It’s something we all want, but at the same time something that sometimes seems harder to find than the elusive fountain of youth. We’re talking about happiness of course. Who doesn’t want to be happy? Well it turns out finding happiness is not a rigid straightforward process, but consists of different elements that all do their part in transforming your life and state of mind. Curious about what those parts are? Read on to find out how to find your happiness.
1. Being grateful boosts happiness
One way to boost your happiness is by practicing gratitude. Yes, life can be cumbersome with conflict and things going wrong. Still there are always things you can be happy and grateful about, even if it’s just the fact that you have your health, or you got to spend time with a friend. Expressing gratitude can have several benefits. People who focus on the thing they’re grateful for are more likely to be hopeful, satisfied, and energetic and experience positive emotions more frequently.
A 2021 review found that “individuals who experience more gratitude have lower levels of depression”. So that’s another plus side of being grateful. Try thinking of three things you’re grateful for every night before you fall asleep or write gratitude letters to the people in your life you’re grateful for. Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to send them.
2. Be mindful and meditate
Meditation has been around for centuries and it seems that in recent years even more people have started to practice the tradition. If you’re not one of them you might want to give it a go, as research suggests meditation can elevate your baseline happiness level. The practice has been shown to help reduce anxiety and stress and even positively change your brain. Other benefits ascribed to meditation are an improved self-image, enhanced-self-awareness, lower blood pressure and improved sleep.
3. Get creative
The world can be a very stressful place where it seems like everything you do has to be an instant success. If you’re feeling down and overwhelmed, try doing something creative just for fun. Something you like doing and do it just for you, for the pleasure of doing it. Research shows that being creative may help decrease signs of depression. It can also boost your self-esteem and give you a sense of achievement. So next time you aren’t feeling all that happy, try dancing, singing, baking, drawing, or any other creative activity to boost your jolliness.
4. Are your relationships meaningful?
Something else that can boost your happiness is having meaningful relationships in your life. And we don’t just mean with a significant other. Deep connections with friends and family are an important factor in finding happiness. They fulfill the basic human need for belonging. So invest time and energy in building your relationships, but stay away from toxic connections that drag you down.
5. Sing yourself to happiness
When you’re feeling down, music could help lift your mood. But which music? According to neuropsychologist Jacob Jolij there is a formula to determine which songs make you the happiest. He even compiled a list of 10 songs that are sure to boost your jolliness. What are these elusive songs? Read all about them in this article.
6. Hugs do make a difference
Weary of that one person that always insists on hugging you? Well they actually might be onto something. A new study looked into the connection between hugging, mood, and life satisfaction and guess what? They found that more hugging was associated with a better overall mood and that people who hugged more felt less lonely than their uncuddly fellow participants. Especially singles seemed to benefit from embracing more often. Now before you start hugging random people, please first make sure they’re ok with your arms around them.
7. Bounce, bounce baby
If you want to safeguard your happiness it helps to be resilient in life. What does that mean? Being resilient means that you are able to bounce back quickly from hardships and don’t tend to wallow in despair. A 2018 study on the relationship between resilience, happiness and life satisfaction shows that people with high resilience are more satisfied with their lives and overall happier.
So how do you get resilient? There are a few things you could try to build your resilience. Try maintaining a positive outlook, exercise regularly, don’t beat yourself up or dwell on the past for example. Other things that could help you are looking for meaning in stressful situations, keep learning new things and reaching out for support when you need it.
8. Workout for feel-good chemistry
You’ve probably heard this before and didn’t want to believe it, but yes working out can help you feel better mentally. That’s because exercise can boost the release of serotonin, endorphins and dopamine and those are the hormones you need to feel happy and satisfied. But don’t worry, you don’t have to slave in the gym for hours to reap the benefits. According to a 2017 trial even a little bit of movement could already soothe the symptoms of depression.
9. Get a good night’s sleep
Are you getting enough sleep? Staying up late and not getting enough rest could be influencing your mood and overall happiness. Researchers Daniel Hahneman and Alan B. Krueger found a direct connection between sleep quality and happiness in their 2006 study on life satisfaction. Sleep quality even seems to be the single most influential component in people rating their daily mood. A 2015 poll also shows that people are more likely to rate their lives as happier when they get enough sleep.