According to recent research, we’re at our happiest when we reach our 60s and 70s. When not feeling at our best, it’s easy to believe that the solution lies in making an expensive purchase or booking a holiday to a far-flung destination. However, according to experts, you can actually improve your happiness by adopting a series of small changes into your daily life.
Seven Small Ways to Boost Happiness
1) Immerse yourself in nature. According to a study published in Social Science and Medicine, surrounding yourself with nature can serve to improve your health and your happiness. The research, which featured 4,529 participants, found that those living closer to nature were less stressed and suffered less health complaints. If you don’t live near the countryside, try to find some green space within your town.
2) Chat to a friend. A 72 year study, focusing on 268 men, found that maintaining friendships was vital when it came to being happy. George Valiant, the director of the research, when asked what his conclusions were, said: ‘The only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.’
3) Get active. The health benefits of regular exercise are well-known. Staying active can help lower risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, whilst helping you to maintain a healthy weight. However, evidence also suggests that exercising each day can help reduce stress, making you feel more self-confident and boosting your happiness too.
4) Do something for someone else. It seems somewhat counterintuitive to say you’ll feel happier when you focus on making someone else happy instead. However, research published in the Journal of Happiness Studies demonstrated precisely this. It asked participants to think about making a purchase for themselves, then to think about buying something for someone else. Unsurprisingly, participants felt much happier when thinking about the latter.
5) Be grateful. A further article from the Journal of Happiness Studies indicates that feeling gratitude each day can help promote wellbeing. In the research, participants were asked to write ‘gratitude letters’ over the course of three weeks. This was shown to improve happiness whilst also reducing feelings of depression. Try writing your own letter of gratitude each day, and see whether you notice the difference!
6) Be in touch with yourself. Each day, take the time to sit quietly and reconnect with yourself. Meditation is an excellent way of achieving this. Indeed, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital observed the effects of meditation by taking brain scans. This clearly demonstrated that, after meditation, the sections of the brain linked to compassion and self-awareness grew, whilst those associated with stress shrank.
7) Stay challenged. The human brain is naturally designed to learn. Keeping your brain active can boost mood, and learning a new hobby or language can provide a sense of achievement, which in turn, boosts mood.
Enjoy Your Positivity
Remember, numerous studies have shown that as we grow older, we’re more likely to be happy. Experts still aren’t exactly sure why this happens, but believe that, as we age, we become better at finding situations that improve our mood. We’re also more able to let go of disappointment and focus on the positives instead.
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