People who are happy are often healthier. So, what can you do to make yourself happier?
People who perceive themselves as joyful have fewer health issues, are less likely to become depressed, and live longer.
But what if you're not a happy person by nature? Is it possible to make yourself joyful, even in the midst of adversity?
It turns out that the majority of people can improve their happiness levels. According to research, heredity determines 50 percent of people's overall happiness. However, people have control over 40% of the situation, and the other 10% is dependent on the conditions.
"This means that even if you don't consider yourself happy, there's a strong chance you can improve it," says Dr. Robert Waldinger, head of the Harvard Study on Adult Development, the world's longest-running happiness study.
Put on a cheerful face.
Researchers examined data from 138 research evaluating over 11,000 people worldwide to see how facial expressions affect emotions, according to a study published in the Psychological Bulletin in June 2019. They discovered that smiling made people feel happy, whereas scowling and frowning make them feel angrier and sadder, respectively. Although the effect was minor, smiling has a wide appeal.
Attempting to achieve happiness
In fact, even the most optimistic individual finds it difficult to stay positive all of the time. Happiness, like any other facet of health and fitness, is a work in progress. But, no matter how happy you are right now, there are things you can do to improve your attitude and your mental and physical health. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Stay connected. Happiness and personal ties with family and friends were found to be strongly linked in a Harvard study led by Dr. Waldinger. Dr. Waldinger explains that "personal connection produces emotional stimulation, which is an immediate mood booster, whereas solitude is a mood crusher."
Raise your hand if you agree. Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose and lifts your spirits. The effect was notably substantial in persons over the age of 70, according to a 2016 BMJ Open study.
Perform random acts of kindness on a regular basis. Choose a day and dedicate yourself to completing acts of kindness that you would not normally do. "It can take a lot of planning ahead of time," says Tyler J. VanderWeele, director of Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Human Flourishing Program. "However, the planning process itself, as well as the purposeful decision to do good for others, can have a significant impact on one's own well-being."
Get in touch with your inner child. You have the opportunity to relive the activities that brought you delight as a child or young adult as you get older. When you were younger, what made you happy? Rekindle your youth's hobbies, games, sports, and other pastimes.
Purchase additional time. People who spend money on time-saving items, such as paying to delegate home duties, rather than material objects, have higher life satisfaction, according to a 2017 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Regardless of a person's income, the effect was the same.
Invest in memorable experiences. Money can also be used to purchase happiness through life events. It also doesn't have to be a high-priced excursion. Consider an ethnic restaurant meal, a matinée at the theatre, or a visit to an art exhibit. The investment may also have a long-term influence. People who spend money on experiences, according to some studies, enjoy longer-term satisfaction because they build happier memories. Purchasing tangible items, on the other hand, frequently gives just ephemeral enjoyment.
Spend time with folks who are happy. Happiness has the potential to spread. Happiness can be transferred through social networks, according to one study. Your positive attitude can set off a chain reaction in which your contacts become happier as a result of being around you, and they in turn help their contacts feel happy, and so on. Sadness, the researchers discovered, did not spread as widely as happiness.
Look for more green. EPJ Data Science launched an online analysis on urban green areas and their impact on inhabitants in 90 cities throughout the world on May 30, 2021. It discovered that, regardless of the country's economic situation, people's happiness was linked to the amount of urban green space in their area, such as parks, gardens, and riversides. A similar impression can be achieved by creating your own green space. Gardening at home has been demonstrated in other studies to increase emotional well-being in the same way that activities like cycling and walking do.
Change up your daily habits. According to a study published online by Nature Neuroscience on May 18, 2020, people are happier when their daily routines are more varied. Even minor adjustments can have a significant impact. Changing one's daily pattern, such as attempting a new fitness program every couple of weeks, listening to podcasts on some days and music on others, or even taking a different route to the grocery store or pharmacy, might add spice to one's life, according to the findings.
Make a list of your blessings. Make a point of writing down things for which you are grateful. It could be something as easy as receiving a meaningful compliment, reading a nice book, enjoying today's pleasant weather, or enjoying a delicious meal you enjoyed the day before.
Reduce the number of decisions you make. People who are offered more choices have greater opportunities for regret and stress, according to research. A simple method can help you reduce the stress of making decisions and protect your happiness. If a decision has no substantial ramifications, try reducing the amount of time you give yourself to make a decision or choosing from fewer options. Allowing yourself to second-guess a decision once made is not a good idea. Save the serious debates for the more important subjects. But, even when making those decisions, try not to look back.