Everyone wants to be happy, that’s not a secret. Even the science proves that happy people are healthier, more successful and more loved. But, what does it take to lead a happy, fulfilling life? What do we need to stay mentally and physically fit? Is it family? Love? Professional success? Recognition? A bit of everything, probably.
Positive psychology examines how people can become happier and healthier. Can we simply decide to be happy? No? Why not? There are some things that we can do to make our pursuit of happiness a fruitful one.
How to increase happiness psychology
1. Give gratitude
Don’t think of what you lost, or don’t have, but count your blessings instead. There are many things to be grateful for in life. A safe way to happiness is reminding yourself of them whenever you get a chance. So, start practicing a gratitude exercise. For example, each night before bed, say three things you’re grateful about. Regular gratitude exercise will deepen your happiness.
Learn to live in a moment and truly experience it. Because finding a way to enjoy the little things is a secret key to boosting happiness and well-being.
2. Have courage and be kind
Always have courage to take what you can from life and try to give back regularly. True happiness actually comes from giving, not receiving. You can give your time, support, love or money to people around you or devote some of your time helping out in your local community. You can also spend as much time as you can with family and friends, or donate to a charity. Show the loved ones how much you love them.
Each time we give something away, we feel a small wave of happiness. Our acts of kindness and altruism are strongly associated with our well-being. According to some studies, people who actively volunteer have better mental health. They are happier. They also live longer. Amazing, isn’t it?
3. Stay emotionally fit
Emotional fitness is one of the keys to happiness in life – the road to successful relationships and overall well-being. The ability to control our emotions and experience them to their fullest means that we are emotionally fit. But how to advance our emotional fitness? By being aware of our emotions, giving them the right name and managing them constructively. To keep your emotional fitness at a high level, try out the emotional fitness game, eQuoo. Empirically based, eQuoo is a fun and engaging way of learning how to enhance your confidence, self-awareness, pride and other positive emotions. Once you gain these valuable emotional skills, you will have the opportunity to boost them and use them in your everyday life.
4. Exercise and breathing: Keep active
Exercising regularly helps to reduce stress and is another great way to apply positive psychology to your life. Moreover, regular daily exercise releases chemicals in our brain generally known as hormones of happiness: endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin. Even a light workout, swimming or going for a walk or a hike with your best friend can help you feel both, mentally and physically fit.
Also, try to practice relaxation and breathing techniques. There was a good reason why we are told to ‘take a deep breath’ when we need to embrace ourselves for upcoming challenges. Breathing regulates our mind and our emotions.
Take hyperventilation, for example – during a panic attack, a person’s breathing becomes faster and shallower. When over-breathing, we cause oxygen-carbon dioxide disproportion, which in turn causes a pH imbalance in our bloodstream. This, as a result, leads to respiratory alkalosis with dizziness, weakness, headache, prickling in the hands and feet and fainting as its main symptoms. Experiencing these sensations during a panic attack, you believe that the catastrophe is on its way. You’re either going to faint, lose your mind or die. You won’t, however. It’s just your breathing that caused this state of mind.
Many studies suggest that controlled breathing and practicing yoga have direct positive effects on mental health and physical well-being.
5. Plan ahead
Staying organized and planning ahead helps reduce stress and anxiety. According to a psychologist and self-help author Robert Epstein, as much as a quarter of our overall happiness comes from our ability to cope with stress (1).
Planning your activities ahead will make you feel on top of things. So, organize your tasks. Set the priorities. Respect the deadlines. Make a list of the things to do and break down bigger tasks into smaller projects. Instead of ‘clean the house’, plan smaller tasks like ‘do the laundry’, ‘plant the flowers’ or ‘clean the bathroom’. That way you’ll set reasonable expectations for yourself and won’t feel overwhelmed.
6. Pursue the good things in life
Always search for good things around you. The beauty of life is in finding happiness in little things that surround us. A blue sky during a summer afternoon, or a favourite song on the radio while you’re stuck on a highway won’t get you out of there in a blink of an eye but it will make you feel better.
In addition, look actively for good in yourself. Find the inspiration inside yourself and stay positive. Remember, a positive mindset has the power to draw the good things towards you.
7. Accept vulnerability
Accept your feelings and acknowledge that it is all right to feel sad, angry or afraid. The things that make you vulnerable also make you better and beautiful. You need to accept that you’re imperfect but worthy of respect, love and belonging.
Don’t be afraid to say what you think or to apologize when you make a mistake. Thank someone for something you never thanked them for. Embrace yourself and celebrate your uniqueness and people around you will accept you as you are.
Practicing so-called 'positive psychology interventions', or simply said, behaviors in which we engage to improve our well-being, can lead to a more fulfilled life. Being aware of what makes life most worth living and living up to those values is the best way to happy and healthy life.
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1. Healthland.time.com: healthland.time.com/2011/05/31/study-25-of-happiness-depends-on-stress-management/