10 easy ways to be happy
Regardless of whether you're having a really bad day today, you're generally a bit out of balance, or you just want to top your good mood again - today I would like to introduce you to ten very simple options that are guaranteed to make you feel happy. The nice thing is that most of these tips can be implemented immediately and you can easily incorporate them into your everyday life.
For us, the feeling of happiness is not only a pleasant end result, but above all it also represents a motivation for us. Happy people achieve more and are more productive ( Oswald, Proto & Sgroi, 2009 ). That makes a lot of sense at first, but it's also easier said than done, right?
Not necessarily. Even small changes can make a difference. If these are then carried out regularly, you are well on your way to making your life easier. But let’s just get started – Here are 10 simple ways to be happy!
1. Get outside more often and soak up the sun
Just spending 20 minutes in the fresh air not only creates positive emotions, but also improves your own working memory. This works particularly well – as you can imagine – when the weather is nice. How good that spring is slowly reaching Germany...
In fact, people generally seem to feel happier when they are in natural environments than when they are in urban environments. This is what a study by the University of Sussex found.
20 minutes is a nice time frame that can be incorporated into almost any daily schedule. Be it during your lunch break or on the way to work or university.
2. Treat yourself to a bouquet of flowers
It may seem a bit arbitrary and arbitrary, but a Harvard University study actually found that people whose homes had flowers felt less anxious and less depressed compared to homes where there were candles. They also showed more concern for others. I just wanted to include this fact because it's something so simple and can still apparently change a lot!
3. Try to get more sleep
We need sleep so that our bodies can recover. When we get enough sleep, we are more focused and productive. But sleep also affects our sense of happiness ( Van der Helm, Gujar & Walker, 2010 ): Negative stimuli are processed in the brain via the amygdala, while positive or neutral stimuli are processed via the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation affects the hippocampus more severely than the amygdala. Therefore, after little sleep, it is easier for us to remember dark and sad things than the positive things.
Sleep also affects how sensitive we are to negative emotions. People who worked through the afternoon and didn't take a nap were more sensitive to negative emotions such as fear or anger. Those who took a nap were not only more receptive to positive emotions, but also felt better and happier.
4. Start a gratitude practice
This one might even be my favorite tip – incredibly simple, yet incredibly effective!
There are many different ways to practice gratitude. For example, you can buy a gratitude diary that you write in regularly, or talk to your partner or friend every day over dinner about what you are grateful for. Every morning, as soon as I wake up, I list three things that I am grateful for in that moment. No matter whether it's small or big things, you automatically switch to a happier mood. Various studies, for example this one , show the connection between gratitude and feelings of happiness.
5. Exercise and get your body going
This recommendation is hardly a surprise. As everyone knows, sport and training have a remarkable effect on our well-being. This is why it is increasingly being used in the treatment of depression .
But you don't have to be depressed to benefit from the positive effects of exercise. Training helps you relax and increase brain power - not to mention visual effects, of course.
You don't always have to sacrifice 1-2 hours; just 7 minutes is enough to make a difference.
6. Smile more often
Smiling affects our feelings. When we smile, we feel happier - and vice versa. When we are happy, our brain automatically sends signals to our muscles and we smile. This exact mechanism also works the other way around: When we smile, signals are sent to our brain that tell it that we are happy. This happens regardless of whether it is just our mouth puckering or whether we are smiling “genuinely”. A study found that maintaining a “positive” facial expression, i.e. smiling, during a stressful task has psychological and physiological effects on us: subjects who smiled during a task were in a more positive mood than people with a neutral facial expression . In addition, the subjects in the smiling group had a lower heart rate when recovering from this stressful task than the other participants.
However, if people feel compelled to smile even though they don't feel well, it can even make them sick. This is required, for example, in jobs that require a lot of interaction with customers.
So you shouldn't go through the day with a permanent grin if you just don't feel like it. But smiling a little more often, or giving yourself that first smile in the morning, can help us be happier.
7. Plan a trip
We feel happiest during the planning phase of a vacation or trip because we enjoy the anticipation and positive expectations. But of course you can't plan a trip all the time - just for financial and time reasons. How nice that this trick works even if we don't even go on the planned trip. Because only when we imagine beautiful things do we feel happy. So it's worth putting an appointment in the calendar every now and then that we're looking forward to. Even if it is six months or a year in the future. And whenever we need a little happiness boost, we can remember it.
8. Meditate (more)
Meditation not only helps us to calm down, get a clearer head or improve our ability to concentrate. It also makes us feel happier. Astudy found that regular meditation even changes our brain structures: areas associated with stress become smaller. And areas associated with compassion and self-awareness are expanding. So there's everything to be said for making meditation a (new) habit!
9. Eat more fruits and vegetables
There are numerous studies that show that a diet that includes lots of fruit and vegetables makes us happy. In addition, there are effects on general well-being and creativity. Some unhealthy foods such as chips or sweets also make us feel happier. However, this feeling usually only lasts for a short time and many people then feel even more unhappy than before.
10. Spend time with your loved ones
We know that humans are social animals. And introverts also benefit from company. But of course not everyone makes us happy; after all, we want to feel good when we are with other people. Therefore, spending time with family or friends seems to make us particularly happy.
In fact, a raise doesn't make us as happy as an increased social network .
It's only in the last few years that I've really realized how much difference the right environment can make. It has a strong influence on how we feel and how quick/determined we are when it comes to achieving our goals. But that is another topic that will be discussed more soon.
What makes you really happy?
If you would like to find out more about the topics of mindfulness, healthy eating or sustainability, take a look here over.