Life at home and work and annoying happenings that bother you – anything can make us unhappy, stressed, and frustrated.
However, being chill, calm, and cheerful isn’t so hard, if you know how to go about it. How do you stay happy all the time? Is it possible and is there any proof that these ways can work?
In this post, I want to show you ways that are scientifically proven too. If this does not convince you, then I do not know what will!
BREATHE A LITTLE. Even though you have all that work stewing in your head, you need to breathe. Take a slow, long breath in through your nose, then gently exhale through your mouth. Don’t let out a big, sobbing puff. Think of your breath as the wind. There is a tiny village sitting in front of your lips, and you don’t want to blow too hard on the little people. Breathe like this for five or more breaths whenever you are stressed.
STAY BUSY. While you may have been looking forward to slouching on the couch, stuffing your face with cheese puffs and getting orange powder all over the cushions, having this lazy time in the dark will gradually make you think little of yourself. If your tired, read, nap, do yoga, stretch, or do something peaceful and creative. If you’re up for it, jog, go on a brisk walk, anything to push off the laziness.
EAT SMART. This just means that instead of choosing Super Oozers for a juicy, oily hamburger, you should choose Salad Party. You may long for those sweet, unhealthy foods for a while, but once they’re gone, you’ll feel better than ever! Don’t go out of your way to make yourself super skinny. Don’t think skinny, think healthy! Have a few snacks like fruits or nuts during the day, as well as lunch, breakfast, and dinner. Only eat when you’re hungry, and drink plenty of water. You need eight cups of water a day to maintain a good balance of H20. You should check that your body is getting enough of every vitamin, as well.
FIND YOUR HAPPY PLACE. It may be sunning on a rock in your garden surrounded by flowers, or it may be snuggled into your mattress, dozing over a good book. It doesn’t matter where it is, just that you get there at least once a week! Make sure that you quiet yourself every now and then and be grateful for all you have. This will leave you refreshed and with a pleasing outlook on life.
DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF. Not often, but spend that extra buck when you need a manicure, or want to see the game. This is important, and remember that even tidying the house will have you smiling when the results are in. You are you, and you are worth it.
ACCEPT YOURSELF. Somebody, somewhere, would risk their life for you, your smile. Smile more often, and know that everything is balanced. Don’t get plastic surgery, settle for something that makes you happy. The simple, sunbeam, every day, buttermilk pancake, fresh breeze, blue waters, I-think-he-likes-me kind of happy.
GO FOR IT. You were put on this world for a reason. You have a claim to this world, and it might not be taken.
EXERCISE MORE. Lots of studies on this one. Exercising releases the good mood endorphins so that you are always in a better mood after a workout or simply a walk to the supermarket. I have never met a person in a bad mood after a workout! But where is the scientific evidence?
The University of Toronto did a great job on this and analyzed no less than 25 research studies. The conclusion was that physical activity can and does help to keep depression at bay.
The best study I know is where three groups of depressed people are put on a regime of anti-depressants, exercise or a combination of the two. No surprise to know that all three groups were happier, but did it last? Six months later, the group who had been treated with exercise only, had a very low relapse rate of 9%. The other two groups had relapsed and how! Their rates were ranging from 38% to 31%, so about a third of them were now depressed again.
POSITIVE THINKING AFFECTS YOUR PERFORMANCE. “Happiness is the precursor to success.” – Shawn Achor Sounds like pie in the sky? Well, according to Shawn Achor, if he knows everything about what factors are impinging on your happiness such as stressors, hassles, successes, economic circumstances, relationships and so on, then he can only predict 10% of your long term happiness. The remaining 90% is how you process the world around you. If happiness is on the other side of success, it is unlikely you will get there as you continually strive to get better grades, higher salaries and so on.
Positive thinking raises energy levels, creativity and productivity by as much as 30%. The secret is to use positive thinking now, rather than when you are rich and famous. Watch the video below for a very entertaining outline of this.
TRASH YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS. Let’s face it: Sometimes we are what’s making us miserable. We just can’t stop thinking about how so-and-so wronged us, or how our life didn’t turn out as we hoped. Negative thought processes — like worrying, ruminating, self-judgment, and fearing rejection — just keep us miserable and unable to move forward. When you find yourself thinking negatively, pause and refocus your thoughts. In time, your brain will be able to do this more easily on its own.
Some people are overwhelmed by their negative thoughts and they have real problems in getting rid of them. A University of Madrid study found that by actually writing these thoughts down on a piece of paper and then destroying them was effective. They recommended that you either tear them up, throw them in the trash or burn them!
The fact of discarding them physically does help in reducing their toxic effects. Psychologists suggest doing this on a regular basis.
PRACTICE MINDFULNESS. What does mindfulness mean? It just means that you concentrate and pay full attention to the present moment and accept it in a non-judgmental way. This is now becoming a popular trend in psychology and medicine. When done regularly it can boost mood, reduce stress levels, and lead to a better quality of life. Focus on the present moment means that you can savor touch, smell and other physical sensations but also happy feelings. Concentrate on the joy they are giving you. It is really effective in forgetting about the past and not fretting about future, fearful scenarios.
DON’T FORGET YOUR BEAUTY SLEEP. When you do not get enough sleep, your negativity takes over big time. This was the conclusion researchers came to after several experiments. One of these is particularly interesting. The researchers homed in on the hippocampus which is the part of the brain which processes our positive thoughts. When we are sleep deprived, this function starts to creak and negative thoughts muscle in much more than before.
To illustrate this, researchers asked sleep deprived students to remember a list of words. They were getting a high score on all the negative words (81%) but when it came to the positive ones or neutral ones, they were only getting about 31% of these right. Dr. Robert Stickgold has conducted similar experiments on sleep and memory. Now you know why people are always in a bad mood when they do not get enough sleep.
FOCUS ON THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE. “The heart goes where the head takes it, and neither cares much about the whereabouts of the feet.”- Dr. Daniel Gilbert.
We often talk about winning the lottery and where we would go and above all what we would buy. We might even talk about giving to charity. But we never or rarely talk about what our state of mind would be and how much happier and carefree we would be. This is why focusing on priorities to get the life you want to live is so important.
After all, there is more to life than _______ (fill in the blanks yourself).
FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS. Are you curious, open-minded or brave? How are you using these strengths to improve your life and that of others? These are key questions but people who exploit their strengths rather than dwelling on their weaknesses are generally much happier. Being able to realize our full potential through exploiting our strengths is one of the best ways of finding happiness and helping to make the world a better place.
All these 10 ways are scientifically proven to help you feel happy. If you think your life is full of responsibilities and you’re too late to live a different life, think again! It’s really never too late to live a happier and more fulfilling life.
-By Ravinder Virdi