“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” We couldn’t agree more with this quote from the Dalai Lama. Doing things to bring more joy into life, whether it’s our life or the lives of others, can help you achieve greater overall happiness. Less stress and more happiness ultimately leads to a better life and can even help lower your cancer risk—and LOVING YOURSELF is #7 on our list of 7 Ways to Stomp Out Breast Cancer! Christine Carter, Ph.D., author of Raising Happiness, gives us 9 super simple things that can easily bring more joy to each and every day!
CALL A FRIEND
“The best predictor that we have of a person’s happiness is the breadth and the depth of their relationships,” says Carter. Just make sure you’re calling a friend who you genuinely want to catch up with—and not one you feel like you should call. Carter also suggests asking the person what’s going on in their life. While it may seem counterintuitive, “we tend to be a lot happier when we’re thinking about other people,” says Carter.
SAY THANK YOU
Think about all the tings you are grateful for in life, there are so many reasons for you to be happy! Just thinking about these wonderful things can give your happiness a quick boost but expressing your thanks and gratitude for all these amazing things is even better! Let someone know that you appreciate their help at work or call your mom and thank her simply for bringing you onto this earth.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we LOVE nature. Find any excuse to take a step outside and bask in all the glory that is Mother Nature. Breathing in the fresh air , soaking up the sun’s rays, or simply laying in the grass can instantly reduce your stress levels. Carter suggests going for a walk in a green space or near water to get your heart pumping and deepen your breathing, both of which can also help put you in a more positive mindset. If you simply just cannot make it outside, just taking a brief look at a picture of nature can bring a little joy into your life (Hint: this is where all those beautiful screensavers for your computer come in handy).
TAKE A DEEP BREATH
One of Carter’s favorite tricks is to activate the vagus nerve, which can create feelings of wellbeing. The easiest way to do that? Inhale for four seconds, pause for one second, then exhale really deeply for five seconds. Repeat the process 10 times. Who knew that just focusing on something we already do all day long could make us smile a little bigger!
EAT MORE HEALTHY FATS
We won’t complain here! Make sure you’re grubbing on your fair share of omega-3s. That means more avocado, fish, chia seeds, and tons of other nutrient rich foods! Trans fats have been known to cause feelings of aggression and agitation whereas omega-3s can create feelings of calmness and may even help prevent some forms of depression.
CHANGE YOUR OUTLOOK ON STRESS
We’ve come to accept it, stress is a part of life. It’s pretty much impossible to never stress at all, we envy those who don’t stress on a daily basis. But, if you look at stress in a more positive light you can easily boost your mood! “Simply changing your belief and seeing your body’s response to the stress—like rising blood pressure—as something that is helping you can change the biology of your stress.” Translation? Your body won’t freak out by responding negatively to the anxiety—and neither will you.
BREAK A SWEAT
Working out is good for us in every way possible! Go for a jog. Find a yoga class. Take a hike, literally. A little perspiration never hurt anyone and your body and mind will thank you. Even a quick workout can help you relive stress and anger and brighten up your day a bit. Chances are you’ll feel way better about yourself , and maybe you’ll even find a new hobby!
PUT IN YOUR HEADPHONES
No one can complain about some good tunes! It’s pretty obvious that a great song can put you in an equally great mood, it’s just nice to know that scientists believe so too. Blast whatever songs make you happiest, even if they’re embarrassing… We bet you’ll have a hard time not singing and dancing along!
THINK BEYOND JUST PLEASURE
Many people equate happiness with pleasure, says Carter. But if you view joy for what it really is—a wider spectrum of positive emotions—you’ll ultimately feel more satisfied. Why? Pleasure—whether you get it from a new pair of shoes or a promotion at work—activates the reward center in the brain, which leaves you craving more. But it’s also fleeting. Other feelings like contentedness, inspiration, and awe, also make you feel good—in a way that doesn’t set you up for a crash afterward.
Article courtesy of: Women’s Health Magazine