The truth of the matter is that the concept means many things to different people. What puts a smile on your face may very well be a disappointment to someone else. According to the Harris Poll Survey of American Happiness , only a third of Americans reported that they were, indeed, happy. Though we all want to be more positive, very few of us know how to go about bringing more pleasure into our lives. Fortunately, if you follow these tips to be happy, you may see that finding joy is easier than you think.
If self-care is a priority for you, it's important to give yourself permission to say 'no. Create limits for yourself and others, and be consistent about maintaining them. This sets the stage for happier relationships, which greatly impacts the quality of our lives.
Not only do essential oils , like lavender and peppermint, have a calming effect, but they also help to clear your mind when you're stressed. Keep essential oils by your desk or in your purse, she suggests. To get started, put a few drops on your palms, rub them together, and gently waft them over your face.
This simple ritual is both calming and elevating. Plus, it makes you pause and luxuriate in a moment. Regarding the benefits, Pierce references a brain-imaging study published in the Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Journal, where scientists reviewed what happens in the brain when people practice self-affirmation. They found that participants who were affirmed showed increased activity in the region of the brain that processes self-worth and valuation.
One easy way to get in the daily habit of using affirmations is to come up with five aspirational sentences about yourself beginning with the words, "I am. This will boost your self-esteem and program your subconscious to think more positive thoughts.
WIshing you health, happiness, joy
Your spirit isn't the only thing that may be in need of a makeover. Sprucing up your home and integrating more natural elements, like plants, wood, organic soy candles , or wallpaper covered with nature scenes, could be the key to greater health and happiness.
Or, you know, you could just tune into decluttering queen Marie Kondo's new show on Netflix to freshen up your home. Being out in nature and therefore bringing natural elements into your home can help reduce stress and induce positive emotions, a study by the Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine found. Ready to get started? If you don't exactly have a green thumb, use fabric and wallpaper with plant motifs that will at least instill the feeling of nature," she says. Also, keep your windows clean so that natural light can enter your home. In areas where you spend extended periods of time and natural light is not accessible, use daylight bulbs which mimic the sun's color temperature, she suggests.
And don't forget about sound. Noise machines that loop birds, water, and wind, also help bring the outdoors in. Exposure to sunshine helps the brain to regulate sleep cycles. Sitting by a sunny window is nice, but for the full serotonergic benefits, you need to get some skin in the outdoor game. Lincoln-Nichols also advocates for incorporating more vitamin D into your diet. Just don't forget the SPF! When it comes to your emotions, trust your gut.
According to research from the California Institute of Technology, about 90 percent of your serotonin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter found in the brain that scientists refer to as the 'happy chemical' because it contributes to well-being. Dark chocolate, for example, reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Protein-packed quinoa contains flavonoids, which are a group of plant chemicals found in fruits, veggies, grains, tea, and wine.
Flavonoids have been said to have a calming effect. It's been proven that exercise can affect your mood. Sure, a sweat session at the gym can serve as a distraction from whatever problems you're facing. But you don't need an intense hour of spin class or running on the treadmill to reap the benefits either. A study conducted by psychologists at Iowa State University found that going for a minute stroll, even without a walking partner or being outdoors, could improve your mood significantly.
You can even exercise while cleaning or doing the laundry. Got a stack of heavy towels or pants? Use them as resistance during a set of lunges or squats, or you can lift your hamper above your head a few times to strengthen your arms and shoulders. Giving yourself something to look forward to has the potential to lift your mood. In the Journal Of Experimental Psychology , researchers tested how people respond to future events versus reflecting back on them after they happen. Turns out, study participants' emotional reactions heightened when they thought about the occasion before it actually occurred.
For example, the subjects got more excited about a ski trip in the future than they did about a getaway in the past. While adopting an attitude of gratitude won't necessarily change your circumstances, it can shift your energy and alter your perspective.source site
Laughter Yoga: Experience joy, happiness and health benefits
Instead analyze how grateful you are," recommends Dr. Caroline Leaf , neuroscientist and author of Think, Learn, Succeed , who has also served as an advisor on a mental health initiative committee for the White House. Also, try setting a daily phone alert to remind you to take a second to appreciate your life. Besides the fun you'll have dancing to upbeat tunes, there's actually science to back up the notion that uplifting songs can positively impact your brain. View all of Tackling Issues of Aging. Second in an occasional series on how Harvard researchers are tackling the problematic issues of aging.
W hen scientists began tracking the health of Harvard sophomores in during the Great Depression, they hoped the longitudinal study would reveal clues to leading healthy and happy lives.
Of the original Harvard cohort recruited as part of the Grant Study, only 19 are still alive, all in their mids. Among the original recruits were eventual President John F. Kennedy and longtime Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. Some participants went on to become successful businessmen, doctors, lawyers, and others ended up as schizophrenics or alcoholics, but not on inevitable tracks. During the intervening decades, the control groups have expanded. In the s, Boston inner-city residents were enlisted as part of the Glueck Study, and 40 of them are still alive.
Liz's Healthy Table Episode Healthy + Happiness with Joy Bauer, MS, RDN
More than a decade ago, researchers began including wives in the Grant and Glueck studies. That, I think, is the revelation.
Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives, the study revealed. That finding proved true across the board among both the Harvard men and the inner-city participants. The long-term research has received funding from private foundations, but has been financed largely by grants from the National Institutes of Health, first through the National Institute of Mental Health, and more recently through the National Institute on Aging.
The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age Those who had unhappy marriages felt both more emotional and physical pain. Those who kept warm relationships got to live longer and happier, said Waldinger, and the loners often died earlier.
According to the study, those who lived longer and enjoyed sound health avoided smoking and alcohol in excess.
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Researchers also found that those with strong social support experienced less mental deterioration as they aged. In part of a recent study , researchers found that women who felt securely attached to their partners were less depressed and more happy in their relationships two-and-a-half years later, and also had better memory functions than those with frequent marital conflicts.
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Since aging starts at birth, people should start taking care of themselves at every stage of life, the researchers say.
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