The Pursuit of Happiness
The nights are drawing in, the days are getting colder and the Christmas ads started far too early. Its easy to see why some people find winter a little less jolly than the summer months.
Good news! There are some super simple ways to increase happiness - even the scientists say so! Here are just a few for you to try the next time you’re feeling less than 100%.
There’s a tonne of research linking sleep with happiness. When we don’t get enough sleep there’s a much higher risk of depression and our stress levels can rise quickly. Ensuring you get enough sleep each night promotes both physical and mental health as well as happiness.
Meditation is a technique to build awareness of your thoughts, emotions/feelings, and body as a whole. Focusing on calming the mind can help you to control your stresses and worries to pull your mind out of it's habitual state of constant processing and connect with the present moment. Through practice you can develop your awareness leading to improvements in many aspects of life, including focus, decision-making, patience, and stress-reduction.
Plan a Trip
According to a 2010 study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, just planning or anticipating a trip can make you happier than actually taking it. The research found that the subjects had a significant boost in happiness just from looking forward to the fun times ahead of them. So vacations are officially health - yay!
This one is easy. Scientists say that kind people actually live longer, healthier lives and that helping other has a bigger effect on your health than even exercise or going to church. Volunteer work has been proven to both reduce depression and lower anxiety. But hey, you don't have to go crazy, start small with a random act of kindness such as helping a struggling person to carry their shopping or opening the door for a busy mum with her buggy.
Exercise still has a firm place in the happiness stakes. Its well documented that exercise produces endorphins and endorphins trigger positive feelings in the brain - resulting in happy people! Simples! P.s. you don't have to join a gym, a simple walk should do the trick.
And on that note.....get yourself outside, it's one of the fastest ways to improve both your health and your happiness. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research shows just how little time it takes to get the benefits of being outside. Spending just 20 minutes in a park — even if you don’t exercise while you’re there — is enough to improve well-being, according to the research.
Spend Time With Loved Ones
Research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that individuals who had greater levels of social support enjoyed better mental health. Better physical health, is also more likely in people with strong social attachments. So grab your best mate for a coffee, visit your gran or just give your mum a call to say hello.
Try it - it's impossible to smile and not feel happy!