I know what mine is; Time.
But does it really have to be so time-consuming to do activities that lead to well-being? Fortunately the answer is “no”.
Keep on reading and I will tell you how to get happier in less than one hour.
Oh, and by the way. These activities I will tell you about have all been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and depression.
OK here we go.
Gratefulness (5 minutes)
“Gratitude is many things to many people. It is wonder; it is appreciation; it is looking on the bright side of a setback; it is fathoming abundance; it is thanking someone in your life; it is thanking God; it is ‘counting blessings.’ It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is coping; it is present-oriented.”
Sonja Lyubomirsky’s The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want
Let’s start easy.
Being grateful is something anyone can practice, it does not cost anything and it sure is not exhausting.
However it is neither something we usually do enough.
In Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book she demonstrates that expressing gratitude makes us happier, more hopeful and more energetic. It also allows us to feel positive emotions more frequently and reduces negative feelings like depression and envy.
A good way to practice gratefulness is to think about what you are grateful for just before falling asleep. Take 2 minutes while you lay there in your bed and just allow yourself to think about all the good things you have in your life.
Another good exercise is to list three things that you are grateful for. If you come up with more than three things just type them down as well and be happy that you have so much to be thankful for.
If I for some reason haven’t been able to convince you to practice gratefulness then I really recommend you to watch David Steindl’s Ted Talk.
Work out (15 minutes)
If you are already working out or if you have done it regularly before you are well aware of the wonderful feeling you experience afterwards. What is that feeling exactly? And can it be trusted or is it just an illusion?
That feeling is two things combined. First of all the satisfaction of accomplishment. Basically the same feeling you get whenever you have done something that took some kind of effort.
But it is not all in your mind. Things happen inside your body when working out as well. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins.
Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric”. That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.
Even if that feeling would not be motivation enough. The Copenhagen City heart Study reported that “Mortality is lower in people reporting moderate jogging, than in non-joggers or those undertaking extreme levels of exercise”.
The study actually showed that shorter runs more often did not only get the same results as longer runs, but better.
So here is my advice. Pause the article right here. Go for a slow 15 min run and then come back and keep reading.
The one thing I can in fact promise you is that you won’t regret it afterwards.
Meditation (10 minutes)
First of all I’m not religious.
However, meditation is not just about achieving a greater state. The truth is that meditation has actually been supported by science to be healthy.
In many ways our brain is like a computer. When we meditate the brain processes less information. Much like your computer would if you went from having Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube running all at once, to shutting it all down and put it in sleep mode.
How to Meditate:
Sit yourself in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Then try to relax and focus all your attention on one single thing or phenomenon. It could be your breathing, a sensation in your body or a particular object outside of you.
As your mind wanders off to think about something else, gently direct it back to whatever you are focusing on.
The key is to acknowledge nothing ,but what you are focusing on.
If you want more information on different ways to meditate Bufferapp posted an exceptional infographic about meditation on their blog. Go check it out.
Surprise someone you like (25 minutes)
There are several layers in this point. First of all, spending time with the people in our surroundings is for most of us one of the most accessible happy generators. On the other hand to many it is one of the most underestimated happy generating activities.
Some might be quite surprised what science says about the effect spending time with our loved ones has.
For example, a study that was published in Journal of Socio-Economics explained that in terms of life satisfaction, our relationships with the people we care about is worth more than $100 000. On the other hand the same study showed that money had in fact a rather marginal effect on our happiness.
So why surprise someone then?
If spending time with our loved ones has such effect already, why the fuss about a surprise?
The fact is that doing something for someone else actually has a bigger effect on our happiness than doing something for yourself. This was also proven in a study published in The Journal of Happiness Studies.
“Participants recalled a previous purchase made for either themselves or someone else and then reported their happiness. Afterward, participants chose whether to spend a monetary windfall on themselves or someone else. Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happier immediately after this recollection; most importantly, the happier participants felt, the more likely they were to choose to spend a windfall on someone else in the near future.”
Author: Joachim Wernersson. Do you want to learn more about what you can do to be happier? Then visit our website at http://www.happ.ee
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