HOW TO BE HAPPY
Life therapists and behavioral psychologists have been researching how to be happy for a very long time. It seems logical that happiness can predict health and longevity. But happiness isn’t something that just happens to you. Everyone has the power to make small changes in behaviors, lifestyle choices and relationships can significantly help set the course for a happier life.
Emotions are closely related to perceptions. The way that we perceive ourselves and others has a direct correlation to happiness. When we have unbiased perceptions we then open up new opportunities of having intentional behaviors that will maximize the happy meter.
Try implementing these four concepts and you will be on your way of uncovering the winning mindset of how to be happy.
1. Optimistic attitude
It is completely possible to think yourself happy. According to a scientific study, those who think happy will be happy. This all comes from a change in attitude, and after a bit of practice, is a change that we can adapt to quite easily. There is astounding evidence that having an optimistic attitude directly affects the indicator on the happy meter. The way that you perceive the speed bumps of life and viewing circumstances in a positive way will attract new opportunities and happiness. People who view their lives positively, use a life coach, and embrace optimism experience lower levels of depression and stress.
2. Style of Living
Psychology is dominated by research studies and statistics that prove there is a guaranteed link between happiness and a positive lifestyle made up of nutrition, exercise and restful sleep. It is well known that exercise is good for the body, but it is also good for your overall wellbeing. There is a significant association between exercise and happiness, with one scientific study confirming that levels of happiness increased after any amount of physical activity. From light walking around the park to intense bike ride, exercise can be as personal and demanding as you want it to be.
This positive impact on your mood and emotions happens when chemicals in the brain, known as endorphins, are stimulated by an activity. The effects of 20 minutes of exercise can continue to stimulate your brain for up to 12 hours, with this result lasting longer the more you exercise during a span of time. The endorphins in your brain replace stress-chemicals known as cortisol, reducing any negative mood or emotions. The links between exercise and happiness are so strong that exercise may often be recommended as an alternative treatment for depression.
3. Meaningful relationships
Happiness lies at the heart of fostering healthy, caring relationships with others. Forming loving and compassionate relationships with others tops other factors in being happy. Fostering close relationships with the people around you, whether that means friends, family, neighbors or work colleagues, provides a powerful source of love and support and increases feelings of self-worth.
Actively strengthening the relationships that you have with other people is an essential step towards happiness. The people who are the happiest are people who are true to themselves: they know who and what makes them happy and they exert every effort to stay in these inspiring positive environments. Research shows that it is the quality of relationships, not the quantity, which matters the most. Spending quality time together through shared conversation, enjoyment, and experiences will create positive emotions that ultimately lead to happiness.
You may be surprised to discover that happiness is intertwined with contributing with acts of gratitude and kindness. Helping others is a guaranteed way to boost your happiness levels and it is one of the most popular paths to happiness that people take. A research panel in Germany carried out the world’s biggest study on happiness to find out what made people permanently happier for a much longer period of time. While results included exercise and relationships, the strongest association between longer lasting happiness came from positive acts towards others. Helping others was proven to provide long-term increased happiness levels on a scale that no other happiness factor could match. From helping your neighbors with their shopping, to simply remembering to say ‘thank you’ each day; the more compassionate you are, the happier you become.
It is possible that the more we think of others, the more value we give ourselves. By finding ways to contribute to others, we unknowingly boost our self-esteem. Actively practicing compassion and kindness eliminates negative emotions such as anger and stress and replaces them with positive emotions like happiness and compassion. One small act of kindness can have a greater impact on your happiness levels than a short burst of exercise. Gratitude can not only increase feelings of happiness but is also believed to increase life satisfaction. The benefits can occur almost instantly and can permanently improve your happiness set-point if completed frequently enough for a long enough period of time. The bursts of happiness that happen as a result of the acts of kindness or gratitude can actually improve your sleep and, in some cases, can decrease the symptoms of illnesses (such as tiredness or weakness).
5. Meditate Learn more about meditation >>>
Meditation is often touted as an important habit for improving focus, clarity, and attention span, as well as helping to keep you calm. It turns out it's also useful for improving your happiness:
In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study concluded that after meditating, parts of the participants' brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.
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. Meditation can actually make you happier long-term.
Studies show that in the minutes right after meditating, we experience feelings of calm and contentment, as well as heightened awareness and empathy. And, research even shows that regular meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness.
To end with re-capping the sentiments of the beginning of this article. It is advantageous to reframe any limiting perceptions that are holding you back from perceiving yourself and others. Clearing away toxic perceptions will open up new opportunities for happiness never thought to be possible.
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