Would you like to be happier? What if learning just a few small, scientifically proven habits could dramatically improve your mental health and increase your happiness.
Would you take the time to create these habits?
Believe it or not, you can learn to be happier. You can be happier by just taking small steps. Learning to be happier can make your mental health, social life, family life, your work, and even your finances better.
What do juggling, reading, and happiness have to do with each other? They are all skills you can learn that with practice can be improved.
As odd as it may sound, you can learn to become happier and mentally healthier. it takes effort and practice. You have to be intentional with your actions. And you will likely need to repeat them routinely to get the most bang for your happiness buck.
Taking a few moments each day to express gratitude is one of the simplest ways to increase your mental health and happiness.
The best part is, building happiness through gratitude doesn’t require much extra effort. It can be as simple as taking time to write down or speak aloud 5 things you are grateful for.
You can be grateful for little occurrences or big events. You can find gratitude by looking into your past, present, or future.
Gratitude Journals Can Increase Your Physical And Mental Health
A study on gratitude from the University Of California Davis was done with three groups of participants.
One group of participants to routinely write down things they were grateful for during the week.
A second group wrote about things that caused them aggravation. And a third group was free to write about whatever they wished.
After 10 weeks the group writing about gratitude had fewer visits to the doctor, exercised more, and generally had a happier outlook on life.
Random acts of kindness are another great activity to increase your level of happiness. Research has found your level of happiness increases with the more acts of kindness you do.
Kindness creates chemical reactions in your brain and body that increase happiness and lead to a more positive mood.
Acts of kindness release dopamine and serotonin. These are chemicals in the brain that make us feel good. Being kind to others also reduces cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is released during stress.
Kindness can also make changes to our physical health. Acts of kindness may help to decrease inflammation, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and believe it or not may help you lose weight.
As social creatures, having strong relationships and social ties is a great way to increase our physical health, mental health, and happiness.
Low levels of socialization and connection are associated with mental health and physical issues including:
Depression-Even lacking socialization for one day can lead to depression
Struggles with self-esteem-Continuous periods of isolation can cover issues with body image and self-esteem
Mental decline-Increased risk of mental decline and Alzheimer’s
Cancer-Week social ties can increase your risk of cancer
Heart disease -Loneliness can increase your risk of heart disease by 29% and stroke by 32%
Conversation can be a wonderful way to boost happiness. Even a simple conversation with an acquaintance can lift your mood significantly.
Need a bigger boost? Deep and meaningful conversations with good friends has a bigger impact on happiness levels then superficial conversations with acquaintances.
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, finding someone to chat with is a good way to make yourself happier.
Getting in eight servings of fruits and veggies will not only make you physically healthier, but it can also make you significantly happier and mentally healthier.
A two-year study in Australia reported those who get 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day had an increase in their happiness levels. The increase in happiness was roughly equivalent to the increase researchers expect to see when someone goes from being unemployed to having a job.
For those of us who typically don’t put a fruit or veggie on their plate at mealtime ramping up to 8 fruits and vegetables per day can be quite the culinary challenge.
However, even going from zero fruits and vegetables to two servings a day led to a happiness increase of 25% of the amount of happiness compared to those who manage to do all eight.
In short, every increase in veggies and fruits you enjoy on a regular basis leads to an increase in happiness.
The happiness scale can tip the other way as well. Saying no to fruits and vegetables completely sends your happiness in the wrong direction. It causes you to experience a drop in happiness equivalent to losing your job or being unemployed.
Happiness isn’t just about what you eat. Reducing the amount of salt or sugar you eat in a day can help you create a happier you.
A cognitive distortion is a fancy way of saying your brain is playing tricks on you to make you believe something that is not true.
We often tell ourselves we should do something, and we don’t define a reasonable path for success with what we are hoping to accomplish.
For example, you tell yourself, “I should eat healthier. You go from eating fast food four times a week to just one time a week. But, you still beat yourself up for the one trip to the drive-through.
In reality, you made a big change.
You didn’t leave yourself any wiggle room or define what success looks like when it comes to eating healthier.
Anything short of perfection is going to mean you failed.
Even though you went from getting fast food a handful of times a week to just once, you still beat yourself up mentally.
To set yourself up for success, it’s best to set clear and reasonable expectations.
If you’re hoping to eat healthier tell yourself, “I’m only going to eat fast food two times this week.”
This goal clearly defines what you need to do. It also gives you a fair chance to be successful.
You can make choices about your activities, day, and routines that can absolutely make you happier.
- Keeping relationships strong and active or expanding your social circle has been proven to increase happiness.
- An attitude of gratitude is an attitude that can lead to a happier life. Simply taking some time every morning or evening to write down or recite what you are grateful for could help to focus your mind on the good aspects of life and keep you from focusing on the negative.
- Kindness and doing good deeds for others is one of the best ways to level up your happiness. Not to mention, good deeds make others feel good too.
- An apple a day not only keeps the doctor away, but the more fruits and vegetables you get into your diet the happier you will be. The mood boost from fruits and vegetables reinforces the tie between proper physical health and good mental health. Eating more fruits and vegetables can boost your mood in much the same way as going from being unemployed to having a job.
- Your brain can play tricks on you. The way your mind perceives something may not actually be reality. Your mind may be setting you up for failure as a result of your thinking.