Happiness is perhaps the most sought after thing in our society. Above money and even physical health concerns most people will often name happiness as their #1 goal in life as well as their #1 goal for their children.
However in our 24/7 crazy non-stop lives our commitment to the things that will help ensure our happiness often get left behind. In turn, we sometimes even lose sight of what actually does make us happy and start thinking that making more money or owning a bigger house will do the job. This misleading thought process only leads us further away from happiness and in some cases can push us towards things like depression and related problems.
However, obtaining happiness isn’t that difficult or that hard to maintain. We just have to commit to doing certain things for ourselves in our lives and never lose sight of that. Now I know if you’re feeling down or even depressed right now you’re probably thinking, “yeah right Amanda, F**k off you don’t know how it feels!” But guess what, I do know how you feel. I have suffered from recurring depression, on and off for quite a few years,
My life today is better thanks to a few things, but I believe a large part is due to some of the changes I have made. I refused to try a lot of suggestions for many years and then out of desperation I started and was amazed that I started feeling better. Now, when I read about experts suggesting these ideas to people I really want to help spread the word and, of course, throw in my two cents.
So here we go, I’m going to list 12 scientifically proven ways that will make you feel better and happier:
12 Keys to Happiness:
1. Start a gratitude journal. Write about something that you are grateful for every day. Anything will do, it will get much easier as you keep doing it, plus this really works. At the beginning or on off days even the smallest thing is enough.
2. Sign up to do some volunteer work. Then of course, you have to show up and actually fulfill your commitment. Pick something in an area that interests you or an area that used to interest you if you have trouble feeling any interest right now. Your time commitment can be minimal to start but aim for a weekly shift.
3. Get some physical activity. Anything is better than nothing. Somehow get up and do something for at least 10 minutes a day to start. Gradually increase the time weekly until you’re managing approximately 20-30 minutes a day. Walking works well as long as you’re walking tall and strong, not shuffling along.
4. Perform an act of kindness. Preferably we should all aim to do this every day. It is amazing how much doing this helps you. Even the smallest act of kindness for someone else counts. Also, the best thing about this is that the benefits are accumulative! Again it can be something simple such as holding a door open a few extra seconds so that a Mother with a stroller and catch up and enter the store easier.
5. Have a pet. Having a pet, preferably a dog or cat and interacting with them, playing with them, etc. provides a much-needed sense of companionship as well as positive brain wave activity. If having your own pet isn’t possible try to arrange to spend some time with a friend’s or neighbor’s pet.
6. Find a way to laugh daily. Hang out with a funny friend or watch something on TV that makes you laugh or even read something amusing. Whatever tickles your funny bone is a bonus to your happiness. Make it an actual daily goal to have your “funny/laugh” break. Maybe at first you won’t be laughing but that’s okay, keep it up and the positivity will work its magic.
7. Start learning to meditate. If you don’t meditate already start learning how by video, tape or book. Let me reassure you however that it does take some people a long time to get the hang of it, but it is well worth the effort for your health and happiness in many ways.
8. Listen to soothing, or happy music daily. Music just has a wonderful way of overcoming negative thinking patterns and opening up our thoughts to more positive brain waves. Also of course if it gets you dancing around a little, it’s a bonus.
9. Sleep. I know that it seems that there is a story every day recently about how important getting enough sleep is to our overall health, but it’s true. Sleep is especially important to our mental and emotional health so if you’re having trouble getting enough sleep at night try having a short nap during the day. Also, you will probably find that once you are getting some regular activity every day and starting to meditate your sleep improves.
10. Spend some time with nature. Once again, we should all try to do this one daily. Just getting outside and being around Mother Nature or as close to Mother Nature as you can get has an excellent effect on your entire system and helps boost happiness.
11. Vacation. Somehow, someway find a way to take a vacation from your usual daily job/ life. The old saying “A change is as good as a holiday” has some merit. Nothing beats a break to give us a fresh set of eyes on our lives, and it’s problems, which, of course, is often the key to making changes towards happiness.
12. Practice daily spiritual guidance. I don’t care whether your beliefs are those from a religion or you just have your version of faith in a higher power or universal goodness, etc. Either way, I hope that whatever you believe has a fundamental message of goodness and hope and that you can connect to that and follow it on a daily basis.
There you have it, 12 things that are proven to help enhance your life and your sense of well-being. If you practice these points, you are guaranteed to feel better and have a much more positive outlook on life.
So what do you have to lose? Give them a try and let me know how they work for you. I look forward to hearing about your experiences.
Sending you happiness…..
The following was beneficial in the writing of this post and also supplied the scientific references: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/07/boost-happiness_n_4532848.html. written by Carolyn Gregoire