How we define happiness can either enhance or taint our experiences on how we approach it. In fact, happiness looks differently to everyone. It all depends on what it means to you. Some might think of material possessions as a measure of happiness. Others would argue it is the experiences that create lasting happiness. While happiness is most definitely a great feeling, it’s important to note how our perception influences the meaning behind it. For some this might mean keeping healthy habits. For others it might mean approaching life with a sense of purpose. These psychological hacks provide a means for bringing both balance and purpose to your daily life.
You don’t have to be a gym rat to benefit from this game changing approach. There are so many fun ways to get in some regular exercise. Take that fun dance class you’ve been thinking about! Exercise increases blood flow to the brain as well as serotonin levels which can help combat depression and increase overall happiness. Not only does your brain feel good, but the sense of accomplishment you notice after completing an exercise goes a long way. While we’re at it, it doesn’t hurt to mention that your confidence may even go up.
Quality Time with Loved Ones
It’s important we spend time with the ones we love—as often as we can. Even if your schedule is packed with work meetings and other obligations, set aside a moment to call a cousin and catch up. After all, it’s the little things that end up meaning the most. If you look at people who are approaching the end of their days, the most common regret is not spending enough time with the ones they love. A little time goes a long way and you’ll feel so much happier you did it.
Less Screen Time
This seems to be a growing issue as technology continues to advance. We have the world at our fingertips. When we create a long term habit of spending unnecessary time in front of the screen, we create patterns that cause more harm than good. By spending less time in front of our screens we give ourselves permission to live in the present moment. You’ll start feeling the difference right away.
You are what you eat and if you eat junk, chances are you’ll feel like it too. Studies that show having a healthy gut promotes a healthy mind. When you eat whole grains, leafy greens and other healthy varieties you promote a clear channel of communication from the nervous system in your gut to the system in your brain. Starting your day with a balanced meal sets the trajectory of your day to be filled with happiness driven by purpose. After all, food is information and what you eat ultimately tells your body how to feel.
Getting proper rest should be a top priority. However, in a fast-paced society this is not always the case. Sleep is one of the most optimal periods for restoration. If you skimp on sleep or indulge in too much of it, you ultimately sell yourself short and prohibit the chances of functioning at your highest level.
Noted from Plato’s Apology, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” When we take the time to introspect on our day, thoughts and emotions we create a space where we can build ourselves for improvement. Reflection is a great psychological hack to help you feel happier and more self aware of the changes needed for personal growth.
Learning a New Skill
Learning a new skill is a core component when it comes to increasing happiness levels. Our species has a natural calling to learn new skills. Psychologists call this mastery. When we learn a new skill, we open ourselves up to creativity. It offers a fresh perspective that may lend new ways to handling stress.
Spending Time in Nature
There’s something about the stillness in nature that makes us feel like we are back home. Scientists are finding more and more evidence that going for a walk in nature reduces anxiety and stress while increasing our creativity and connectivity with others. From an evolutionary perspective, we are well acquainted with the forest and this isn’t the only reason why we need to experience the outdoors more. If you’re feeling super committed, take your shoes off and feel the planet’s energy ground and energize you.
Meditation is growing in popularity and psychological science as people are learning how to implement techniques in their everyday lives. Research shows that meditation increases grey matter in the brain which is linked to happiness. By focusing on our breath, we bring ourselves into the present moment and allow thoughts to come and go. If this is something foreign to you, I recommend you learn five essential tips to improve your meditation practice.
We all experience moments of stress now again. However, if it gets to the point of feeling stuck, then we’ve got a problem in our hands. Wonder is what allows us to look at things differently and explore new thoughts. Curiosity is another main component in finding a deeper sense of purpose and increase happiness levels. When you are curious, your brain automatically begins to produce serotonin as the motivation to learn about a specific topic activates the reward system.
Happiness comes in many forms. It is through habit where a purpose driven life solidifies.
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