Top 10 Proven Happiness Hacks That Will Improve Your Life: Happiness can have many different meanings, depending on who you talk to. Each person has their own vision of happiness and what it means to be happy. We tend to define happiness as subjective well-being (self-perceived) that someone feels, divided into two basic aspects: how satisfied we are with our own lives and the amount of positive or negative emotions that we feel.
1. Be present
Although it may surprise you, attention is a key factor in our happiness – think about it. Being present, connecting to the people around you, being in the moment, it’s all part of being happy and it’s all connected to attention…and it’s all a little difficult at times. In a famous study conducted by Killingsworts & Gilbert, they saw that people spent 47% of their time wondering, which caused them to be unhappy. Another study looked at how hard it is for us to be alone with ourselves and our thoughts, because most people prefer to be with their phone or talking to someone than they want to sit without doing anything.
2. Having a positive attitude
This is understood as looking on the bright side, or seeing the good in others. In studies with depressed and healthy patients, we have seen that the activation pattern before positive stimuli is the same in both groups at first, but the depressed group lose this activation and lose enjoyment. From this and other studies, we can conclude that psychological well-being doesn’t depend solely on external circumstances. The good news is that having a positive attitude is something that we can develop by reinforcing the neural circuits that are implied in happiness.
Balance is all about having a consistency within yourself that promotes peace and psychological balance. This inner stability helps one to retain their important beliefs and values over a prolonged period of time if not forever. Balance is about feeling content and calm with different aspects of your life and not feel like one or the other side of you is taking over.
4. Relationship with yourself
Your relationship with yourself ties in quite heavily with your self-esteem. The way you view yourself reflects on the actions that you make and the actions that you make perpetuate that image about yourself that you have. It’s a cycle and it is up to you whether it’s a positive or a negative one.
Sleep is very and highly important to our physical health. It lets our body relax and repair. It heals and repairs our heart and blood vessels and if we don’t get enough sleep, we might be in a risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and a long list of other problems.
6. Get a pet
Coming home to a tail wagging dog after a stressful day can actually lower your cortisol levels. Cortisol is your stress hormone and elevated levels of cortisol can increase risk of depression as well as other mental illnesses that can affect your happiness adversely. This is not restricted to only dogs, research indicates that interacting with animals in general can reduce cortisol levels and elevate oxytocin, the happiness hormone.
7. Get active
If you don’t exercise regularly, then start doing so as it has been proven that your happiness can be improved with just 25 minutes of regular exercise. Your mood is instantly improved with the release of the feel good hormones serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. You also become more resilient to stress when you exercise regularly. Stress has a huge impact on happiness. Research has proven that exercise works for treating depression, as well as preventing it. One study has found that individuals who exercise are happier because they feel better about their bodies.
8. Master a new skill
A study has shown that learning a new skill increases long term happiness even though decreasing in the moment happiness due to the stress involved. Study participants engaged in activities that connected them with others, increased competency, or met their need for autonomy. They experienced a decrease of in the moment happiness but experienced an increase of happiness on an hourly and daily basis.
9. Give your cellphone a break
Excessive use of cellphones and other electronic devices can reduce our happiness. When 500 students were surveyed by researchers, it was found that the higher their cellphone use, the less happy they were. They also had lower grades and were more anxious.
10. Spend time in nature
Getting out into nature can give an immediate happiness boost. Study participants installed a smartphone app on their phones which would ask them how they were feeling at random times throughout the day. The app also registered GPS coordinates at the time of the question. Even after taking factors into account such as weather or what the participants were doing, being outside in a natural environment was the biggest predictor of happiness.