Most of us desire to be happier. It’s a big part of what makes us human.
But are there practical changes we can make in our lives to improve our happiness?
I believe there are.
If you have time to stop and smell the roses, great! But if you find yourself in a hurry (and who doesn’t these days?) simply seeing beautiful blooms can lift your spirits, according to a study done by Harvard. The happiness boost is greatest for night owls who have a hard time getting going in the morning, they found. So buy yourself some flowers and put them in a vase near your bed.
If you’re not a fan of flowers, try these other ways to boost your happiness:
-List things you’re grateful for
It’s always a great idea to reflect on the things in life that we are thankful and grateful for. Most of us take for granted what the universe has to offer, and understandably so. Everyone has their own busy life and sometimes we do not have the time to stop and think about things to be thankful for.
However, it’s worth taking a timeout and making a list of things to be thankful for, so that you can see just how much positivity and happiness there is in the world. In doing this, you are constantly reminding yourself what there is to be thankful for and what there is to be grateful for.
Sure, you know exercise is good for you. It keeps your weight in check, makes you stronger, and keeps you feeling youthful and staying active into old age. But did you know that exercise can also make you a happier person? It’s true.
When you work out and stay active on a regular basis, it’s not just a coincidence that you feel less stressed out, less anxious, and generally happier.
Dopamine, a chemical that plays a role in happiness, is a neurotransmitter in the brain that’s necessary for feelings of pleasure and happiness. The best way to increase your brain’s dopamine production? Exercise. So run, lift, jump, play — and get happy.
It has long been understood that fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean, unprocessed proteins are the best foods for our daily diet, but only over the last 10 years or so have studies begun to show that healthy eating impacts not only our physical health but our mental health as well. And an unhealthy diet—high in trans fats, sugar, and processed and refined foods—increases the risk for depression, especially in children and teens because it deprives the brain of the nutrients it needs, and breeds bad bacteria in the gut, which impacts our mental and physical health.
Books are good for people on so many levels. They can help you fall asleep, lower your stress through laughter or tears, provide an escape from reality, and offer exposure to perspectives different from your own.
Josie Billington at the University of Liverpool surveyed 4,164 adults and found several interesting differences between people who read regularly and those who do not. Readers reported being less stressed and less depressed and have higher levels of self-esteem and a greater ability to cope with challenges. Compared with non-readers, they also scored higher in terms of feeling close to friends and their community and had a stronger awareness of social issues and cultural diversity.
Poor sleep affects mood by causing frustration and stress, while healthy sleep can be the reason for good spirits and even happiness. Long periods of time without sufficient sleep may increase the risk of developing anxiety, depression, or other mood disorders. At the same time, a long time with good sleep makes you feel healthy, joyful and strong. Insomnia, as well as the feelings of misery or distress, can be relieved with improved sleep habits. Of course, if this doesn’t help, better consult a doctor or a specialist in sleep or mood disorders.
As you see, there is not only a clear connection between sleep – and your happiness, but the way how you feel and your mental state can also be affected by the quality of your sleep.