By practicing gratitude, you can bring more happiness into your life.
Gratitude means the act of being thankful for the simple things in life. It can bring more positivity and happiness as well as satisfaction in life. Practicing gratitude can even protect you from stress, negativity, anxiety and depression.
On the other hand, complaining about things works in an opposite way and creates gloominess in life.
In a 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers examined the effect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being. After a thorough analysis, results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.
Another 2008 study published in the Journal of Research in Personality reports that overall gratitude seems to directly foster social support and protect people from stress and depression.
Hence, it is important to be grateful for all the little things in your life. Always bear in mind that many people are less fortunate and do not even have these little things for which to be thankful.
To keep a tab on the things you feel lucky to have in your life, maintain a gratitude journal. Write down the things that you feel grateful for in the journal.
Practice smiling to alleviate pain and bring more happiness.
The simple act of smiling can make anyone feel better within seconds. The power of a smile is even more effective when backed up with positive thoughts.
Smiling sends signals back to the brain, which in turn increases the level of happy hormones, or endorphins. In short, when your brain feels happy, the result is a big smile and vice versa.
A 2011 study published in the Academy of Management Journal studied a group of city bus drivers regarding the effects of surface acting, or fake smiling, and deep acting, or cultivating positive emotions by recalling pleasant memories or thinking about the current situation in a more favorable way. After two weeks, it was found that drivers who smiled as a result of cultivating positive thoughts, such as a tropical vacation or a child’s recital, improved their mood and withdrew less.
Smiling can even improve your attention and help you perform better on cognitive tasks.
Even the simple act of holding a pencil with your teeth, which engages the muscles used to smile, can actually make you feel better. So, the next time you are stressed or sad, do this simple exercise to lift your mood.
Do Things for Others
Any kind of volunteer activity is good, as it means getting out of your comfort zone and reaching out for people who are in need of your services.
Volunteering work can make you stronger and more physically fit, which in turn helps you deal with stress better and live a more satisfied life.
Plus, it can build social connections and provide a deep sense of happiness, which is also associated with a longer and healthier life.
do things for others
Helping others or volunteering does not always mean you need to spend money. You can spend your time visiting or helping out in old-age homes or community centers.
A 2001 study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior highlights the positive relationships between volunteer work in the community and six aspects of personal well-being: happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, sense of control over life, physical health and depression.
Later, a 2012 study published in Aging & Mental Health showed that volunteering is related to increased happiness, irrespective of ethnicity but moderated by economic status. Older individuals at the low end of the economic spectrum are likely to benefit more from volunteering than those at the high end.
Try to take just 1 to 2 hours out of your busy schedule every week for volunteer work and feel the change in your life.
Exercising your body is a powerful happiness booster. Similar to mood-boosting drugs, working out on a daily basis increases the amount of serotonin and endorphins circulating in the brain that boost happiness. It also alleviates stress, another important aspect of happiness.
Exercise even boosts your self-confidence and self-esteem.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who exercised six days a week for 40 minutes daily felt better about their bodies, even when they saw no physical changes. Feeling good about your body is a key factor in determining your happiness level.
A 2015 study published in BioMed Central Public concluded that high levels of physical activity were associated with higher levels of happiness. Happiness was strongest for “a lot” of domestic and/or “some” vocational physical activity.
Another study published in the same year in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing concluded that a physical exercise program had positive effects on happiness among older adults.
There is no need to run marathons to boost your happiness. In fact, there are many simple things you can do to be more active each day. Start small and gradually build a habit of exercising daily.