11 steps you can take today to increase happiness
According to a recent publication by the Review of General Psychology, our overall happiness is primarily dictated by the small and everyday choices we make. With possessions and financial wealth coming below our own actions, what minor changes can you make to help make yourself feel more positive, especially in times of uncertainty such as these?
1. Take time for yourself
Recent research has stated that finding time to focus on yourself in a mindful manner helps to boost overall happiness. For example, meditation and the practice of focusing on your breath has shown to have markedly positive effect on the brain. If this doesn’t appeal, consciously take time away from your phone and social media and spend time focusing on you, whether that is taking a hot bath or a walk in the countryside.
2. Spend time with animals
Studies have shown that spending just 5 minutes with a pet can release endorphins in the brain, making you feel good. One study stated that even watching fish glide around their tank can reduce blood pressure by 4%.
3. Choose yellow
The colour yellow is associated with health and happiness. Channel this through the clothes you wear or the foods you eat if you need a dose of happiness.
4. Stand tall and sit up straight
Research has shown that the way in which we hold ourselves has a big impact on our overall mood. Walking tall and sitting up straight can help to elevate positive feelings.
5. Turn it up
Listening to rhythmic music has been shown to have a huge impact on our overall wellbeing. With studies showing people experiencing lower stress hormones, reduced blood pressure and a slower heart rate and brain wave speed – leading to a calmer and happier state.
6. Surround yourself with water
Although swimming isn’t an option currently, taking a warm bath or shower, or simply walking by a stream or the ocean can help to increase happy hormones within the brain and reduce external distractions.
7. Reach out to others
It has been shown that offering a helpful hand or shoulder to someone helps to boost your own happiness. This is relatively simple to do given the current circumstances. If appropriate, offer to complete someone’s shopping who is currently unable to do so, or just pick up the phone to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while – a friendly chat can help to boost morale for days.
8. Write down what you are thankful for
Everyday, make a note of the things you are thankful for, no matter how minor. This positive reinforcement will help to instil happiness. Read your notes back through at the end of each week for a second wave of positivity.
9. Make plans
Most plans are on hold at the moment, but booking something, even if it is months in advance will help to give a positive focus. However, with the current circumstance, many are finding that it is the less ambitious plans that are bringing them joy, such as a social distance walk with friends. Get something in the diary to have something to look forward to.
We may have had to become a little more creative with our exercise routines as of late, but there is no reason as to why we cannot get our bodies moving to start producing all of the feel good hormones that come with doing so. It is well known that exercise helps to release endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine – all hormones that can make you feel instantly happier. There are so many effective home workout examples to choose from, just visit youtube to get started.
11. Learn something new
Learning something new can help to encourage a sense of achievement and accomplishment, which in turn helps to increase confidence, self-esteem and overall happiness. Be inquisitive and curious, google that question you have never known the answer to, try a brand new recipe that you have been meaning to master or begin an online language course for the holiday you have postponed to next year!
Further reading you may find helpful