Are you happy? When was the last time you stopped to ask yourself that question? We hope the answer is “Yes, I’m very happy!”
If that’s not the case (or even if it is) who couldn’t use a little more happiness in their lives? Let’s turn to science for some strategies for getting happier!
Have you ever heard the quote “Too many people miss the silver lining because they are expecting gold?” This is a wonderful example of how we can bring about more happiness in our own lives, regardless of outside influences. Making the conscious choice to be grateful can go a long way in helping to increase life satisfaction and happiness.
Exercise doesn’t necessarily have to mean spending 2 hours a day in the gym. Physical activity can be enjoyed in other ways, too. Even a simple walk! Research has found that regular walks lower risk of death from diabetes, heart disease, respiratory diseases, and some forms of cancer. The best part is that these findings were seen in individuals who walk less than two hours per week.
Proof that even a short walk each day can make a huge difference in your health! Walking has been touted as the ‘perfect form of exercise.’ It’s free, doesn’t involve any complicated equipment, and is a form of physical activity that can be done at any age.
Spend Time Outdoors
Enjoying the fresh air does not have to mean a three day hike through the mountains. By all means, if hiking is your thing, go for it! Whatever outdoor activity you choose, the key is to have fun with it – like playing a game of hide-and-seek in the backyard with your kids or grandchildren.
Research has shown that just a few minutes of meditation every day alters the pathways in your brain, making you more resilient to stress. This helps to improve not only your mental sense of well-being, but your physical one, as well. Yoga also triggers the release of endorphins (“feel-good” hormones) which help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and tension.
Eat Happy Food
Yes, there are certain foods that make your brain (and body) happier than other foods do. Take Greek yogurt for example. Dairy products containing active cultures increase the probiotic bacteria in your gut. Believe it or not, the type and amount of bacteria in your gut can affect your mood. One study found that women who ate probiotic yogurt twice a day experienced less stress than those who ate none. Learn more about how a healthier gut makes for a happier you!
Mushrooms, especially the shiitake variety, are packed with vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression, so upping your mushroom consumption can also help up your mood!
Salmon is full of vitamins B6 and B12. Vitamin B12 is used by the body for energy, and vitamin B6 is essential to the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleeping and waking cycles. Salmon is also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked with improving symptoms of mood disorders.
Spinach contains folic acid which helps to reduce fatigue and improve mood. Spinach is also rich in iron, a mineral that helps deliver oxygen to your cells, giving the body energy on a cellular level. Spinach is also rich in Vitamin C and magnesium which are crucial to the production of serotonin and dopamine – two brain chemicals responsible for making us feel happy and joyful.
Listen To Music
We all love a good tune. Did you know that listening to music makes us happier? It’s true! Research has shown that listening to music not only heightens our mood, but can actually improve the quality of our lives!
Study participants who made a conscious choice to improve their mood by listening to upbeat music reported higher happiness levels than those participants who listened to music simply for the sake of listening. Again, by choosing to be happier… we are happier!
So, as you read this article, make your decision to be happier. When you wake up tomorrow morning, before you get out of bed, make the decision to be happier… again. Keep making that choice every day, and put it into action through strategies like these. Go get your happy on!