Proven Ways How To Be Happier
January 10, 2019
With a quick Google search, you can find enough articles about happiness to fill the Mariana Trench. You’ve read them all before: Align you chakras, eliminate toxic people from your life, do this one trick to beat depression forever…but does any of it really work? From Orlando Florida to the apartments for rent in Bellevue Washington, everyone wants to feel and be happy. Scientific studies have finally proven that this highly sought-after goal is attainable, but maybe not through the methods you might think.
What is Happiness?
Before you can work towards being a happier person, it helps to identify what that feeling really is. Everyone has a different definition of happiness, or rather what brings them that happy feeling. As science sees it, there are really two major aspects.
The first is how satisfied you are with your life. Do you like our job, and do you feel as though you do it well? Are you happily single, dating, married, divorced? How do you feel about your body, your intelligence, and the way your treat others? Do you feel that others treat your fairly, or has life seemingly handed you a bard card?
All of these aspects determine how satisfied you are with your life, but there’s more to it than just that. Happiness also involves how you feel on a day-to-day basis. Do you find yourself more positive than not, or are you regularly feeling down, sad, or depressed?
As it turns out, no two people share the same level of happiness. Why? Because everyone has three unique factors that shape both of the above categories. The first is genetic. Your body’s chemistry is predisposed to a certain level of joy or happiness, making up 50% of both your satisfaction in life and how you feel day-to-day.
The second is circumstantial, which surprisingly only contributes 10% to your overall happiness. People adapt and become used to their circumstances over time, whether that’s living paycheck to paycheck or fighting cancer.
Finally, 40% is controlled by your brain. Your thoughts, behaviors, and actions have a major impact on how you feel. In various studies, scientists found that happiness is less of a feeling and more of a skill. People need to practice being happy in order to find fulfillment in life and within themselves.
That means happiness is not a consistent feeling of joy, a financially comfortable life, or simply refusing to see the negative and only accepting “positive vibes” into your life. It’s not a destination or an end point, it’s a daily habit that you must nurture and a skillset you should try to master.
1. See the Big Picture
Happier individuals live longer, heal faster, and even have lower rates of cardiovascular disease. However, being happy isn’t simply about you and the way you feel. Your happiness affects everything around you.
Studies found that happy individuals:
- Are more productive at work
- Have deeper interpersonal relationships
- Are more apt to help others
- Have increased creative problem-solving abilities
- And tend to donate more to charity
Think about all of the ways those simple outcomes can impact your community and the world around you. The less you focus on yourself (while still taking care of yourself, of course), the easier it is to attain happiness.
2. Adversity is a Good Thing
Difficulties and misfortune often leave people spiraling down a negative path of thoughts and emotions. It happens to the best of us, but it’s important to understand that these challenges offer experiences and chances for you to grow as a person. Those who face hardships often turn out to be happier people in life. They posses better coping mechanisms, have increased resilience, and are more optimistic about the future. Don’t fight adversity. Instead, learn to accept it as natural part of life.
3. Finding Meaning
This is where people’s idea of happiness often comes from. Humans associate their worth with meaning, whether that’s a fulfilling career, raising a family, or through their faith. The trick is to pursue goals that align with you core values. Think about what truly matters to you in life or what you’re most passionate about, then pursue only those things. Take it one step at a time, and you’ll find meaning and purpose in the things you do.
4. Make Time
Interpersonal relationships are integral to happiness. While work schedule might be conflicting, it’s important to make time for friends, family, and loved ones. Anywhere from 6-9 hours one day a week can drastically improve your mood. That’s what Saturdays are for, right?
5. Be Grateful
One study showed that individuals who wrote down three positive things that happened each day for one week were less depressed for the following six months, reported more restful sleep, and began engaging in healthy behaviors from dieting to exercise. The science is simple here. You need to be grateful before you can be joyful.
We live in a hectic world with hundreds of pieces information and experiences flashing before our eyes in seconds. Take the time to slow things down by practicing mindfulness or being here in the moment. It’s less yogi-centric than you might think.
You can start by consciously thinking about the things you do from eating a piece of cake to how you’re responding in a conversation. Focus on the moment, how you feel, and savor it. It’s a lot to explain, but this article does an excellent job of explaining simple techniques. Taking the time to be mindful allows you to focus on what truly brings you joy.
7. Accept Balance
Happiness is a steady flow. Regular levels of moderate joy are healthy, but people tend to want to make these levels spike through the use of alcohol, drugs, compulsive shopping or eating and various other vices. Whatever it is that you turn to in order to combat that unhappy feeling, break the habit.
Your body works within its own natural rhythm (that’s old news in science), so let it be. Don’t force happiness and quit running away from negative emotions. Just like the tip on adversity, it’s healthy to accept these less-than-pleasant feelings and learn how to manage them in a positive way. Sure, it isn’t easy. However, learning to handle negative emotions now will work wonders for you in the future.
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