To be healthy does not only come down to what we eat and exercise. It is also about happiness and general well being. But: how does one become happy? How do you reach happiness?
There are many ideas, thoughts, even theories on happiness and what causes it. And also of what does not.
For the past years, research regarding happiness has made huge improvements in establishing what makes some people happier than others. A large study, conducted in America, has shown that your happiness is genetically predispositioned as far as to 50%. What you do with the other half is entirely up tho you.
Some researchers have proven that you can become a happier being only by mimicking happy peoples behaviors. A large portion of happiness is also in our heads; positively inclined people, seeing opportunities rather than problems are happier than negatively inclined people. Self esteem, living in the now and the ability to break a negative pattern are furthermore of importance.
The answer lies in working with yourself and enjoying the moment, and not the following five myths about happiness:
Research does show that money can temporarily make you feel happier. This feeling, however, passes rather quickly. To have a lot of money does not make you a happier person in the long run.
Just like when it comes to money, a rich life, materialistically speaking, does not make us happier. We quickly get used to what we already have, and that includes the things you just acquired on your latest shopping spree. If you are chasing happiness through material things, you may very well end up very disappointed.
Whatever perfection may mean to you, be it a perfect home or a perfect figure – it will not make you a happier being. When we enter the goose chase of a perfect life, we often end up having so much on our plates that we get hyper stressed by trying to keep it up, which is the very opposite of happiness. It is much better to accept the way things are right now, and possibly set up a more realistic goal for the future.
4. Being Too Goal Oriented
The journey is the goal! Humans are goal oriented beings that are usually driven by our goals. Reaching the goal isn’t what makes you happy, however, but rather the journey to get there. To realize a goal is far more important for us than reaching the goal itself.
Successful people are generally happier than unsuccessful ones. This perception does not depend on their success, however, but that their success was born from their happiness. Research has shown that happy people are more likely to increase their income and climb up the career ladder.
What, then, does increase the level of happiness? The following are 12 things that we all can do in order to be happier (and healthier!) human beings.
People who like, and are satisfied with their lives are happier than those who do not. It does not depend as much as what your life contains, but much more your atitude toward it.
You can become happier by helping others. To help people around you has a positive effect, as does contributing toward a better world. An easy way to start is to help someone in your surroundings, or help an organisation of your choice.
Living in the present
This is one of the most difficult challenges for many of us, because we enjoy living in the future. Wouldn’t a promotion, a house or losing that weight make us much happier? One way to start this is by practising mindfulness.
Having a goal
The feeling of your life heading in the right direction is important. The feeling of working toward something has the ability to make us happier, as we then feel that we are developing as people. Set up some goals in your professional or private life. What kind of person would you like to be, what improvements can you do to your personality? For example, if you often find yourself thinking in negative patters, you could try changing to a more positive outlook. Being aware of your changed actions will also make you happier.
Reminiscing happy moments
If you are bored with your life it is often very valuable to remind yourself of great things you have done in the past. Think of moments you have experienced and that made you happy. Never underestimate the power of thought! For example, write down three positive memories every day.
Laugh – a lot!
Laughter is like jogging for the heart. When you laugh, your muscles vibrate and gives your body a deeper sense of relaxation. Laughing and smiling impacts your mood, makes you happier, and makes others view you as a more positive person.
Do some exercise
If you are active in your free time, you are more likely to be happy than those who do not. Exercise can also aid depressions, due to the “happiness hormones” the body makes when it moves. Exercising also increases your self esteem, as well as distracts you from thinking in negative patterns. Furthermore your sleep and general well being will be improved, meaning that you will feel more awake and alert throughout the day. There is not one specific form of exercise that is especially good for happiness, just do something you think is fun!
Be surrounded by people you like
Our close relations are extremely important when it comes to our happiness. There is no magic number in terms of the number of friends one needs to be happy, but rather the quality of these relations is what matters. To spend time with positive thinkers will make you happier too. The feeling that you get something out of the relationship, and that it helps you develop as a person is also of importance. Love is not a deciding factor when it comes to happiness, a few close friends can just as easily make you happy as a partner can.
Practise taking power over your thoughts
Practising mindfulness or meditation can be a valuable tool in becoming happier. To be aware of negative thoughts and the ability to break these, will make you happier. You can, for example, practise breathing deeply 10 times , whilst focusing on the present. This will calm you down and reduce your stress. Or you can practise this through your senses by asking yourself how something smells, tastes, looks, feels… This way makes it easier to prolong happy moments.
Your thoughts have a wonderful (?) ability to storm through your head, sometimes without us even acknowledging it. Meditation may feel difficult in the beginning, but creates a well-deserved break in our everyday stress where both body and mind can rest. The easiest way to start is to consciously focus on your breathing. Should other thoughts po into your head, just acknowledge them and continue focusing on your breathing.
It is a myth that we get happier when we have time off of work. Humans are a species that enjoy to have habits, meaning that working, eating and sleeping at the same times is when we feel most at ease. It is in our nature to perform and to be active. Routines give us security, which, in turn, makes us happier. Naturally, this predisposes that we enjoy our work and that we have healthy relationships.
Your posture can have a lot to do with your happiness. A good posture strengthens our self esteem and gives us a sense of being of importance to both ourselves as well as to others. Having a good posture furthermore sends out positive signals, making others see you as a more social being. So straighten out your back, move your shoulders back, and keep your head up!
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