We all want to be happier right? Why is that? Well, happiness is a result of certain behaviors but also the driver of others. For eg: Did you know that people in happy marriages make better leaders?
So which habits can you incorporate in your day to prime your brain for happiness?
1) Spend more time with family
Invest in these relationships. Not staying in touch or building quality relationships with friends and family were amongst the top 5regrets of the dying.
George Vaillant is the director of a 72-year study of the lives of 268 men.
“In an interview in the March 2008 newsletter to the Grant Study subjects, Vaillant was asked, ‘What have you learned from the Grant Study men?’ Vaillant’s response: ‘That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.'”
If you need help, read books and articles on building a successful family life. One of my favourites is 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen Covey
And then theres psychotherapy that helps you identify pain points and create strategies to overcome them.
2) Do 7 minutes of physical activity everyday
Yes you read that right! 7 minutes only. My favorite workout is to climb stairs or simply do a whole bunch of kettle bell moves. Its transformed my body and mood.
Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it is an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In a study cited in Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage, three groups of patients treated their depression with medication, exercise, or a combination of the two.
The results of this study are surprising: Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels early on, the follow-up assessments proved to be radically different:
“The groups were 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.”
You don’t have to be depressed to benefit from exercise, it helps everyone.
3) Mindful eating
Mindful eating means that you taste, smell, and really experience your food in the now. When was the last time you put your phone down, switched of the tele, stopped talking and chewed your food? Try it!
Mindful eating not only prevents over eating, it produces feel good chemicals which relax the nervous system and improves digestion. When I eat mindlessly, I don’t feel so good through the day.
4) Have a “centering” practice
Some call this a spiritual practice, prayer, golf, or religion. Basically something you do everyday that gives you a sense of being anchored in your life regardless of how busy your day is.
Some of my clients say that developing a centering practice has helped them manage mood swings and increase their overall life satisfaction.
Eg: My centering practice is waking up every morning, getting a cuppa tea and journaling. In my journal I write my plan for the day and intent for it. This helps me craft my life according to my higher purpose and values. This is “me” time and I do not compromise on it unless there is an emergency.
5) Do something nice for someone
The key to happiness is this- kindness. It is the bedrock of a happy marriage and a happy life.
In his book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman explains that helping others can improve our own lives:
” … we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.”
helping someone can have a profound impact on how we view ourselves, how we feel and how our relationships function.
The Journal of Happiness Studies published a study that explored this very topic:
“Participants recalled a previous purchase made for either themselves or someone else and then reported their happiness. Afterward, participants chose whether to spend a monetary windfall on themselves or someone else. Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happier immediately after this recollection; most importantly, the happier participants felt, the more likely they were to choose to spend a windfall on someone else in the near future.”
So spending money on other people makes us happier than buying stuff for ourselves. But what about spending our time on other people?
Try this: if you feel unhappy practice kindness and giving. Do something for someone and notice how that changes your mood.
For more information on managing depression and improving overall quality of life call me on 9830015724 or visit my website www.mansitherapy.com