How To Be A Happier Person

January 12, 2020

How To Be A Happier Person

How To Be A Happier Person 

Since 2010 levels of happiness and overall well-being have been decreasing among Americans. In addition, numerous indicators of psychological well-being including depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal ideation have sharply increased. The decline in levels of happiness and mental health at first glance seems paradoxical. Right? Americans really "should" be happier now more than ever. The standard of living has increased, income per capita has been growing steadily, and technology is now more advanced than ever. In this article, we are going to answer the ever so important question" "how can I be a happier person?" 

Meditation/Visualization 

Meditation can help you be a happier person

Barbara Fredrickson who is a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill discussed in one of her many remarkable papers that people who meditate daily display more positive emotions (joy, love, excitement, etc.) than those who do not. For example, three months after the experiment was over she concluded: "Those who meditated on a regular basis continued to display an increase in mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and also a decrease in illness symptoms."

In another similar meditation study, Compuware Corporation, a large software and information technology company located in Detroit, Michigan, offered its employees six 60-minute group meditation sessions over a seven-week period. Participants were asked to meditate at least five times per week for 15-20 minutes. In comparison to the control group: 

Results showed that this meditation practice produced increases over time in daily experiences of positive emotions, which, in turn, produced increases in a wide range of personal resources (e.g., increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, decreased illness symptoms). In turn, these increments in personal resources predicted increased life satisfaction and reduced depressive symptoms.

Expressing Gratitude Is Linked To Increased Levels of Happiness

Expressing Gratitude In Linked To Increased Levels of Happiness

Gratitude and happiness are intrinsically linked. In positive psychology research, expressing gratitude on a regular basis is consistently associated with greater levels of happiness and life satisfaction. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, reminisce about positive experiences more often, improve their health, deal with adversity better and more effectively than those who do not, and build strong, lasting relationships. 

Gratitude is simply a way to appreciate what you have, love who you are, and accept the fact that you are incredibly blessed and in a wonderful position. Expressing gratitude does not mean that you are satisfied with what you have or that you cannot be ambitious and desire more. It simply means you acknowledge and appreciate who you are, what you have at this present moment in time, and appreciate all that you have today and are thankful for what you will be receiving tomorrow and in the future. If you want to be a happier person, expressing gratitude and appreciating more of what you have at this present moment is a wonderful place to start and can have an immediate and powerful impact on you psychologically. 

Exercise Can Help You Be A Happier Person

How To Be A Happier Person

Exercise has many physical benefits but perhaps even more psychological ones. When the body exerts itself it releases endorphins, which can be thought of as the "happy chemical." Exercising also causes the body to release chemicals in the immune system that lead to more positive feelings as well. Additionally, when your body temperature rises that actually promotes a sense of well-being and relaxation. Exercising on a regular basis will not just help you look physically better, but emotionally and mentally you will begin to feel amazing as well.

Eat Healthier Foods

Eat Healthier Foods and that is one way how you can be a happier person

As reported in our "10 Amazing Natural Stress Relief Tips" blog, new and compelling research continues to find links between diet and mental health. As reported in The Lancet Psychiatry, "Evidence is steadily growing for the relation between dietary quality and mental health, and the select use of nutrient-based supplements to address deficiencies...We advocate recognition of diet and nutrition as central determinants of both physical and mental health."

A recent study found that participants who went on a Mediterranean-style diet (a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, fish, and grains) and supplemented with fish oil capsules each day led to a reduction in depression. There is also strong evidence that suggests the importance of good nutritional intake begins at an early age. A 2014 systematic review found that a poor diet is linked to poorer mental health in children and adolescents. It is now clear, what we eat and drink not only affects the way we look—our physical health, but also how we think, feel, and act—our mental health. 

Sleep, Happiness, and Depression

How To Be A Happier Person

Research shows that sleeping the recommended 8 hours per night reduces the risk of depression and drastically increases levels of happiness and optimism. A recent study that analyzed data from 100 middle-aged participants in the United States found that a more positive outlook on life was directly associated with improved sleep quality and vice versa. 

If you would like to be a happier person it is important to prioritize sleep and make sure you are getting 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep per night. To help ensure you get a good night's rest turn off all electronics (yes that includes your phone) an hour to two hours before bedtime, dim the lights, and read a good book or something just as relaxing. Additionally, exercising during the day, avoiding caffeine in the late afternoon, and writing down what you have to do tomorrow are also excellent ways to improve sleep quality and duration. 

Foster Forgiveness 

Foster forgiveness if you want to be a happier person

According to a growing body of research holding a grudge and nursing grievances can negatively affect your physical as well as mental health. In a recent study at Hope College, psychologist Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet asked individuals to think about someone who had hurt, mistreated, or offended them. While the participants thought about who had hurt them Charlotte monitored their blood pressure, heart rate, sweat gland activity, and facial muscle tension. As expected, when people recalled a grudge, their physical arousal soared. Their heart rate and blood pressure increased and they even began to sweat. Reminiscing about the individual(s) who had mistreated them made them feel angry, betrayed, anxious, sad, and completely out of sorts. When they began to practice forgiveness, however, their physical arousal began to decrease, they displayed fewer signs of stress including decreased heart rate and blood pressure. 

How To Be A Happier Person Recap

Barbara Fredrickson who is a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill discussed in one of her many remarkable papers that people who meditate daily display more positive emotions (joy, love, excitement, etc.) than those who do not.

Benefits of Meditation

  • Stress and anxiety relief
  • Promotes emotional health
  • Enhances self-awareness
  • Lengthens attention span
  • Can generate kindness

Express Gratitude: It Can Make You A Happier Person

Gratitude and happiness are intrinsically linked. In positive psychology research, expressing gratitude on a regular basis is consistently associated with greater levels of happiness and life satisfaction.  Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, reminisce about positive experiences more often, improve their health, deal with adversity better and more effectively than those who do not, and build strong, lasting relationships. 

Exercising More Often Can Make You A Happier Person

Exercising also causes the body to release chemicals in the immune system that lead to more positive feelings as well. Additionally, when your body temperature rises that actually promotes a sense of well-being and relaxation.

Eat Healthier Foods 

As reported in The Lancet Psychiatry, "Evidence is steadily growing for the relation between dietary quality and mental health, and the select use of nutrient-based supplements to address deficiencies...We advocate recognition of diet and nutrition as central determinants of both physical and mental health."

Get High-Quality Sleep 

Research shows that sleeping the recommended 8 hours per night reduces the risk of depression and drastically increases levels of happiness and optimism.

If You Want To Be A Happier Person Foster Forgiveness 

According to a growing body of research, holding a grudge and nursing grievances can negatively affect your physical as well as mental health. If you want to be a happier person it is incredibly important you begin to foster forgiveness. Thinking negatively and wishing ill-will toward someone is like you drinking poison, hoping that they die—it doesn't work and you end up hurt. 




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