including helping you to relax, increasing your brain power, helping you lose weight and reducing the incidence and severity of depression. Exercise releases endorphins that make us feel happier and it only takes seven minutes a day to make a difference so you can start right now.
2. Get more sleep to make you happier
If you want to be less sensitive to negative emotions then more sleep helps us to be more resilient. Sleep helps you to recover and your body to repair itself from the stresses of the day. It will make you more productive and it will also affect your positivity which in turn is linked to your happiness.
Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala. Positive stimuli are processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation affects the Hippocampus more so when we are sleep deprived it is the bad memories and incidents that we are more likely to recall having a poor effect on our mood.
3. Spend time with friends and family
If you speak to any aged care worker, they will tell you that one of the most common regrets is not spending enough time with their loved ones when they were able. Spending time with loved ones reduces our sense of loneliness and makes us feel more positive. Even keeping in touch with a phone call can make you feel happier and boost your endorphins. Go ahead and call your mum – it will make both of you happier right now.
4. Go outside – sunshine and fresh air makes us happier
Spending time outside can actually boost your mood and make you feel happier. It will also improve your mood, broaden your thinking and improve you memory. All you need to get this outdoor benefit is to spend twenty minutes outside – you can do that in a lunch break or even in some workplaces over morning tea.
5. Help someone else
If you spend a little time helping others, this will actually boost your mood. It will bring you far greater satisfaction to help someone else than to buy a new pair of shoes. Performing a kindness for someone else is proven to give the highest boost to feeling good immediately after. It may not have the long term effects of exercise which lasts a good twenty minutes after we have finished but performing an act of kindness does in fact boost your happiness for a short time.
Smiling is proven to alleviate pain and improve how positive your thoughts are. When we smile more we improve our mood, are more productive and we are les withdrawn. For all the well practiced customer service representatives out there, a fake smile doesn't count. When we fake it, we have the same, if not worse, effects of not smiling at all. So think of something pleasant and smile. it will boost your mood pretty much immediately. Smiling will also help you cognitively. People who smile more are more likely to see not just an isolated incident but they will see the whole picture.
7. Plan a weekend away
You don't even have to actually take a holiday, simply planning some time away will actually improve your mood. The sense of anticipation of actually taking time off an imagining all of the activities that you will be doing will improve your mood substantially. If you don't have the time or the funds to plan for a holiday right now, mark a future date on your calendar when you will have time and finds, looking forward to planning a trip will actually work just as well! Its the sense of anticipation which boosts our mood so it will work well for other activities you enjoy too such as watching a new movie or going out to dinner with your significant other. its all about the anticipated good time we're going to have.
Meditating actually does clear our mind and ease our stress, making us happier and calmer. Meditation also improves focus and clarity and improves your attention span. It helps you get more done, reducing stress about things you haven't done as well as giving you an opportunity to reset your self. By regularly engaging in meditation you will be building on a skill for your brain to relax and refocus. When you first begin to meditate, don't be surprised if you cannot stay still for longer than ten minutes – you aren't used to relaxing like that and it feels awkward and foreign. As you do it more regularly you will enjoy the solitude and peace and find that you are happier and more productive. Your brain gets into a habit of calmness and you change the way that you think becoming less stressed in general.
9. Practice gratitude.
Be grateful for what you have; it will increase your satisfaction with life in general and your productivity.It will make a huge difference to your outlook on life, and your everyday mood will improve. There are a number of different ways you can practice gratitude. Keep a gratitude diary, write three things every day that you are grateful for in your life. Share a good thing that happened every day with a friend, loved one or work colleague. its not that difficult to work into conversation. You will soon be known to be a happier more positive person and you will attract similar minded people into your life boosting your all round positivity.