Life is so busy, hectic and filled with challenges. There are also myriad opportunities for personal enrichment, satisfaction, friendship, love, finding purpose and doing good for others. Still, while the desire for and pursuit of happiness can sometimes seem elusive or fleeting, there are effective ways to increase your happiness.
1. Set Yourself A Goal
Whether you aspire to get fit, obtain that dream job or learn how to cook something other than toast, most of us have something we long to achieve during our lifetime. Rather than putting off your dreams until a perfect moment which may never come, take some positive action and make a plan of how you will achieve your goal starting today. Having something to work towards will not only distract you from your problems, it will also reignite your passion for life and increase your excitement for the future.
2. Don’t Be Money Hungry
Many of us ponder how much happier we’d be if we had more money, and we believe that a bulkier bank account will lead to a happier life. Too much money, however, is proven to significantly lower your mood. Look at the high-profile celebrities whose success has led them to drugs and alcohol addictions; we can get to a point where we have all the material things one could wish for, but only feel miserable. Those with less well endowed bank balances are often happier and appreciate the finer things in life in comparison to those who have a thriving bank account and nothing left to spend it on. While a little treat every now and again can significantly boost our mood, the novelty of being rich can wear off once you have so much cash that you can buy anything you want. It’s time to start loving our bank accounts the way they are.
3. Talk It Out
If you are feeling seriously down and have been feeling low for a while, it is important to seek some help to get through this difficult phase. Seek out a friend or counsellor to listen to your problems, or visit your GP if you think you may be suffering from depression. No matter how bad you feel it is important to remember that you are not alone and there is no shame in seeking help. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved, and even talking through your issues can help them seem less overwhelming.
4. Schedule In Regular Treats
To boost your happiness and satisfaction of life, it is important to make the most of those little things that boost your mood. Make a list of the day-to-day things that make you happy – such as having a catch-up with a friend, drinking hot chocolate in bed, or listening to your favourite song –and make sure you schedule one of these treats into every day. Planning regular treats not only gives you something to look forward to, but it can also subtly improve each day.
5. Take A Risk
To get the endorphins going and give your confidence a boost, try challenging yourself on a regular basis. While we don’t advise you to put yourself in any danger, if there is something you have been putting off for a while out of fear, now is the time to bite the bullet and see it through. Whatever your fear – be it asking out that special someone, joining a gym or applying for a job abroad – conquering your fears will leave you feeling great as well as helping you achieve your dreams.
6. Have A Workout
For an instant happiness boost when you’re feeling blue, try hitting the gym or heading out for a brisk walk or run. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain such as endorphins and anandamide which can boost your mood and leave you feeling great. Not only that, exercise is also good for boosting confidence levels and increasing self-esteem.
7. Get Outdoors
Research has shown that low levels of vitamin D can contribute to mood disorders and depression. While vitamin D can be found in some foods or taken as supplement, one of the best sources of the mood-boosting vitamin is sunshine, which helps the body to create vitamin D. To boost your supplies of vitamin D, try to spend 10 to 15 minutes outdoors two to three times a week during the summer months.
8. Eat Yourself Happy
While our outlook often changes based on external factors, if your mood is often low it may be that you are suffering from a nutrient deficiency. Research has found that having low levels of omega-3 fatty acids (which are essential for good brain health) increases risk of depression and negativity, while research by Kuopio University in Finland found that taking B vitamin supplements could help treat depression. Try choosing foods rich in these nutrients to eat away the blues.
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