Five Tips That Are Guaranteed to Boost Happiness
If you ask most people what they wish for the most, many will say they want to be happier. Our world today is overworked and overstressed, where happiness feels like a distant dream, but the truth is that one's ability to be happy depends on oneself, and it is so important for your overall health.
Some people seem naturally happier than others, and it's important to remember that it's not a competition. I have noticed that the happiest people I know have had many challenges in life but chosen habits and lifestyles that promote happiness. It's not a one-and-done deal but something you must practice every day until it becomes a habit because I believe happiness is a habit you can build.
Move your body
Many people have a love-hate relationship with exercise because they see it as a punishment when it should be seen as a privilege, as your body's ability to move can make you stronger and boost your mood. A 2017 study showed that exercise helps release serotonin and endorphins, making you feel more positive and less prone to feeling down. Working out is one of the best antidepressants, and many people feel great after only one workout, so why not make it a regular habit?
From personal experience, I have noticed that I always feel better after working out. Though I started exercising to be physically fit, I exercise daily because it is medicine for my mind.
Choose foods that boost your mood
The approach to food can be controversial as many people associate eating rich foods with happiness because they like the taste, but they don't all help the brain. However, some studies prove that eating certain foods can increase happiness and reduce anxiety because of how they work on four happiness hormones: dopamine, serotonin, endorphin, and oxytocin.
For example, dark chocolate has tryptophan (which produces serotonin) and phenylethylamine (which produces dopamine that works as an antidepressant). Bananas have vitamin B6, which helps make serotonin too.
Work on yourself
Recently, I read the book "Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier" by Arthur C. Brooks and I loved it because it was filled with helpful information that actually work. One of my favorite quotes from the book was in "Introduction: Albina's Secret," where Brooks talked about his mother-in-law. He said, "She switched from wishing others were different to working on the one person she could control: herself. She felt negative emotions just like anyone else, but she set about making more conscious choices about how to react to them. The decisions she made—not her primal feelings—led her to try to transform less productive emotions into positive ones such as gratitude, hope, compassion, and humor."
Try focusing on how you would respond ideally to what happens in your life rather than obsessing about what happened.
You might have heard that being grateful makes you happier, and that's because it's true. A research done by two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, had three groups of participants. The first group wrote about what they were grateful for that week, the second group wrote about what annoyed them, and the third group wrote about neutral topics. At the end of 10 weeks, the first group that wrote about gratitude said they "felt better about their lives," were more active, and sought medical attention less. This doesn't happen overnight and needs time, but it always works.
My friend and I started our version of this experiment where, at the end of every day, we texted each other three good things that happened that day, and in three months, we both felt better about life.
Accept People as They Are
We spend so much energy trying to change people and read a lot of inaccurate articles where they say- "if s/he loved you, s/he would change," and I disagree with that statement. Trying to change others takes a lot of energy and is usually met with resistance that can lead to resentment and unhappiness. When I started meditating, a friend recommended Deepak Chopra's 21-Day Meditation Guide, and the topic of acceptance resonated with me, so I started researching it more. Accepting people as they are takes the pressure away from trying to change others so you can use your energy on things that you can change about yourself. This practice also made me less influenced by others to change for them or worry about what they think of me.
"Acceptance is the ability to allow people, circumstances, and situations to be as they are. It is a conscious choice to not resist the experiences of your life, but rather to permit them to be as they are and flow with what is happening. It stems from the recognition that this moment, right now, is the result of all the previous moments that have come before. This moment is the expression of the entire universe, to fight it is to fight the evolutionary flow of the entire universe—a daunting task to say the least. (via Chopra)." I read this quote often.