Turn on the news today and you’re assaulted with enough negativity to bring anyone down. Well, almost anyone. There’s always that one person who just seems happier than most. You know who I mean. That someone who seems to just roll with it — whatever “it” may be — when others around them are walking around with a metaphorical cloud over their heads. Wouldn’t it be great to be that happy, to smile in the face of adversity instead of hiding in a pint of ice cream?
Well, maybe you can be that person. There is actually science behind improving happiness, and it’s good for you. Happy doesn’t just feel better, it is better. Happier people have healthier hearts and stronger immune systems. Happier is healthier. And greater happiness is within your reach.
Some people believe that happiness is beyond our control, that it’s something we’re born with or is caused by outside forces. But science shows that happiness isn’t merely a direct result of circumstances. It’s also a function of how we interact with our circumstances. If that wasn’t true, then every person facing the same challenges would react the same way. And we know they don’t.
So how do some people improve their chances of having a positive view of circumstances that seem to drag others down? Well, they build habits that help them actively choose the positive over the negative, every day. For many people, improving happiness levels can be a route that we choose.
You can build these happiness choices too. Here are 11 tips to help you turn that frown around:
- It sounds too simple, but put on a happy face. Smiling changes your brain chemistry, reducing your stress level and lowering your heart rate. Your brain even responds positively to a fake smile, so go ahead and paste on a smile. The more you do it, the easier and more natural it becomes Your brain will thank you!
- Help Someone. Helping others or volunteering can give you a sense of accomplishment, wellbeing and boost your self-confidence. Making a difference just feels good for others and for you.
- No, not to your electronics, to your tribe. Personal connections help lower your stress level and give a feeling of belonging. People with social networks and systems are happier and experience greater levels of contentment.
- Feel gratitude. Acknowledging the good in your life helps you feel connected to something bigger than yourself, and helps you experience more positive emotions.
- Pass Out Compliments. When you compliment someone on something, you will see happiness build instantly in them and it tends to reflect back at you and also makes you feel good too. This process also helps you build a habit of recognizing positive features in someone which might also help you recognize the positive features of your own life.
- Even a little, 5 minutes worth, affects your chemistry and acts as a pick-me-up. And moving regularly can keep depression from catching up to you.
- Embrace Forgiveness. Release the anger/hurt you’ve been holding on to; sometimes easier said than done, but work to build this skill. You’ll gain a sense of peace and also release feelings that sustain unhappiness in you. Forgiveness isn’t for the person who hurt you; it’s for you. It frees you from the effects of the anger and pain you’ve been holding onto.
- Be mindful. Practicing mindfulness quiets your mind, helps you focus, and rewires your brain for happiness.
- Sleep on it. Don’t underestimate how important sleep is. Your body and mind can’t perform optimally when you’re lacking sleep. When you lack sleep, your emotions run high and you have greater levels of emotional fragility. Don’t let your phone suck you in before bed, put it away and let your mind have some calming time before you go to bed; it will help you fall asleep better and faster. Adequate sleep helps you stay at the top of your game.
- Build Goals, Keep your purpose in mind. Having goals and knowing the why behind those goals, whether at work or play, helps give you a sense of meaning in your life. A meaningful life is a happier life.
- Surround yourself with positivity. Down people bring you down. Think about it. When your with people who are unhappy and complain, does it not make you also feel unhappy and discontented? If the people around you are cheerful and have a positive outlook, their positive emotions will have a positive effect on yours.