- 10 ways to make yourself happier (according to a psychologist)
- 1) Take a Long, Deep Breath
- 3) Acknowledge that Things Didn’t Happen
- 4) Just Smile
- 5) Name Your Feelings
- 6) Improve Your Posture
- 7) Think of Something Positive
- 8) Be Thankful to Yourself
- 9) Look for Silver Linings
- 10) Keep Pictures of Those You Love Around
- 8 Ways To Make Yourself Happy Forever
- 10 Ways To Make Yourself Happier
- 10 Ways to Make Yourself Happier in 30 Seconds or Less
- 11 Simple Ways to Make Yourself Happy Every Day
- 1. Commit to doing one nice thing for yourself every day
- 2. Listen to yourself
- 3. Forgive yourself
- 4. Accept yourself as you are right now
- 5. Eliminate toxic people in your life and workplace
- 6. Prioritize your health
- 7. Stop skipping meals
- 8. Breathe!
- 9. Give yourself a welcoming space
- 10. Get some sunlight
- 11. Buy premium products for yourself
- this post? Sign up here for Minda's weekly email, and you'll never miss her columns
- 10 Scientifically Proven Ways To Make Yourself Happier
- 1. Spend Time With Your Loved Ones
- 2. Start A Task You’ve Been Putting Off
- 3. Learn Something New
- 4. Meditate
- 5. Get Moving
- 6. Sleep More
- 7. Give Back
- 8. Travel
- 9. Put Down Your Phone
- 10. Find Your Flow
- This post originally appeared at Rypeapp.com
10 ways to make yourself happier (according to a psychologist)
Life is hectic and hard, and it can be a real struggle to feel happy most of the time, let alone all of the time.
The truth is that no one should strive to feel happy all of the time; there are many wonderful emotions within us that make us feel alive, although some of them are more pleasant than others.
When you catch yourself needing a little pick me up, try one of these ten ways to make yourself happier.
According to psychologist, Meg Selig, Author of “Changepower! 37 Secrets to Habit Change Success”, you might be able to improve your well-being by trying these 10 tips.
We’ve summarized her 10 suggestions below:
1) Take a Long, Deep Breath
When life is about to swallow you up and feel you need a break, take one and inhale and exhale a few times and then take one long, slow, deep breath to remind yourself that you are alive and everything happens for a reason.
This will help calm you down and allow you to focus on the task at hand.
Start your day by telling yourself one thing you are grateful for each day. Some days, simply getting bed is a chore, so be grateful that you have legs to carry you to the kitchen to make breakfast.
When you start to look for the little things in your life that are going well, you’ll find more of them coming your way.
3) Acknowledge that Things Didn’t Happen
If you are at your wits’ end and you can’t muster the strength to find one good thing in your life, consider all the bad things that didn’t go wrong today.
You didn’t get sick; you didn’t lose your job, you didn’t eat that entire cake even though you wanted to. There are good things all around, but sometimes they come to us in unanswered prayers.
4) Just Smile
Whether you feel it or not, smiling can improve your mood and your health. It can make you relax and help you feel calmer.
Plus, everyone looks better when they smile. No one s the look of a scowl on anyone’s face, certainly not our own, so unfurl that brow and smile. You’ll be glad you did.
5) Name Your Feelings
Rather than feeling anxious about how you are feeling, try naming those feelings in an effort to own them and gain power over them.
If you are angry, say you are angry. If you are sad, say you are sad. Don’t be ashamed of the way you feel. Give them names, and then let them go.
(To learn more techniques to accept your feelings and focus on the present moment, check out Hack Spirit’s eBook: The Art of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Living in the Moment)
6) Improve Your Posture
Sit up straight next time you find yourself feeling sorry for yourself, or feeling bad about your situation. Sitting up in your chair improves your ability to breath, and it makes you feel more powerful.
7) Think of Something Positive
If you need a change of scenery but can’t slip that important meeting, imagine something you love or really for a moment.
Ice cream, vacation, your kids. Anything to spark a release of hormones to make yourself feel better. It works, and it can really carry you through your day when things aren’t going so well.
8) Be Thankful to Yourself
Above all else, you should practice gratitude to yourself. After all, you’ve gotten yourself this far in life, haven’t you?
There’s something to be said about how well you take care of yourself, and even when things feel they are falling apart, you can pick yourself up by reminding yourself that you’ve gotten through other hard times and you’ll get through this.
(To learn more about self-love, check out our ultimate guide to loving yourself here)
9) Look for Silver Linings
Some days you can’t win, no matter how hard you try, but rather than sulk around and feel sorry for yourself, remind yourself that everything happens for a reason and look for that reason.
That isn’t just a saying you know, finding the positives in the negative situations can help you appreciate even the worst days of your life.
10) Keep Pictures of Those You Love Around
When the going gets tough, take a break and remind yourself of the reasons you do this work, live this life, get up everyday and do it all over again tomorrow: if it’s so you can support your family, put pictures of your family around your office to remind yourself of the “why” in your life.
If you want to bust your ass so you can travel, hang up pictures of your favorite places to keep you motivated when the 3 o’clock wall hits you. 30 seconds each day can help you live a happier life, and remind you of all the things you have and will accomplish in this life as well.
Mentally tough people aren’t just able to cope with problems as they arise—they’re better equipped than others for life in general. If you want to boost your mental toughness, check out Hack Spirit’s eBook: The Art of Resilience: A Practical Guide to Developing Mental Toughness.
Learn how to reduce stress, cultivate healthy relationships, handle people you don't and find your place in the world.
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8 Ways To Make Yourself Happy Forever
There is a constant quest for happiness. Sometimes we are fed misinformation and terrible ideas that tell us that putting someone else's happiness before our own is the right thing to do.
For some of us, we are taught that our happiness comes in the form of servitude to parents, a spouse, children, jobs and the list goes on.
We are often given misinformation another person's personal experiences and preferences as it pertains to their happiness.
What we fail to ever hear is that happiness is different for everyone. The things that make you happy may not make someone else as fulfilled. Many of us spend significant amounts of our time chasing someone else's vision of what happiness is. We think because we don't have the same ideas or goals as others that we will be less happy than someone else.
The problem with taking another individual's idea of happiness is that you don't give yourself time to try to figure out what will make you happy. Therefore causing yourself unnecessary mental turmoil over why you are not feeling as happy as you thought you would be once you mimicked the life of another individual.
Often we tend to go with society and what the status quo tell us will make us happy, or the visions portrayed by someone else's life, and we tend to make the assumption because they have a particular lifestyle they have attained true happiness. Assuming someone is happy, based solely on their looks is a big misconception and further inhibits our acquisition of true happiness.
I will share with you eight ways to attain personal happiness.
1. Take care of you. If you are not performing at your greatest potential how can you be any good to anyone else. All of your needs must be met, and you should actively work on doing something for yourself every day. Stop putting what you want on the back burner for others. You should be the most important person to yourself.
2. Work on your dreams. Not a day should pass where you don't spend some part of it no matter how small devoted to your dreams and goals. Even if it's only five minutes, there will be so much fulfillment in those five minutes that you will be encouraged to spend more time devoted to making your dream come true.
3. Use happiness confirmations. Tons of books and websites offer beautiful happiness reminders. The happiness quotes and testimonies are great to read and reaffirm your mission of joy.
Humans are creatures of habit, and we need constant reminders of things before they become second nature to us.
Therefore, the confirmations work to train our minds in a new way of thinking and approaching our fulfillment.
4. Be thankful. Gratitude is crucial in attaining happiness. The things you currently have in life were once a desire, so you must be grateful for the current manifestations in your life to manifest more. The universe operates off of vibrations: if you are always thankful, you will receive more reasons to be thankful.
5. Make no comparisons. When you compare your life to that of a person who you presume is doing better than yourself you are setting yourself up for mental strife and emotional instability. The feeling that someone doesn't deserve something as much as you do will drive you mad. What the Universe has for you will come to you just be patient.
6. Celebrate small victories. Every little thing you do counts. Praise yourself for small wins, small wins add up to big wins. Celebrating little things will help to keep you focused on the bigger goal in mind. If the little things are being done, then there is only a matter of time before the big goal is accomplished as well.
7. Believe that you deserve. You deserve to be happy. There is nothing that you have done in your life that ultimately decided that you can't have joy. You have to know and understand that you deserve to be happy and that you are the sole person responsible for making you happy.
8. Stay away from negativity. Negativity comes from everywhere. It is your duty to recognize when something makes you uncomfortable and does not add value to your life. It is crucial to do your best to rid your environment and life of negative energy, people, situations, etc.
One cannot attain happiness in an atmosphere full of negativity.
Happiness is attainable by all. We must remember to understand that everyone's view of happiness looks different, and it is imperative that we do not compare our happiness to someone else's.
Happiness is a fingerprint: it is unique to the individual.
10 Ways To Make Yourself Happier
In a world where we are always trying to live up to expectations and make others happy, we often forget about ourselves. Forgetting to sometimes put your own needs first, and making sure to take time for yourself, can leave you feeling down.
Showing yourself some self-love, and learning to respect and honor your own needs is so important, especially at this point in your life.
College is stressful and busy, and taking time to focus on what's really important is a great way to make yourself a little happier!
My mom always tells me I'm my own worst critic, and I've come to find that this is true for a lot of my friends as well. Many of us forget to take time to be proud of our accomplishments and instead focus on the negative. Learning to love yourself for what you can do and what you are doing is so important, so remember to be kind to yourself!
Often times, when I begin comparing myself to other people, I start feeling worse about myself.
My day can go from great to terrible in a matter of seconds because I start to doubt my own worth in comparison to others.
Learning to love yourself outside of how it compares to other people can help relieve a sense of the burden of never feeling good enough. We are all unique and amazing in our own ways.
For almost my whole life, I have hated the outdoors. The humidity, the heat, and not to mention all the bugs, always made me prefer the indoors.
However, as I've gotten older, I've come to realize that spending time out in nature and learning to appreciate the beauty and greatness that surrounds us, is truly indescribable.
Not to mention that vitamin D really does make you happier and healthier.
If you're anything me, you might easily get persuaded into doing things you don't really want to do.
I always feel guilty canceling plans or telling my friends I don't want to do things their way, but there is no need for this! We only have one life to live, and we should spend it doing things we really love and enjoy. Don't be afraid to put yourself first and tell others no from time to time.
Even though it's cliche, I truly believe that when life gives you lemons, you have to make lemonade. Nothing in life is ever perfect, but if you focus too much on the negatives, you are only hurting yourself.
Holding unnecessary grudges, or spending time feeling sorry for yourself is hurting you more than you think.
Focus on all the positive aspects of your life, and remember that nothing bad is ever permanent, things can always get better.
Finding what you are passionate about is not always as easy as it sounds, but finding a few hobbies that can keep you occupied and make you feel productive and happy, are great steps to learning more about yourself. Hobbies can also help you meet -minded people, who may inspire you in ways you weren't expecting.
If you are feeling especially down, don't be afraid to tell someone about how you are feeling. Your problems and worries are never a burden, and people close to you will agree.
Talking about your feelings can often lift a heavy weight off your shoulders, and can ease the burden you are carrying around.
Learning to let go of bad vibes and guilt is so important when it comes to moving forward and focusing on your happiness.
Learning to be yourself is one of the hardest things, but it's so important. Being comfortable in your own skin, and being confident in who you are will make you feel so much better. Everyone has insecurities, but the only opinion that matters is your own. Live your life for you, and don't be afraid to express yourself for fear of others' judgment.
In life, it truly doesn't matter how many friends you have, or how popular you are. What really matters is what type of friends and people are in your life. Surrounding yourself with people who lift you up, support you, and encourage you to be the best you, is another great way to cut out negativity and increase your happiness.
At the end of the day, the only one who is living your life is you. You have to deal with the ups and downs, so do things for yourself.
Don't strive to reach goals if you aren't truly doing it for yourself.
Doing things for other people is great, but is important to know the line between only trying to please others for their approval, and doing something because it is what you really want.
10 Ways to Make Yourself Happier in 30 Seconds or Less
Source: Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock
Feeling down? Got the blahs? This post provides 10 easy ways to feel happier in 30 seconds or less—and every technique is the best research available.
But first, what is happiness?
Of all of the definitions of happiness, my favorite is from psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar, who defines it as “the overall experience of pleasure and meaning.” I find it true that neither “pleasure” nor “meaning” alone quite describe happiness. You need meaning to give you a sense of purpose in life, and you need pleasure to give you a sense of joy or well-being in the present moment.
If you want to be happier, just add pleasure or meaning to your life (assuming your pleasures or purposes do not harm you or another person). You’ll discover that you’ll not only be happier in the moment, you'll also increase your ability to be happier in the future.
The following happiness enhancers will increase your immediate sense of pleasure or your sense of your life’s meaning, or both—in the blink of an eye. You don’t need another person to help you, and you can practice the techniques almost anywhere—at work, at home, outside, in your car. Only your willing mind is required.
How to Become Happy in 30 Seconds or Less
1. Take one deep breath.
Just one deep breath can turn down your “fight-or-flight” instinct and activate your “rest-and-restore” mode. Got 15 seconds more? Take another deep breath. You’ll feel even more content.
2. Find something in your day that triggers a feeling of gratitude.
You had a good breakfast, you have a job, or you enjoyed reading the newspaper this morning. Absorb that feeling of gratitude for a few moments. Lingering on a positive experience helps embed it in your brain.
3. Take time to appreciate something that didn’t happen during your day.
No one in your family got sick, you didn’t have car trouble, and you didn't fight with anyone. Remember to keep things in perspective.
Many people think of happiness as something that comes from the inside out, or from your mind to your behavior. But happiness can also come from the outside in, or from your actions to your mind. The deliberate decision to smile, for example, actually activates happiness-inducing chemicals, as described here.
5. Slap a label on your negative feelings.
Angry. Helpless. Sad. Anxious. Just labeling your emotions can ease your suffering. Attaching a label shifts activity from the emotional part of your brain to the thinking part, making you hurt less and feel more in control. (Learn more here.)
6. Sit up straight.
Poor posture can actually cause negative emotional states. Studies show that people who slouch experience more bad moods, lower self-esteem, and poorer confidence than those with upright posture.
Sitting up straight can cause positive emotional states—a sense of confidence, assertiveness, and a happier mood. Good posture also helps your physical well-being and prevents many types of neck, shoulder, and back problems.
So to lift your mood, pull your body upward. You’ll feel happier.
7. Notice the small pleasures in life and appreciate them.
Author and Psychology Today blogger Rick Hanson writes about the health and happiness benefits of “taking in the good” in his groundbreaking book, Hardwiring Happiness. He recommends appreciating the little things, noting, “Most opportunities for a good experience arrive with little fanfare.
You finished an email, the telephone works, you have a friend.” For the best results, bring pleasant objects, thoughts, and people to the foreground of your awareness. Linger for five seconds or more on a good experience to allow it to sink into you. Your happiness level will steadily increase.
8. Appreciate yourself.
Think of one thing you’ve already accomplished or handled well today or focus on a good quality you’ve demonstrated—a start to a project, a phone call, or even an honest talk with a colleague that ended well. Drawing your attention to your strengths will lift your spirits.
9. Find positive meaning in negative events.
If you experience a setback, can you find a rapid way to turn it into lemonade? Start by thinking about the setback as a challenge rather than a failure. That should take five seconds or less. In the remaining 25, begin to think about how to move forward.
10. Use a desktop photo to remind you of the purposes and pleasures of your life.
A photo of your family, your travels, or a favorite saying can be restorative and promote moments of happiness. Taking a “micro-break” and enjoying a photo of a natural scene can promote good health by lowering stress and blood pressure—as well as happiness. To keep from getting used to a particular photo, periodically change it up.
Why Practice Happiness Habits?
The benefits may seem obvious; after all, feeling happy feels good! But the value of happiness habits goes even deeper. In Hardwiring Happiness, Rick Hanson points out that negativity is hardwired into our brains. We are predisposed to pay more attention to bad things than good things.
This negativity bias has helped us survive by making us aware of possible threats, problems, and stressors in our environment. However, if we are ruled only by our negativity, we miss opportunities for pleasure, joy, good relationships, and humor.
Happiness activities help balance out the negativity bias so that we see and experience the positive aspects of life.
Experiencing and absorbing moments of happiness has long-term brain benefits. Happy experiences and thoughts can actually grow new neural circuits in your brain. These neural structures provide you with inner strengths such as resilience, gratitude, enthusiasm, and happiness.
So try these small steps. You’ll find not only that your Happiness Quotient rises with every micro-moment of happiness, but also that making yourself happy becomes easier as you practice.
NOTE: If you suffer from mental health issues depression or you are going through a catastrophic life event, these activities may not help enough. Consider seeing a therapist.
For moreon happiness, health, and habits, see my book, Changepower! 37 Secrets to Habit Change Success (Routledge, 2009), or follow me on , , or LinkedIn by scrolling down to my photo and clicking on the appropriate icon.
© Meg Selig, 2016
11 Simple Ways to Make Yourself Happy Every Day
Want to be happier? Begin by being good to yourself. That may sound self-evident, but too many people skip this step and try to make themselves happy by chasing ever-higher goals, or holding themselves to ever-greater standards of perfection.
Ironically, being good to yourself instead will bring you closer to achieving those lofty ambitions, says Daylle Deanna Schwartz, speaker, columnist, and author of 15 books, including “The Effortless Entrepreneur.” “The more you value yourself, especially at work, the more you build confidence,” she says.
In fact, the happiest people go their way to treat themselves right and they do something nice for themselves each day. They set appropriate boundaries and take care of themselves by saying no to things when they need to.
“When you love yourself, you understand that saying no to something you don't want to do is an act of kindness, and you don't walk around with negative feelings toward the person who asked you to do something you didn't want to do,” Schwartz says.
Not only is being kind to yourself good for your career, it's good for your relationships too, she adds. “The more you build self-love, the more you have to give to others.”
Here are 11 acts of kindness happy people perform for themselves–and so should you:
1. Commit to doing one nice thing for yourself every day
Schwartz invites visitors to her site to sign a 31-day pledge to “do my best to do something loving for myself, however big or small.” Whether you feel signing or not, making the commitment means you'll remind yourself on a daily basis to treat yourself with loving kindness.
Keeping that commitment will bring real benefits, she says. “It motivates you to take better care of yourself, go after your dreams, and not let people treat you poorly.”
2. Listen to yourself
That is, listen to how you talk to yourself, and the internal tone of voice you use. (Mine tends to resemble my mother's in a lecturing mode.) “We often criticize ourselves in our own heads and that brings down our confidence,” Schwartz says. “When you love yourself, you know you're good enough that you have to stop talking to yourself in negative terms.”
3. Forgive yourself
“Forgiveness is a big part of it,” Schwartz says. “It's hard, because most of us have been getting angry at ourselves for all the things we do wrong all our lives. People get into trouble because they try so hard to be perfect and then they beat themselves up when they're not. Loving yourself means accepting that you're stuck inside your own imperfect skin.”
Schwartz recommends this exercise to start forgiving yourself: “Look in the mirror and say, 'I love you and I forgive you.'”
4. Accept yourself as you are right now
For starters, that means accepting the body that you have today. “Body image is a big stumbling block, and so is age,” she says. “When you love yourself, you try to be the best person you can be in the body that you have, and that's as much as you can do.”
Self-acceptance also means accepting your income and success level as they are, she says. “It's OK not to be making a certain amount by the time you get to a certain age,” she says. “Entrepreneurs get a lot of criticism when people say, 'Why are you wasting your time doing that?' or 'You're not successful enough!'”
Instead, she recommends asking yourself a simple question: “Am I happy with what I'm doing?” She herself sold a successful summer recreation business when she found it was becoming too stressful. “I wound up with less income but I was happier.”
5. Eliminate toxic people in your life and workplace
This may be easier said than done, but avoid tying yourself to clients, business partners, investors, or employees who make you unhappy.
It's obviously harder to take the same approach with family members, but Schwartz says there's no reason to put up with people saying or doing things that are unkind.
“If people say mean things to me, I let them know if they talk to me that I'm going to walk away or hang up the phone,” she says.
6. Prioritize your health
“I take supplements and vitamins, I exercise, and I recently cut out sugar for seven weeks as an act of self-love,” Schwartz says.
But be careful–don't let caring for your health turn into a reason to beat yourself up if you slip. “Yesterday, I had Twinkies,” she says. “I've been wanting them ever since they temporarily stopped selling them.
So I bought some and I ate them. I don't beat myself up when I have a treat.”
7. Stop skipping meals
“People say, 'I've been so busy I had no time to eat today,'” Schwartz says. “That's a very unloving thing to do. Grab something, even if it's just a salad.”
Neuroscience tells us that letting your blood sugar sink sends stress signals to your brain. So if you truly can't stop and grab a meal, make sure you have healthy snacks at your desk.
Don't forget that when you're feeling stressed, overworked, or upset, simple breathing exercises can up your happiness quotient dramatically, Schwartz says. “If you do some deep breathing during the day, you can calm yourself down and not let stress get to you or make you sick.”
9. Give yourself a welcoming space
For years, Schwartz never made her bed, simply throwing the covers over it. Now she makes it every day for a simple reason: “Walking into my bedroom when my bed is made makes me smile.”
Take the same approach with your workspace, she advises. Make it as orderly as you can. Neatening up your workspace and getting rid of stuff you don't need will make you feel calmer and more in control, she says.
But don't limit yourself to just decluttering. “Make sure you have your environment and office space the way you it and that it's a pleasant place for you to work,” she says. “Have fresh flowers on your desk.
Take it seriously.”
10. Get some sunlight
“A lot of people work in dark spaces. That's very unhealthy and unloving,” Schwartz says. Try to work in a place where you have access to natural light, she advises. If that's not possible, invest in full-spectrum light bulbs. Either way, make sure to get outside for a walk as often as you can.
11. Buy premium products for yourself
Does this sound you? If you're bringing a bag of coffee to someone else, you pick out a luxury brand in a nice package, but if you're buying it for yourself, you pick the store brand or another inexpensive option. That's fine if you're one of these people to whom all coffees taste a. But if you prefer the more expensive brand, you should go for it, Schwartz says.
“Very often we spend money on others but we're cheap with ourselves,” she says. “The better brand is only a few dollars extra, and every time you use it you're reinforcing to yourself that you're worth more.”
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Published on: Jun 10, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
10 Scientifically Proven Ways To Make Yourself Happier
Happiness can’t be bought. Yet if we could, everyone in the world would line up to buy it.
While the source of happiness has been studied for decades, it still remains a mystery. No one can share with you how you can personally lead a happy life, because getting to happiness is different for each person.
We’ve done the hard work and curated 11 science-backed, simple ways you can be happier today.
1. Spend Time With Your Loved Ones
I’m fascinated with spending as much time with old people (I’m talking 80 to 90 years old), and absorbing the wisdom they’ve gained over the past century of their lives.
The one question I always ask is, “what is the one thing you would do differently, or more of, if you had twenty more years to live?” Without a doubt, the most consistent answer I get back is, “spend more time with my family and loved ones.”
Staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top five regrets of the dying. It’s never “make more money”, “work longer hours”, or “travelled more for work.”
According to a study published in the Journal of Socio-Economics, your relationships are worth more than $100,000:
Using the British Household Panel Survey, I find that an increase in the level of social involvements is worth up to an extra £85,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction. Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness.
This goes to show that spending that extra few hours with your friends and family is worth far more than spending it trying to get more work done.
Choose how you spend your time wisely, and most importantly who you spend it with.
2. Start A Task You’ve Been Putting Off
We all know the consequences of procrastinating, but we still do it anyways. Our brain naturally seeks immediate satisfaction because that’s what releases dopamine (feel-good hormones), which is why we’d rather check our and Instagram notifications versus going to the gym or learning a new language.
But procrastination can strip our happiness away. A study done at Carleton University showed that:
“the measure of depression were significantly correlated with scores on the measure of procrastination. This positive correlation indicates that the more depressed we are, the more we report procrastination, and vice versa. Self-regulation is a key factor related to both procrastination and depression. Showing up is half the battle.”
Another way to beat procrastination is by using a method called the Zeigarnik Effect. It was established by a Russian psychologist, Bluma Zeigarnik (left side), who noticed an odd thing while sitting in a restaurant in Vienna. The waiters seemed only to remember orders which were in the process of being served. When completed, the orders evaporated from their memory.
The Zeigarnik Effect was proven again in 1982 by Kenneth McGraw, where he had participants start to complete a really tricky puzzle; except they were interrupted before any of them could solve it and told the study was over. Despite this nearly 90% carried on working on the puzzle anyway.
The point here is that if you want to defeat procrastination to be happier, you have to just start. We constantly get students who stress about what dialect they should learn in Spanish, when they have yet to learn the basics.
Take the small step forward by just starting. Our brains will naturally take care of the rest.
3. Learn Something New
We’ve established that happiness and fulfillment is all in the mind, not external factors. Education has been widely documented by researchers as the single variable tied most directly to improved health and longevity. And when people are intensely engaged in doing and learning new things, their well-being and happiness increases as well.
What’s most surprising is that education has shown to predict how long we live. In a paper published earlier this year by the National Bureau of Economic Research, they cited research that 25-year-olds with some college education in 1980 could expect to live another 54.
4 years, on average, whereas 25-year-olds with high school degrees had life expectancies of another 51.6 years, or nearly three years less.
A similar study in 2000—only 20 years later—found that the life-expectancy gap between those with some college and high school graduates had increased to seven years.
Does this mean you have to pay thousands of dollars to head back to school? Absolutely not.
Jacquelyn James, the director of research at the Sloan Center on Aging & Work, states that “what’s important is that we continuously find things to do that light up our lives.” This is why we’re not surprised that many of our students at Rype are 25 and over, with some of our most successful students being over 50 years old.
Once we realize that the brain, the muscle, needs to exercise and that continuous learning and education is the key to happiness, fulfillment, and longevity, it’s up to us what we want to learn. For some of us, it could be finding new ways to use our current skills, while for others, it could be learning how to speak Spanish.
If time is of concern, check out our post on how to find more time to learn anything.
Most people see meditation as a way to increase your focus and stay calm. But it can also increase your happiness.
In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation.
The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants’ brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.
The Dalai Lama himself also granted permission to have the brains of his monks studied at the University of Wisconsin, one of the most high-tech brain labs in the world.
Richie Davidson, a PhD at the university, and his colleagues, led the study and said they were amazed by what they found in the monks’ brain activity read-outs. During meditation, electroencephalogram patterns increased and remains higher than the initial baseline taken from a non-meditative state.
But you don’t need to be the Dalai Lama to gain the benefits of meditation. Anyone can do it.
5. Get Moving
20 minutes of exercise a day keeps the doctor away?
New York Times best-selling author Gretchen Reynolds wrote in his book, “The first 20 minutes”, that the first 20 minutes of moving around provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk — all of those things come in in the first 20 minutes of being active.
In another interesting study cited in, The Happiness Advantage, three groups of patients treated their depression with either medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. The results of this study really surprised me. Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels to begin with, the follow up assessments proved to be radically different:
The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had taken the medication alone, 38 percent had slipped back into depression. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate. The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent!
“But I’m Too Tired To Exercise..”
I’ve said this countless times myself, after sitting on my chair working for eight hours. But whenever I’ve managed to get to the gym, I came back with more energy than ever.
“A lot of times when people are fatigued, the last thing they want to do is exercise,” says researcher Patrick O’Connor, co-director of the University of Georgia exercise psychology laboratory, in Athens, Ga.
“But if you’re physically inactive and fatigued, being just a bit more active will help.”
Because no matter how counterintuitive it may seem, exercise actually increases energy levels and fights fatigue.
6. Sleep More
Are you tired reading this?
Get some sleep! OK… maybe after you read this. As you may know, ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
In NurtureShock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explain how sleep affects our positivity:
Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine.
In one experiment by Walker, sleep-deprived college students tried to memorize a list of words. They could remember 81% of the words with a negative connotation, “cancer.” But they could remember only 31% of the words with a positive or neutral connotation, “sunshine” or “basket.”
But that doesn’t mean that more sleep is necessarily better all the time. An analysis of the lifestyles of some 4,000 adults found that the happiest of the lot get an average of 6 hours 15 min of uninterrupted, quality sleep each night.
It’s a cycle: get more quality sleep, become happier, sleep even better!
7. Give Back
If giving to yourself isn’t giving you the happiness you want, try giving to others.
Shawn Anchor states that:
“..when researchers interviewed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that money spent on activities—such as concerts and group dinners out—brought far more pleasure than material purchases shoes, televisions, or expensive watches. Spending money on other people, called “prosocial spending,” also boosts happiness.”
There have been some amazing companies that have built giving back into their business model, including Sevenly, Warby Parker, and many others. It’s also why Rype has partnered up with Pencils of Promise to donate a portion of our profits to build schools in developing nations around the world, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Laos.
There’s something about leaving our home town, and taking a plane across the world to meet new friends, discover new cultures, and escape our comfort zones.
We start to see a side of the world that we never knew about — the beautiul and the ugly — and we can start off fresh with a blank state. If you don’t have the luxury of traveling at a moment’s notice, this study shows us that just the act of planning for a vacation can boost our happiness.
In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks. After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people.
9. Put Down Your Phone
In the social media world we live in today, it’s easy to compare ourselves to the lives that other people are “supposedly” displaying on Instagram or . A study by Kent State University surveyed more than 500 students and found that frequent cellphone use was associated with lower grades, higher anxiety, and reduced happiness.
“It’s ly that people spending more time on devices have less frequent contact with live social networks, and may be more vulnerable to social comparison that leaves them with a sense of emptiness,” says Ramani Durvasula, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at California State University in Los Angeles. “And anxiety may be due to the ‘I don’t want to miss out on anything’ effect – seeing everyone else’s social calendar makes it difficult to stay present in their own lives.”
This is also called the “FOMO” effect (Fear of Missing Out). A simple way to prevent this is to just put down your smartphone once in awhile. You can use extensions Newsfeed Eradicators to prevent yourself from being distracted (and find some interesting quotations once in awhile).
10. Find Your Flow
Have you ever had time fly by because you were having so immersed? Scientists call this “flow.” What is unique about flow versus ordinary happiness is that flow is an active experience that you create, not one that was created by outside influences.
How do you know what will achieve flow?
You must fulfill three requirements. It must be your own choice, it has to be something you find pleasant, and it has to be difficult enough to require skill but not so challenging that you can’t be successful in the task.
Flow is what helps you find fulfillment in your life. So it’s probably a good time for you to start learning Spanish, taking a cooking class, or maybe even finding a new career path to explore.
This post originally appeared at Rypeapp.com
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