With millions of people constantly on the lookout for the pure and unadulterated emotion believed to only exist within the hearts of carefree and innocent children, it can be easy to look for happiness in all the wrong places.
According to neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson, deep within all of us, whether young or old, is a “happiness muscle.” He explained how happiness is something we can train our minds to have, just like when we hit the gym and train rigorously to pump our muscles. This is supported by related studies which prove that the human brain is very much trainable. Ideas, habits and practices that are geared toward finding and keeping happiness can help people achieve deep satisfaction and live fuller lives.
Research methods may vary, but all of them mean one thing: Happiness is not a brand new car, and it isn’t certainly isn’t getting ahead at work. There is no need to search far and wide for happiness, because it is a seed that is just waiting to be cultivated within the heart of each individual who seeks it.
Only you have the power to turn on your happiness button. Here are some ways to be happy today:
Soak up some sunlight: To kick off your day with a great start, take a walk outside in the morning. Even on a cloudy day, the outside light is incredibly better than your indoor lights. As your eyes receive natural sunlight, they immediately send signals to your brain, which then boosts the production of serotonin, aka “the happy hormone.” Serotonin keeps your anxiety levels down, regulates your mood and boosts your sexuality and appetite. You only need to literally open your eyes.
Indulge in a childhood favorite: There is always something from your childhood that gives you a warm feeling all over. Is it the smell of apple cinnamon cookies wafting through your home? Is it skipping rocks on the river during lazy afternoons? Is it homemade jam? Bringing back these favorite things as an adult will make you feel just as carefree and happy again as if you were a kid.
Contact an old friend: Friends are indispensable parts of our lives. We lose touch, but we will always feel happy about the times we spent with a special person. Revisiting happy old days and catching up with an old friend can help you boost your morale and allow you to find more meaning in your life. Relationships and experiences are a major factor behind a person’s sense of well-being.
Do something different: A unique spike in your daily life can add an instant splash of color and excitement. If you always take the train, try the bus today. If all your work clothes are neutrals, try pastels or bolder hues. Talk to a stranger; verbalize an idea at the board meeting; cook something you have never tried before. It’s not about becoming successful or finding positive results (although those would be great additions). Being proud of yourself for trying something new is a great happiness booster.
Be thankful: If your mindset is “I could be happy if…”, then it’s about time that you changed it to “I will be happy because…”. When tempted with feelings of disappointment, jealousy and frustration of what you don’t have, close your eyes and think about what you are thankful for, big or small. A grateful outlook in life allows you to change your perspective and appreciate what you do have without constantly wishing away your life.
Skinny Mom Favorite: “No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change.” - Barbara de A