How to be Happy? Here Are Some Recommendations
Increasing happiness may appear to be a difficult endeavour, yet a simple activity can have a significant impact on our mood. It's not always easy to figure out what makes us happy, especially if we haven’t been feeling good for a long time. Hence, we might benefit from trying these science-backed techniques to increase our happiness, whether in search of a quick boost of mood or hope to establish positive habits.
Here are a few recommendations:
1. Ensure that the basic needs are met
Factors like sleep and food have a direct impact on our mood. Hence, we must be well-fed and well-rested to provide our brain with the foundation it requires to feel happy. Having enough sleep, consuming a well-balanced meal, and drinking the required amount of water could aid in boosting our mood, especially when we are feeling down or irritable.
2. Be creative
Art can be used to express and process feelings, or it can simply be an enjoyable hobby that offers pleasure. Depression symptoms may be alleviated by engaging in creative pursuits. Doing something creative might make us feel accomplished and improve our self-esteem. Creative activities such as digital art, writing fiction, poetry, or music, dancing, creating photo collages, colouring or sketching, embroidery, crocheting, or knitting, beadwork, baking, cooking, gardening, or playing an instrument can help lift our mood, and it's perfectly fine if the end result isn't a masterpiece.
3. Begin a gratitude routine
Taking time to think about happy memories, wonderful things that happened during the day, or individuals we admire can help us feel better. When we feel sad, remembering wonderful memories might help us put things in perspective, reminding us that good times do exist and that our bad mood wouldn't last forever. Writing down things we’re grateful for on a regular basis is one of the techniques to foster gratitude. This can be accomplished in as little as 5 minutes per day.
Researchers found that composing a daily appreciation list for 14 days increased positive emotions and boosted feelings of contentment in a 2019 clinical research of 1,337 participants. In a 2021 review, researchers discovered that individuals who experience more gratitude had lower levels of depression, and proposed that more research into how gratitude can help with depression should take place.
Hence, the practice to write down our blessings and trying to say them aloud could greatly improve our happiness.
4. Try keeping a journal
Journaling is a simple way to improve our mood with only a pen and paper. Expressive writing, according to a 2018 study, has both emotional and physical health benefits. Journaling has numerous mental health advantages. It can assist in expressing our sentiments, processing our emotions, and thinking through a challenging issue. It can also help us become more self-aware and figure out what our values are and what's important to us.
5. Go for a walk in the woods
Spending time in nature can help us feel happier and less stressed. Researchers discovered that rates of depression and anxiety were higher during the COVID-19 pandemic than during pre-pandemic eras in a 2022 study. People who spent more time in green space, on the other hand, had much lower levels of anxiety and depression than those who spent less time in nature. Experts recommend that we spend at least 120 minutes each week in nature. If that isn't possible, even a few minutes may be beneficial.
Hiking in the woods is wonderful, but for someone who prefers to stay indoors, the following could be considered:
- Spending a day with our loved ones at the beach or in the woods.
- Eating outside, once in a while, in restaurants or at home.
- Starting our day with a cup of coffee in our garden, balcony, or a nearby park.
- Taking a 15-minute break amidst our busy routine and visiting a park.
- Taking our dog for a walk in a close-to-nature space.
- Listening to guided walking meditation while going for a walk.
6. Get some fresh air
Sunlight is linked to a variety of mental and bodily benefits. It helps to regulate the body's circadian rhythm, telling our body when to sleep and when to wake up. This has an impact on our mood. Vitamin D production is stimulated by sunlight, which many of us lack. Vitamin D insufficiency has been linked to depression in several studies, including a 2018 review.
7. Listen to music that brings joy
Listening to music might help us relax and unwind. Upbeat music, particularly music associated with a happy memory, may bring a grin to our faces.
Consider these suggestions:
- Listening to pop songs from the last few years. It's possible that nostalgia will make us feel better.
- Listening to the music from our favourite films or video games.
- Making a "happy playlist" for when we next need a pick-me-up.
Exercise could be beneficial to our mental health. Feel-good hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins are released when we exercise. Even light exercise, according to a 2017 study, can aid with depressive symptoms. For someone who despises working out, consider getting some exercise through alternate ways like going on a stroll with the dog, doing some jumping jacks during lunch break, or doing yoga. Finding an activity that makes us happy and motivates us to keep doing what we’re doing could be beneficial. For some people, exercises such as team sports, dancing, rock climbing or bouldering, jumping on a trampoline, or bike rides could be enjoyable and engaging.
There's a reason meditation has such a favourable reputation. Meditation and mindfulness may improve our mood in the long run as well as in the short term. Researchers in Hong Kong discovered that individuals who exercised mindfulness were more likely to experience happy life situations and be appreciative for them in a study done in 2021. This included experiencing joy when anticipating events, recalling joyful memories, and making the most of good times. Meditation may have a favourable effect on the brain, boosting focus and lowering stress levels. For someone who have attempted meditation before and found it difficult, consider finding a new style of meditation.
10. Become a member of a support group
Support groups, whether online or in person, can be a great opportunity to interact with others who have gone through similar situations. Support groups can provide us with comfort while also assisting us in helping ourselves. Local support groups can be found by searching Google, using social media, or asking a local church, community centre, or doctor's office.
Talk therapy can help us gain a better understanding of ourselves, address potentially harmful patterns of behaviour and thought, and process difficult experiences. To put it another way, it's a smart method to improve our mental health and happiness over time. To go to therapy, we don't need to be suffering from a mental condition. Therapy is beneficial to almost anybody. For someone having trouble feeling happy or fulfilled, or if one’s constantly upset, anxious, or overwhelmed, it's time to see a therapist.