- Drink more water
One of the simplest and most effective ways to build a happier life is to drink plenty of water. Drinking half your body weight (in ounces) per day has been shown to increase levels of energy and positive emotions. (Example: If you weigh 200 pounds, drink 100 ounces of water)
- Get more sleep
Getting a full night’s sleep really does improve your overall life satisfaction. Good sleep is critical for your health. A good night’s sleep consists of four to five sleep cycles. Each cycle includes deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. As the night goes on, the portion of each cycle that is in REM sleep increases. This pattern of cycling and progression is crucial for getting quality restorative sleep. If you do not get enough sleep, or if this sleep is interrupted, it can disrupt this critical cycle, therefore diminishing the hormones released during sleep that help repair cells and control the body’s use of energy. Although personal needs vary, most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
Adding more movement in your life will do wonders for your happiness. Exercising regularly doesn’t just improve your physical well-being; it improves your mental well-being as well. Taking just three 20-minute walks a week can have a dramatic effect. Exercise has been proven to significantly reduce stress and improve depression more than prescription medicine. There are so many benefits to exercising, such as burning calories, increased blood flow, increased good cholesterol, muscle stimulation (use it or lose it), lower stress, lower blood pressure, flushing out blood sugars, and strengthening your heart.
- Decrease your stress
Stress is our body’s natural survival response. We need it to keep us alive when we experience a life threatening event, but if this fight-or-flight response is sustained over long periods of time it becomes harmful to our health. Stress can cause health issues such as high blood pressure, chest pain, fatigue, upset stomach, sleep problems, headaches, muscle tension, decreased ability to focus, tinnitus, and even a weakened immune system. It can even worsen existing health problems. Unfortunately, many of us control stress by using external crutches like junk food, tobacco, alcohol, and even drugs, eventually leading to more health issues. Control your stress by setting limits, focusing on the positive, not expecting perfection, eating healthy, spending time with friends, reducing your intake of sugar and caffeine, and meditating. Research has shown that regularly practicing meditation increases daily experiences of positive emotions. Try practicing deep breathing; taking shallow breaths causes insufficient oxygen intake and creates more stress. Try taking deep, full breaths, hold for a count of eight, and then slowly let out the breath. A significant reason why meditation helps so much is that it forces the person to release negative thoughts, stay present in the moment, and control his or her breathing. If you have trouble on your own, there are plenty of meditation apps you can download to your digital device.
- Be more positive
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania discovered that using at least three positive phrases per day and showing gratitude builds happiness and satisfaction in over two thirds of adults. Negative emotional states can lead to abuse of the body through smoking, over-drinking alcohol, and overeating. These types of coping behaviors lead to missed days of work, and contribute directly to the severity of other costly conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Making small changes like getting a massage, practicing meditation, making room for down time, cultivating personal relationships, building a spiritual connection, and seeking counseling can make a huge difference in your overall health. Consider expressing your thoughts in positive ways to others. You will make them feel good and boost your wellbeing.
- Develop hobbies
Recent studies have found that people who value their hobbies as much as or more than their jobs report higher levels of happiness. This suggests that if you spend less energy on making money and more on building hobbies, you’ll have a more positive outlook on life.
- Be selfless
Studies have also shown that, on average, 78 percent of people who spend time and money helping others actually promote their own happiness. This may be due to the fact that recipients of the spending show gratitude. Givers also experience feelings of altruism, which contributes to happiness. When you help others, you feel good about yourself.
- Unplugging from social media
Finally, taking a break from social media can make you happier. A recent study showed that 45 percent of people who were not able to access their social networks or email felt worried or uncomfortable, but deliberately taking breaks from these digital platforms generally boosted feelings of calmness and happiness in the long term. By taking time away from social media every day, you can avoid comparing your life to the embellished highlights of others, and lower your social anxiety when communicating face to face, which will help you feel happier.
There’s no quick fix to becoming a happier person, but by adopting a few of these daily habits, you can be well on your way to a happier, healthier life.
Sleep Safe Drivers
Center for Disease Control