April 16, 2023
If you are like the majority of people, you just want to be happy. Many people, when asked what they want in life for their children, respond with something like, “I just want them to be happy.”
But what is happiness anyway?
Happiness is hard to define, but most people know it when they feel it. According to researchers, happiness can be defined as a sense of subjective wellbeing, usually accompanied by feelings of joy, contentment, satisfaction and fulfillment. And who wouldn’t want more of that?
But how do you go about actually increasing happiness in your life? Turns out that it’s actually pretty simple to do. Here are twelve easy to implement ways that are sure to make you smile:
One - Put On A Happy Face
That’s right! Smile, even if you don’t particularly feel like it. You smile when you are happy, but it works the other way around as well. Smiling has a definite influence on your emotions. When you smile, your brain releases the feel-good brain chemical dopamine. In turn, the dopamine makes you feel happier, and as a result you smile more.A happy facial feedback loop!
Two - Get Active
Yes, we know you have heard it before, but exercise is one of the best things you can do to get and stay in a better mood. Plus, it takes very little exercise to make a real difference in how you feel. You definitely don’t have to train for a marathon to reap the benefits. Try going for a fifteen or twenty minute walk after dinner or sign up for an in person or online tai chi class. A little effort goes a long way.
Three - Be Grateful
A regular gratitude practice can do wonders for your happiness level. Most of us in the modern world certainly have a lot for which to be grateful, but you also don’t have to be wealthy, have tons of friends or a zillion adoring followers on social media to be grateful.
How about simply appreciating a foundation situation like a safe place to live, foo to eat and friends and family. Focus on how wonderful it is to be able to breathe deeply, or to hear birdsong outside your window. Make it a regular practice to start and end your day with 3 or 4 things for which you are grateful.
Four - Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
The old saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy!” could not be more accurate, especially in our age of social media, where nearly everyone is putting their “best selves” forward, including glamorous photos of dream vacations, beautiful cars, and gushing over financial success in business.
Research shows that when you are constantly comparing yourself to others, you are more likely to suffer from lower self-esteem, a sense of discontent, anxiety and even depression. You are good enough!
Five - Get Social
As a human being, you are naturally wired for a connection to others. That being said, once you reach adulthood, it can be difficult to make new friends. It’s not how many friendships you have, but the quality of those relationships that are important.
If you are waiting on people to reach out to you, please consider making the first move. Invite a few folks over for an afternoon on the back deck with a pitcher of lemonade and some good conversation. This doesn’t have to get fancy or expensive. Or sign up for a class, do some volunteer work at your local animal rescue, where you are likely to meet people whose interests are aligned with yours. Changes are, they are looking for new friends as well.
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