It’s easy to consider the feeling of happiness as something that happens to you, but being in a state of happiness is a choice that you can actually seek out and attain. Be proactive! You can’t just wait for happiness to come to you, but instead go and grab it by the horns whenever you want to.
What types of life choices and decisions can lead to happiness? A lot of these involve positive activities such as leading a healthier lifestyle and developing a healthier mind too.
Happy individuals are also proven as healthier too. They never fail to exercise, eat healthy, enjoy peaceful sleep, as opposed to those who are constantly feeling stressed and depressed.
People who are always happy are constantly looking for ways on how to lead a healthier and fuller life. Whatever it is that comes first, be it a healthier lifestyle or a happy predisposition in life, the road to happiness can also lead to positive changes in all aspects of your being.
- Low blood pressure, improved immune function, and improved mobility
Based on studies, people who enjoy excellent psychological wellness are less likely to develop chronic conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and weight gain.
Further research tells us that seniors, those aged 60 years and older, who constantly feel happy and enjoy their life, are more mobile and are less likely to developing disability despite aging.
In addition, previous research findings also reveal that positive feelings and emotions, including those of being happy, calm, and lively- significantly improve immune function. In fact, one study reveals that exposure or being around happy people are less likely to get sick. Those who are happy also have minimal complaints as they are healthier and do not experience any sickness or develop medical conditions.
The association of happiness with positive health benefits held true regardless of an individual’s level of self-esteem, purpose, age, education, weight, extraversion, and pre-study immunity to viruses or disease-causing microorganisms.
With this in mind, it should be one major task for us to constantly seek for happiness to be healthy in the long run.
Hacks for Happiness
If you want to be happier, here are 25 hacks to happiness that are tried-and-tested and verified by science. Integrate these tips into your daily life so you can be happy and healthy!
When you’re depressed don’t lay down the bed, but hit the gym instead. The uplifting effects of exercise are most commonly attributed to a spike in endorphin production. However this is true, but there is another chemical known to cause the feel-good effects during and after working out. Anandamide is a neurotransmitter and endocannabinoid produced by the brain. Its main function is temporarily block feelings of depression and pain. High anandamide levels are known to increase during workouts.
Regular exercise is proven to boost the levels of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine in the brain. These brain chemicals help in reducing the effects of stress.
The 5,000-year old discipline we all known by the name, Yoga, is a comprehensive practice that improves one’s mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.
It’s not a fitness fad, but is actually a form of meditation that demands one’s full attention while moving from one asana to the next. The shift of movement also requires a shift or change in one’s mental focus too.
Yoga will not only make you flexible, but also improve one’s mental condition too! Studies on the health benefits of yoga reveals that this discipline has the same positive effects as that of psychotherapy and antidepressants.
- Consumption of dark leafy greens
Dark leafy green vegetables are rich sources of folate- a nutrient that helps the body produce mood regulators including serotonin and dopamine. One study points out that those who consume food items rich in folate have lower risk of developing depression than those who don’t eat folate-rich food items.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT was designed to help people deal more effectively with situations and events that induce anxiety. This practice helps people to recognize as well as reverse all negative thought processes and patterns and then replace them with positive ones instead.
- Fresh flowers
Adorn your home with fresh flowers in the morning to induce feelings of happiness and positive energy.
- Think happy thoughts and don’t forget to smile
The simple activity of thinking of a happy event and then smiling as a result can actually make you happy and energetic for the rest of the day.
- Light therapy
Full-spectrum light therapy is highly recommended over the consumption of antidepressants in the treatment and management of seasonal affective disorder. There are even studies pointing out to the fact that light therapy may even be one of the many solutions for people suffering from major depression.
- Open your shades
If you don’t have a lamp or a light box, make sure to at least open the shades or blind to let the sun shine into your home. A bright living or workspace will help in uplifting your mood altogether.
- Enjoy the outdoors
Exposure to bright light outdoors is beneficial in that it induces positive mood. In addition, exposure to outdoor light during daytime can help in mood enhancement and increases energy levels as a result of endorphin production.
- Mushroom consumption
Mushrooms are undeniably healthy and beneficial food items as they are rich in selenium, a mineral known for its antioxidant properties. This nutrient has been used to treat anxiety.
Mushrooms are excellent sources of Vitamin D as well. This nutrient supports mood enhancement too.
Meditation has always been an underutilized practice or discipline in achieving optimum health. This practice is helpful in relieving stress and increasing one’s self-awareness. When practiced regularly, meditation can even alter or change the structure of the brain for the better.
Meditation is closely associated with decreased level of anxiety and depression. It improves overall sense of psychological well being too. Mindfulness meditation for instance has been shown to increase cortical thickness in brain regions that are responsible for regulating emotions and self-referential thought processes.
- Smell citrus and essential oils
The sweet smell of orange essential oil is proven to deliver anti-anxiety effects in humans. It is commonly being used as a tranquilizer by aroma therapists. It is important to take note that the ambient orange door and lavender smell reduce levels of stress and anxiety as well as elevate mood among patients awaiting their dental treatments.
Couples who own pets experience less stress during conflicts and are known to recover quickly during fights or misunderstandings. Pet parents reveal that they are happier and more sociable too. Elderly pet owners reveal that despite their advancing age, they feel more satisfied and exhibit more positive social, mental, and physical behaviors.
- Take a breather
Take a few minutes off from your busy schedule and find time to take a breather whether watching funny videos on YouTube, talking to a co-worker, or just a quick walk. These activities will leave you happier, more energetic the rest of the day.
- Consume turmeric
Curcumin, the compound that gives the turmeric its yellow-orange color delivers it many healthy benefits. Curcumin contains neuroprotective qualities that uplifts the mood and aid in lowering depression.
- Listen to soothing music
Music triggers a part of a brain that is responsible for the release of feel-good hormone, dopamine. Listening to soothing music, or any type of music you prefer can result in decreased anxiety levels, and lowered stress hormone or cortisol levels among those who are to undergo surgical procedures.