Not only is happiness one of the most positive emotions we can experience, but a cheery disposition has been scientifically linked to better health, a stronger immune system and even living longer. Hurray!
Here’s my SuperZen guide to raising your happiness game, one simple, small step at a time.
- Start with the basics: Look after yourself and treat your body with respect. Eat well, exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, breathe deeply, rest when you need it and get enough sleep.
- Have at least five close relationships: Surveys have found that when someone claims tohas 5 or more friends with whom they can discuss important problems, they are 60 percent more likely to say that they are ‘very happy’.
- Eat a very berry breakfast: Super food berries will boost your health, whilst the fructose content will give you an instant energy boost. My faves are strawberries and raspberries. Delish!
- Take a brisk walk: Exercise fires up your endorphins so get off that couch and get moving!
- Make time to meditate: Just eight weeks of daily meditation can lead to higher levels of happiness according to research. And you needn’t be spending hours at it, just 5-10 minutes a day is enough to make a real difference.
- Get creative with colouring books: Working with your hands is one of the best ways to soothe anxiety and eliminate stress.
- Create a scrapbook of happy memories and read it regularly: Experiences and our memories of them improve over time. By reminding yourself of happy times, they can be re-lived and shared with others for years.
- Embrace flower power: Looking at flowers first thing in the morning has been shown to lead to increased happiness and energy and decreased anxiety.
- Treat yourself little and often: Studies dealing with SWLS (Satisfied With Life Scale), which shows that regular small pleasures had a bigger impact on happiness than fewer larger ones.
- Keep a ‘happiness’ journal: Researchers have found that the simple act of listing just 3 good things that happened that day (no matter how small) increased happiness and decreased depressive symptoms.
- Set yourself some goals: Psychologist Jonathan Freedman claimed that people with the ability to set objectives for themselves—both short-term and long-term—are happier.
- Exercise regularly: exercise is a proven strategy for feeling better, increasing your energy levels, and reducing tension.
- Start a gratitude practice: Recent research showcased that by showing gratitude for someone (or even for what you have) boosted happiness by a noticeable level.
- Don’t compare yourself to others: If your happiness comes from feeling superior to others, you’ll be frustrated a lot of the time. Even if you think you’re doing better than your peers, sooner or later someone will overtake you.
- Spend time outdoors: People who live or spend a lot if their time near green spaces have been shown to have with better mental health.
- Change your computers desktop image: Just looking at images of nature and natural scenes can stimulate the parts of your brain associated with happiness, positivity, and emotional stability.
- Get some sunshine: Soaking up some sunshine helps to boost your levels of Vitamin D and can instantly boost your mood. Just be sure to use sun cream if it’s really hot. Sunburn never made anyone very happy…
- Get some serious shuteye: Research has shown that getting less than four hours sleep a night can have a negative effect on your academic ability, on-the-job performance and levels of optimism.
- Turn on your favourite tunes: Singing along and shaking your thang to your favourite tunes is a sure-fire and science-backed way to instant happiness.
- Spread the happiness vibe: Studies have shown that when one person in a group is happy those positive feelings filter out to the rest of the crowd over time.
- Spend time with the people you love: Positive relationships help us feel less stressed, more at ease and much happier.
- Pack your plate with fruit and vegetables: Happiness and mental well-being levels are highest in people who eat seven portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
- Get your ‘om’ on: Studies have shown that regular yoga practice can alleviate stress and boost your immunity. Scientists even say that yoga may even be better for you than other forms of exercise.
- Stash some cash: Putting money aside for a rainy day has been shown to increase feelings of security, wellbeing, and control.
- Do more of what makes you happy: Whether it’s playing the piano, hiking up a mountain, going horseback riding or simply spending time with your family; figure out what gets your positive feelings flowing and do more of it.
Thanks for reading. Have a healthy, happy day!