One of the most common mistakes people make about happiness is thinking that it just happens on its own, without us doing anything. Even though this may be true sometimes, it’s better to think of happiness as a state we have to work to reach rather than as the default setting.
Like any other skill, being happy is something you have to work at. It also has many different parts and is affected by a lot of different things. And the best way to bring these together is through habits, which are the holy grail of activity and mindset. With just a few of these changes to your routine (and maybe even your decor), you might feel happier.
Don’t Forget To Smile
You know that being happy makes you smile, but research shows that the act of smiling itself makes you even happier. Psychology Today says that when you smile, neuropeptides that fight stress are released. Dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins are all released when you smile. This makes you feel happier and more relaxed, and it can also lower your blood pressure and heart rate. How to smile more at home without much effort? Hang art that inspires you and makes you feel good. For example, put a fun, motivating print in the bathroom where you’ll see it every day.
Exercise For 15 Minutes In The Morning
Researchers in the psychology and neuroscience department at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire did a study on fitness and memory in 2012. They found that out of 54 adults aged 18 to 36, those who had exercised in the month before the test but not on the day of the test did better on the memory test than those who had been inactive. But they didn’t do nearly as well as those who had worked out that morning.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
Happiness spreads like a virus. A groundbreaking study from 2008 found that living within a mile of a happy person makes you 25% happier. If you’re feeling down, try talking to a friend who is usually more upbeat. Your brains have mirror neurons that will literally copy what someone else is feeling or saying. If you need a boost of positivity, talk to people who share it.
Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things
Try not to always go for material goods when deciding how to spend your hard-earned money. Use it for unique things like a boat trip through the Mediterranean, a lino print class, or a pop-up supper club. Studies have shown over and over that spending money on experiences instead of things makes us happier.
Yes, buying that fresh spring tote gives us a little buzz, but only up to a certain point. The problem is that we get used to it quickly, and it stops being interesting.
The excitement of getting something new is short-lived and doesn’t last as long as the happiness that comes from one-time events like skydiving or going to the Secret Cinema.
Make a Social Connection
Even if it’s with a stranger, a little bit of social interaction can help you feel better quickly. Talking to people, you don’t know can actually make you happier, according to studies. Elizabeth Dunn, a researcher and psychology professor, told Huffington Post that people are made to be social and that talking to strangers is just as valuable as talking to people we know. If you needed a reason to go outside and get a coffee or go to a local event, this is a great one. Talking to the barista or meeting new people while you’re out and about will be totally worth it.
Spend More Time With Family and Friends
Friendships can be a key to living a long and happy life. In fact, one study found that not spending much time with other people, which can lead to loneliness, is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and twice as bad as being overweight. During your lunch break, call a friend or, if you can, go for a walk with them. If you have a lot going on during the week, you could ask a friend to help you run some errands on the weekend.
Some people may find it easy to do these things to be happier, but if you have depression, chronic stress, or other mental illnesses, it can be hard to see the bright side. Don’t forget that each day is different and that these are things you should work on every day. If you still can’t handle things, talk to a friend or family member for help, or call your doctor for advice on what to do next.