Ways to be Happier

3620796996_6c09abe8d5_zWith all the different types of media out there, there seems to be a lot a negativity. Always exceptions to the rule, but I think we can all benefit from being a little happier or having a little more positive attitude every day.

The funny thing about happiness is that everyone wants it, yet relatively few seem to get enough of it. Could be our cynical nature as humans or our love for drama, who knows, but here are some ways to increase happiness:

  • Exercise – Millions of studies prove why exercise is not only good for your health, but it will also make you happier. Rumor is that even a short 20 minute walk makes your brain go crazy with endorphins. Shawn Achor has a book called “The Happiness Advantage.” It features a study of three groups of patients being treated for depression. Some with medicine, some with exercise and some with both. No big surprise here, people with exercise only were less depressed. Boo to pills!
  • Sleep more – You’ll be less sensitive to negative emotions. Sleep helps our body recover from the day before and repair itself. You actually want 6.5 to 7.5 hours as well. That 8 hours a night thing might be a lie.
  • Spend more time with friends and family – There is a study that shows our personal relationships are worth more than $100,000.
  • Listen to music – Tons of studies prove that music improves our mood, makes us more productive, etc.
  • Get outside more – There are tons of studies that prove fresh air and the outdoors made people happier. Supposedly 57 degrees is when happiness is “maximized.” Who knew?
  • Help others – Giving back, helping the less fortunate and brightening someone else’s day should make everyone feel better about themselves and their self-worth.
  • Make good friends – Sounds easy enough, but seriously, go for quality over quantity. Avoid people who bring you down or are negative.
  • Practice smiling– You know, those genuine ones that make others smile too.
  • Meditate or take a quick nap – Take a minute to reset your brain and there are tons of studies that show a 15-30 minute nap can drastically improve your mood.
  • Move closer to work – A shorter commute equals less stress. I recently made this change and can’t tell you how amazing it is.
  • Practice gratitude – Actively expressing how thankful you are naturally makes you appreciate things.
  • Actively pursue your goals – The sense of accomplishment makes everyone feel great. So make a small list, check things off and remember to reward yourself.
  • Don’t chase stuff – We all know that material things don’t make us happy. New always becomes the new normal and the cycle just keeps repeating. Get off the merry-go-round and be content.
  • Do what you’re good at, as often as you can – Everyone has a few things that they are really good at. When you do the things you love or are passionate about, it makes you naturally happy. Duh!
  • As we grow older, we get happier – As we age, most tend to remember the good times versus the bad and they also “prune” their social circles to avoid negative people.
  • Live the life you truly want to liveBonnie Ware worked in palliative care, spending time with patients who had only a few months to live. The most common regret was, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Realize that happiness is a choice. The bad news is that 50% of how happy you are is hereditary and out of your control. But, the good news is the other 50% lies within your control. So start doing more things that will make you happier.

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