If you ask people what is the purpose of life, what is the one thing they strive to achieve in life, the majority of them will probably respond with one thing:
“To be happy.”
Happiness is the most important desire people have, something everybody wants in their lives. However, for different individuals, happiness means different things. Some find happiness in hanging out with friends and socializing while others enjoy little pleasures by themselves, such as a warm bath or a good book, more. All in all, everybody wants to achieve this state, and many don’t know how.
Buffer.com has shared a great article, backed by science, on 10 things you can do to increase your happiness. Here they are:
1. Exercise More
Scientific research showed that exercising daily can help you to relax, increase your brain power and even improve your body image, even if you don’t lose any weight. Additionally, it exercise is proven to be an effective tool in battling depression.
2. Sleep more
We know that sleep helps our bodies to recover from the day and repair themselves and that it helps us focus and be more productive. Well, scientists found out it’s also important for our happiness. How well we sleep affects our productivity, as well as our sensitivity to negative emotions.
3. Move closer to work
Research shows that commute to work affects our happiness, even more than having a big house. Seriously! On the other hand, when you think about it, commuting is something we do twice a day, five times a week; it’s no surprise it has such a dramatic negative impact on our happiness.
4. Spend time with friends and family
Staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top five regrets of the dying. But it can also instantly increase your happiness, even if you’re an introvert. Among numerous other studies, The Terman study found that relationships and how we help others were important factors in living long, happy lives.
5. Go outside
Making time to go outside on a nice day can improve your happiness drastically. One study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory.
6. Help others
Helping others actually makes you happier and more satisfied with your life. For example, spending money on other people makes us happier than buying stuff for ourselves. Also, volunteering is another way to make other people lives better, but also to improve your own.
7. Practice smiling
Smiling itself can help us feel better, but it has even more powerful effect when backed up with positive thoughts. Even forcing a smile when we don’t feel like it is enough to lift our mood slightly.
8. Plan a trip
You certainly know that excitement when you think about your future holiday. Well, it turns out that planning your vacation actually makes you feel happier. One study showed that the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks!
Meditation clears your mind, calms you down, and makes you feel more relaxed. But it’s also been often proven to be the single most effective way to live a happier life. We can literally “rewire” our brain for happiness with meditation.
10. Practice gratitude
Expressing gratitude can increase your happiness dramatically. Additionally, you’ll be more satisfied with your life in general.
Take a look at the whole article on this link: http://blog.bufferapp.com/10-scientifically-proven-ways-to-make-yourself-happier
What have you tried today to increase your happiness?
Most of us want to live as long as possible, right? But what are the keys to a long life? Is it not to stress so much? Is it to be positive? Or, is it to stop working too hard and focus on other aspects of your life? All these sound intuitive and reasonable, but the reality might not be what we expect it to be. As it turns out, the keys to a long life might be just the opposite of all mentioned. What?!
Well, a 20-year long Riverside study on the University of California had a mission to discover what is that that predicts someone will live a happy, long life, and came with some surprising results. For instance, people who were most devoted to their jobs lived the longest. Another example – people who were more cheerful and laid-back actually, on average, had shorter lives compared to people less cheerful and humorous. One possible explanation is that people who are laid-back and not continually productive in their job are also laid-back when it comes to their health; maybe too much. They are maybe more careless about their health and have more risky behaviors than responsible, “serious” individuals.
But what does affect the longevity of life then? Dr. Friedman, one of the authors of the study, says:
“Probably our most amazing finding was that personality characteristics and social relations from childhood can predict one’s risk of dying decades later”
The study came to many more interesting findings of keys to a long life, and you can read it all here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110311153541.htm
Being positive and cheerful is a great thing, as long as you stay responsible to your health. So eat that apple and smile!
Look around you. Do you see any plants or greens? If yes, pay attention to it for a moment, and then reflect on how you feel. If no, well, think about putting some greens in your surrounding. Scientists proved that doing so can help you feel better. For real!
Studies have shown that being surrounded by nature improves our well being. As a matter of fact, plants can have such a powerful impact on us that horticulture is now also a therapeutic modality. Horticultural therapy improves cognitive, social, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Additionally, living in a large city without many greens can interfere with your brain performance – lower attention, worse memory and mental exhaustion. However, there’s the good news: studies also showed that just getting glimpses of green areas can improve your brain performance. That means, even if you don’t have a chance to spend some quality time in a park, putting photos of nature as your desktop background can relieve mental exhaustion.
So, what are you waiting for? Go get your plant! If it’s not feasible to have a planter in your office, there are plenty of amazing desktop greens online; consider downloading a few of them.
The search for happiness is the greatest search of all. Numerous philosophers, artists, poets, writers, and creatives tried to answer the greatest question of them all: “What is happiness and how to achieve it?”. We all want to be happy; everything we do in life is directed to that one goal: achieving happiness. But is there a happiness formula that, if you follow it, you’ll finally get to your goal? Well… yes and no.
Seligman’s Happiness Formula
Seligman came up with the idea that happiness is the sum of someone’s genetic capacities, voluntary control, and their circumstances. He emphasizes that person’s circumstances don’t have a significant impact on their happiness. This means that, although it often looks like that we’ll be happier with the new car or more money, it actually doesn’t have a high impact on our happiness in the long run. Seligman doesn’t say this out of the blue: research constantly shows that people have a “baseline of happiness” that stays the same no matter the life circumstances. But does this mean that we cannot have an impact on our happiness? Not exactly. Seligman says that voluntary control over our happiness has the most powerful effect on it. In other words, we can “learn” to be happier.
To achieve greater happiness, positive-psychology advocates “learnt optimism” exercises, such as sitting down each evening and listing things that went well that day; learning to feel grateful for what we have; and practicing random acts of kindness. Seligman also points out that lasting happiness has nothing to do with the hedonistic pleasures – shopping and partying – and more to do with solid values: a sense of community and meaningful work.
On the other hand, there is no specified set of rules that you can follow, as we’re all different. However, these are some ways that can help you be more satisfied and happy with your life.
Do you see a cup half full or half empty? This question can seem trivial, but it actually can tell a lot about the way you see circumstances in life and, possibly, the way you feel most of the time. Research shows that people who see a cup as half full, a.k.a optimists, tend to have higher levels of happiness, perseverance, achievement, and health (Peterson, 2000, p. 47) compared to pessimists. Additionally, there is evidence that optimistic people are more likely to take proactive steps when it comes to their health, while pessimism is somewhat related to health-damaging behaviors. Accordingly, positive attitude is related to higher levels of physical and mental health, increased life expectancy, success at the workplace and better coping strategies.
Although pessimists would say that optimism is the same as denial and oversimplification, and having a positive attitude is dangerous because these individuals will end up disappointed and hurt. However, research has strong evidence against those statements. As a matter of fact, the behavioral patterns of optimists appear to provide models of living for others to learn from. After all, increased life expectancy and health, as well as being successful and happy and making people around us feel the same way is what really matters in the end.
So, if having a positive attitude is so beneficial for happiness, can we somehow incorporate it into our lives? The answer is YES, you definitely can.
Learning Positive Attitude
Becoming optimistic and training yourself to look at the bright side takes work and discipline. If you tend to see things negatively, it will take some time to make optimism a thinking habit. But once you do, you’ll definitely notice the change in the way you feel and act. So, what should you do?
Notice Your Negative Thinking Patterns
Listen to your words and your thoughts. The longer you listen, the more you’ll recognize negative assumptions and conclusions. Catch yourself doing that and try to challenge those negative thoughts. Do you have enough evidence to support those statements? Where you drew that pessimistic conclusion from? Try replacing these negative beliefs with positive, or at least neutral ones.
Give Yourself and Others a Positive Feedback
Give compliments. For some, it’s easier to blame others than to support them, but give it a try. Even if someone has done something poorly, recognize the effort and find something they’ve done well. This applies to you as well. When you accomplish something, maybe you have a tendency to tell yourself something like “oh, that’s nothing special” or “I was just lucky” or “everyone could do it”. This usually happens because you’re afraid that, if you take responsibility for your strengths and good actions, you’ll disappoint others the next time you fail. But this is false; taking a positive feedback is not dangerous, nor is rejecting it the warranty of protection of disappointment. Recognize your irrational beliefs and work on overcoming them.
Give thanks for small things in your life. It’s easy to get swallowed by difficulties of everyday life and forget about everything that make out life easier. But remembering to be grateful will eventually make you happy with what you have instead of being unhappy for what you don’t. Keeping a gratitude journal can be really beneficial, especially in the beginning of your practice.
Becoming optimistic can be really difficult and even feel fake in the beginning, but as time passes by, you’ll get better and better at this. If you’re persistent, you’ll just catch yourself one day naturally implementing positive attitude in your thinking pattern. So hang in there.
Do you feel overwhelmed with work? Are you constantly tired and under stress? Your boss is calling you to ask just one more question about the meeting, you’re checking your e-mails on the evenings and you can’t seem to get that huge workload out of your head? Well, you’re not alone. Many young people feel exactly like this in the 21st century. As a matter of fact, a new study shows that Canadians are feeling lower levels of satisfaction with their work-life balance in comparison with eight years ago. This is the same period in which smartphones and internet became inevitable parts of our everyday lives. Coincidence? Didn’t think so.
But let me ask you one uncomfortable question: until when are you planning to go on like this? Can you imagine yourself in 5 years feeling the same? If your answer is “Oh, hell no!”, then it’s time to reevaluate priorities and make some changes.
What Is a Work-Life Balance and How to Maintain It
Greenhaus (2002) defines work-life balance as “satisfaction and good functioning at work and at home with a minimum of role conflict”. However, expansion of technology brought a pressure for us to be available in any moment of the day. This makes your roles in the workplace and at home hard to strictly separate, creating the conflict between them. In other words, technology is making it difficult for us to unplug and separate work from home. Further, our private life is suffering, and we’re feeling stressed and unhappy. Eventually, it takes a toll on your physical and mental health.
So, how to make the balance? Is there a way to be successful and maintain a fulfilling career while having enough quality time for friends, family, partner, hobbies and yourself? Yes, there is. Forbes published 6 tips for successfully creating the work-life balance that’s right for you:
1.Let go of perfectionism – perfectionism was useful when we were kids, because it helped us stay on top of our obligations and get good grades. However, as you grow up, life becomes much more complicated, and in these circumstances, making everything perfect is often impossible. It’s the habit that works against you; the soon you learn to let it go, the better. This, of course, doesn’t mean to get sloppy and to stop caring about the way you do your job; it just means that you should strive for greatness, but not for perfection.
2. Unplug – Turn off your devices! Every time you jump to respond to that e-mail or the phone call from work while you’re at home, you’re sending the message to your brain that what’s happening at work while you’re not there is extremely important and that something catastrophic can happen if you don’t answer. But that’s irrational belief; if you stop for a second to think about it, you’ll realize it. But every time you decide to turn off your smartphone and make yourself unavailable for the next few hours, you’re sending yourself the message that your well-being and maintaining your relationships are valuable. Eventually, you’ll feel more in control of your time and your life.
3. Exercise and Meditate – Working out and sitting in silence are two incredibly powerful methods of taking control over your thoughts. If your mind is constantly shifting towards your work, practicing mindful meditation can do wonders for training yourself to stay in the moment and enjoy it. Further, exercise is proven to boost your mood; it’s an instant fix against feeling stressed or overwhelmed. If exercise and meditation don’t give you the desired effects that you were after, then don’t hesitate in trying an alternative method. People who are suffering from stress may decide to turn to different types of CBD products from a company such as The Cbdepot Shop (www.thecbdepotshop.com) to help reduce and control their stress.
4. Limit Time-Wasting Activities and People – How many times have you caught yourself endlessly scrolling through social media, and feeling miserable after that? Or you said ‘yes’ to hanging out with people who are drowning your energy? Identify the bad habits you have that are swallowing your quality time and try to eliminate them. Next, make a list of priorities – what are the things you enjoy the most? Then devote your quality time to high-priority people and activities on your list.
5. Change the structure of your life – If there’s something that cuts your precious time, try to reorganize things a little. You don’t have to do everything by yourself; this is the perfect opportunity to soften the grip around the need to control everything and delegate part of your obligations to someone else. This way, you’ll make room for your higher priorities.
6. Start Small. Build From There. – Don’t put too high expectations in front of yourself. Start one thing at a time; and reward yourself for every small step you make toward your goal. Why don’t you start with this list? Trying to accomplish everything at once and create a work-life balance in a short period of time would be impossible, and you would soon end up frustrated and disappointed. So, one step at a time. Moving slowly is completely alright.
Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing great. Take care.