Increase your happiness

10 Scientifically Proven Methods to Increase your Happiness Right Now

 The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it. ~ Richard Bach

Do you even remember the last time you felt sheer pleasure, or unmitigated glee? What is your most recent recollection of bubbling over with happiness? I mean, when you felt so giddy that your cheeks were glowing, your heart was thumping, and your eyes welled up with unfettered joy? If that hasn’t happened to you in the last little while (or even a very long while), don’t fret.

As John Barrymore once said, “Happiness often sneaks in a door you didn’t know you left open.” Chasing happiness isn’t really going to make it magically appear, but you can create the circumstances that ‘leave the door open’ to a joyful and meaningful life by setting the stage for happiness, and allowing it a grand entrance. You can feel happier right now, with these scientifically proven methods.

Exercise for seven minutes.

I don’t care if you stand in one place and jump up and down, go for a walk, or climb the stairs at your office, you can feel happier right now by being physically active. In a study described in the book, The Happiness Advantage, three groups of patients treated their depression with medication, exercise, or a combination of both medication and exercise. The results of this study should be extremely motivating. Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels early on, the follow-up assessments proved to be radically different. When tested at six months to see if they had ‘relapsed’ into depression, 38 percent of those who took medication alone slipped back into a depressed state, and for those who exercised? Only nine percent relapsed. The proof is evident. You can feel better by exercising, and it doesn’t take much.

Write down 20 things you are grateful for.

Don’t type up what you are grateful for, write them down, since it requires more neurons to do so, and you’ll feel much better. Robert Emmons, often called the world’s leading expert in the science of gratitude, says that people who keep gratitude journals experience higher levels of positive emotions, more joy and pleasure, and stay alert and optimistic more easily.

Take a 15-minute power nap.

Getting more sleep is one of the best ways to feel happier. “You’re putting energy in the bank when you go to sleep,” says Barry Krakow, MD, medical director of Maimonides Sleep Arts and Sciences, Ltd. in Albuquerque, N.M. “On a cellular level, the body is literally repairing and restoring itself. Without it, you can’t do what you want — physically or mentally.” This also means that you’ll likely find negative emotions creeping in more easily, and find it difficult to constructively handle emotions like anger or frustration, because sleep deprivation increases amygdala activity (a brain structure integral to experiences of negative emotions such as anger and rage) and a disconnect between the amygdala and the area of the brain that regulates its functions. Power napping for at least 15-20 minutes will already start to improve your mood and cognitive functioning, and getting rapid eye movement or REM sleep, which usually takes 60 to 90 minutes of napping, plays a key role in making new connections in the brain and solving creative problems. Napping is even better for you than drinking a cup of coffee.

Get outside.

There a 101 reasons nature makes us feel good, but ‘green science’ as it is called, is learning more about how the blue sky and green trees really affect us all the time. For one thing, nature teaches us that we are perfect just the way we are. When we are alone in nature, there is no classism, racism, homophobia, or sexism. A rushing river doesn’t care what level of the social hierarchy you’ve reached, or haven’t. Time slows to a more manageable pace, and we experience profound healing on levels mainstream medicine likely will never understand. For starters, you are breathing in fresh air, and absorbing Vitamin D, which is a known precursor for making happy hormones. Being outdoors is so uplifting that many people describe is as being a spiritual experience. If you can only be outside for a few minutes every day, take advantage of that opportunity. Your happiness is forever connected to being one with nature.

Be with your peeps.

Spending time with friends and family is one of those ‘can’t buy me love’ things that really does add to our overall happiness. Daniel Gilbert is the Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. The professor tells us that most of the things we do in life are to acquire more time with friends and family – so why not just cut to the chase, and DO that. The ‘happiness’ expert says, “We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.” The ‘can’t buy me love’ aspect is quite real, in fact. The connections we have with friends and family is worth as much as $132,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction, according to the Journal of Socio-Economics. If you don’t have friends, you can make some new ones by taking a class at a community college, joining a sports team or look for a social event to meet new people in your city.

Meditate.

A study by the University of Sydney surveyed 350 people who had meditated for more than two years, and compared those results with existing government surveys on people’s mental and physical health. Those who meditated were found to be ten percent happier than those who didn’t. While that doesn’t seem like much, meditation can also give us more mental clarity, feelings of peace and of gratitude (see number two), and 76 other scientifically verifiable benefits that you’d otherwise be missing out on.

Watch the Weather.

The American Meteorological Society has published research that found temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity. It also found that happiness is maximized at 57 degrees (13.9°C), so keep an eye on the weather forecast and head outside when the weather is prime. If you live in a warmer climate, find a shady spot and sit in nature.

Help somebody.

Doing good deeds, or helping someone else for 100 hours a year contributes massively to your overall feelings of peace, well-being, and happiness. “A lot of times we think that happiness comes about because you get things for yourself,” said Richard Ryan, a psychologist at the University of Rochester, but “it turns out that in a paradoxical way, giving gets you more, and I think that’s an important message in a culture that’s pretty often getting messages to the opposite effect.”

Stop the commute.

Okay, so you can’t just up and quit your job, but you might be able to work out a ‘flex’ schedule that allows you to work from home a few days a week, or you might even consider moving closer to your workplace. Why? Commuting makes us unhappy. A Swedish study found that commuting is so hard on folks that people are 40% more likely to divorce if one person commutes more than 45 minutes to work every day. If you absolutely must sit in traffic for an average of 38 to 60 hours a year, then at least listen to an uplifting book on tape, or learn a new language. This can make you happy, too.

Learn something new.

A core psychological need for humans is to learn and master new skills. Psychologists call this need ‘mastery.’ You can see it in babies learning to crawl or sit up for the first time, but also in grown adults mastering a violin concerto, or learning how to converse in a second language. Learning something new in one area of our lives also often triggers an add-on bonus of learning something new in another area. It’s a win-win-win situation. You learn one thing, and this helps you learn a bonus skill or concept, and this also leads to more happiness. You don’t have to get formal certificates or professional qualifications. Just learning how to plant a garden or play a new chord on your guitar can boost levels of happiness.

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

There’s benefits associated with taking time to relax, meditate, do things you love etc, but that means taking YOU time!

This challenge will help you set out on a journey that can transform your life.

Source

9 Destructive Behaviors that Prevent a Happier Life

Let’s be real – No person is immune to behaving in a toxic or dangerous way once in a while. What is important is knowing to move past these moments by learning to be better, embrace personal growth, instead of letting these habits stick around for longer than they are needed. Do not let them live rent free in your mind and heart damaging your property.

There are probably more toxic behaviors to list, but these 9 come to mind as the most important.

1. Victim Mentality 

When you have been the victim in a situation or multiple situations, especially before adulthood, it is hard to not try to protect yourself from these pains. Know there is a difference between protecting yourself and expecting to be hurt. Expecting to be a victim can keep you from feeling empowered and in control of your destiny.

“Master yourself, and become king of the world around you. Let no odds, chastisement, exile, doubt, fear, or ANY mental virii prevent you from accomplishing your dreams. Never be a victim of life; be it’s conqueror.” ” -Mike Norton-

2. Living in the Past or Living in the Future

It is good to acknowledge your past and learn from your life’s lesson, but you do not need to relive the pain and regrets of the past. It is good to grow towards the future and prepare for the life you vision, but not at the expense of missing out on the magic of living in the present. Both extreme mindsets lead to ignoring the needs of the people around you.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” -Bill Keane-

3. Creating Enemies 

Most everyone is just doing their best in life. Any person who intentionally causes pain is suffering with their own demons unaware of how poisoned their thinking is due to all the pain they have received from others in life. Acknowledging this pain, offering your understanding and forgiveness, can help them see through themselves. This act can create a friend from an enemy.

“When you begin to see that your enemy is suffering, that is the beginning of insight.” -Thich Nhat Hanh-

4. Holding on to Grudges

Sometimes, we are caught in situations with others where it’s not easy to let go soon after it happens. Some situations are traumatic and require a great deal of counseling, introspection and healing. Any grudge takes energy to keep and it gives this person power over you. Letting go of a grudge is more about your own peace & clarity versus forgiving the other person.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” -Buddha-

5. Mindlessly Living

It takes effort to live consciously. Reacting out of habit can cause a varied response with a mix of old patterns and emotional wounds mostly coming from the subconscious mind. When we live mindfully, we react to every situation with intelligence, wisdom, compassion and with the intent to create the best outcome possible.

“Mindless habitual behavior is the enemy of innovation.” -Rosabeth Moss Kanter-

6. Withholding Love

Love can be used as a weapon even more disastrous than hate, but to give your love freely is a gift to yourself and the world. This is the only way you can surround yourself with multiple loving people in the form of friendship, family and romantic encounters. When a person stumbles in your life who abuses your love, your heart will already be so full, their attempts to cause you pain will be minimal.

Take stock of your thoughts and behavior. Each night ask yourself, when were you negative when you could have been positive? When did you withhold love when you might have given it? When did you play a neurotic game instead of behaving in a powerful way? Use this process to self-correct. -Marianne Williamson-

7. The Need to Be Right

Feeling the need to be right is less about discovering the truth and more about protecting yourself from being wrong. It is an ego-based reaction. You can skillfully debate your position based on your truths and still listen respectfully to another person’s truths. If your reasoning is sound, maybe you will plant a seed in another’s mind for them to discover on their own, but that is all you can do when it comes to a tightly held belief. By listening to another person’s views, you too might be sent on the similar path to your own discoveries. Overall, it is about expanding the mind while letting go of your pride.

“He who establishes his argument by noise and command, shows that his reason is weak.” – Michel de Montaigne –

8. Cheating in Life

Not going about things the right way is a disservice to yourself. It robs you of the ability to feel full satisfaction of a fairly earned accomplishment. No matter how much you push away feelings of guilt to yourself or others who might have been affected by this action, they exist somewhere within and can easily resurface at any time.

“The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat one’s self. All sin is easy after that.” -Pearl Bailey-

9. Allowing Ego to Drive 

Most if not all of the above behaviors could all be connected to the ego. The most important personal development discovery is when you can decide which parts of your ego requires healing and which parts need to be discarded. Once enough negativity has been removed, you can start living your life guided by your inner voice. The ego becomes a trusted advisor who sits in the passenger seat while your higher self is driving the car.

Source