2015 Nov 1
by Catarina Cowden
Ever wonder what people do to stay happy? We all want to be happy, it is one of the greatest feelings you can achieve, but maintaining that happiness can be a difficult pursuit. Life is filled with daily stresses and anxieties that can quickly wipe away a smile.
But, we’ve all encountered those that seem to have it figured out. They always have a smile on their face, and walk through the world with a consistent positive outlook. But what exactly makes that person different? Here are a few habits that genuinely happy tend to follow on a regular basis.
People with a speedy walking pace may be onto something. Dr. Aiken suggested that walking briskly, (raising your heart rate by 10 beats per minute) for 15 to 30 minutes a day makes people happier.
2. WAKE UP CONSISTENTLY
Getting out of bed at the same time each day helps to set your neurohormones, which directly affect your happiness levels.
3. HAVE PERFECT BEDTIME LIGHT
4. EAT WELL
Choosing the right foods and maintaining a good diet is key to good health and happiness. Aiken suggested a diet low in saturated fats and simple sugars. Also, happier people tend to have salmon two times per week or fish oil with a DHA of at least 100 mg per day.
5. HAVE ‘FLOW’
There are many ways to get active and out of your head and enable some smiles. “Engage in activities that get you out of your head and pull your attention to the present moment. Psychologists call this flow; some people call it ‘in the zone,’” Aiken explained. “It can be found in sports, creative arts, conversations with friends, and work that engages you fully.”
6. WATCH TELEVISION AS A REWARD
Surprisingly, TV can actually make a happier human. Aiken insists that it can help or hurt. For example, too many advertisements can decrease your mood because ads tend to make people feel inadequate without a certain product. But, television can improve mood when it’s used as a reward for completing something like chores or a long day at work. He suggested to pixk a program you plan to watch, rather than surfing channels, and comedy programs are always a plus.
7. SHOW GRATITUDE
Being appreciative of things that come your way will create an overall happier you. To build more gratitude in your life, Aiken suggested writing down three things that went well each day and why.
8. MAKE LESS COMPARISONS
While comparative thinking can be helpful for problem solving, too much is harmful to our happiness. Spending too much time comparing “apples to oranges” can eliminate that good feeling.
9. HAVE ACCEPTANCE
Acceptance in any form can build a better you. But specifically, Aiken explained, “rather than trying to change your emotions, which can cause frustration, cultivate a stance of appreciating your current emotions–whatever they may be.”
10. DO CHARITY WORK
Heading out to the soup kitchen or volunteering at a local school does more than benefit others. Volunteer work actually increases happiness more than paid employment.
11. HAVE A FULFILLING JOB
Sometimes your job can make you feel miserable. But, happier people find work that draws on their strengths and connects them to greater, meaningful purpose. Aiken advised, “Working more than 11 hours a day increases depression, as does night shift work and long daily commutes.”
12. HAVE MEANINGFUL FRIENDSHIPS
We constantly absorb good feelings and vibes from our friends and family. A good mix of family and friendsraises happiness. “Although online relationships are better than nothing, face to face contact is important,” Aiken explained. “The brain responds biologically to supportive faces more than emails or texts.”