Do you feel stressed and unhappy? Try these science-backed strategies to enjoy a happier life.
The pursuit of happiness is probably as old as mankind. We often read articles that rate the happiest places on earth. By wondering “What is their secret? »
Scientists have worked for years to define and measure happiness. They learned a lot about what influences individual happiness. Be careful, this is not necessarily wealth.
A large study that assessed the emotional well-being of over 450,000 people found that their happiness increased with their annual income. But only until they hit $75,000. Once they have met their basic needs, higher incomes do not mean greater happiness.
Want to increase your happiness? Research has shown that these four practices can help you feel more joy and happiness in your daily life.
1. Be nicer to others
Researchers call this “practicing loving kindness.” It’s actually about being kind to the people you interact with during your day. Help someone with a heavy load. Run an errand for your sick neighbor. Give a co-worker a boost with a thoughtful compliment.
When you show sincere kindness to others, it activates a part of your brain that helps you feel pleasure. Research has also shown that your generosity of spirit can even be contagious. So that you can spread happiness to others as you go.
2. Start meditating
“Love-kindness meditation” encourages you to sit quietly while you reflect on warm, loving thoughts. People who practice this meditation for an hour a week report that they feel more satisfaction and joy.
Likewise, mindful meditation, which helps you become aware of the present moment and better accept yourself, has been shown to expand the part of the brain that regulates emotions. It can help you maintain feelings of happiness even when you face life’s inevitable obstacles.
We all know that physical exercise contributes to overall health, but researchers have found that it can also make you happier. In one study, older adults who started exercising regularly said that after eight weeks they felt significantly happier.
Another study found that when inactive people increased their physical activity, their happiness also improved. Although more studies are needed to determine which type of exercise is most effective, you can start with walking, running, swimming, or anything that can help improve your mood.
4. Develop a more positive mindset
When researchers worked with highly stressed healthcare professionals to improve their outlook. They found that after 12 weeks, workers reported being happier and more satisfied with their lives.
Part of the intervention included work on gratitude and forgiveness. For example, you can keep a gratitude journal, noting the specific things you are grateful for. Instead of rushing to hurt yourself or getting angry when someone behaves thoughtlessly towards you, choose forgiveness. As you practice these traits, you may find that your level of happiness increases as well.
Ready to focus on improving your happiness? You could get an even bigger benefit. Research has shown that when people focus more on kindness and other good deeds, they not only feel happier, but they also develop a greater ability to fight illness. Everybody wins.