While happiness can manifest itself at both expected and unexpected times, those that are feeling unhappy will often find themselves unsure of where to promote feelings of happiness and contentment again. Luckily, quite a bit of research has taken place about this subject and there are a handful of steps that can be taken that could very well lead to a happier and more fulfilling life.
Even just a few minutes of exercise a day remains one of the best options for overcoming depression and improving happiness. Studies show that as little as seven minutes of an elevated heart rate will help the body to begin producing chemicals such as dopamine which are associated with feelings of happiness. In addition to this, maintaining an exercise schedule of at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week is is one of the most important steps for overall physical health.
Humans are spending more time than ever connected to the internet or glued to gadgets such as smartphones and laptop PCs. Research from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden has shown that people who are constantly on their electronic devices have a much higher tendency to report feelings of dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and depression. By spending a few minutes a day completely unplugged, humans can allow their mind to emotionally “reset.”
Taking a Trip
Much like disconnecting from electronics is important, temporarily severing ties from daily stressors is a perfect option for allowing one to come back refreshed and renewed. Whether it is a cross-country road trip to see the sites at Turner Falls, OK, or a weekend trip to a favorite camping spot, disconnecting can provide a new approach to common daily hurdles. These trips are also a great time to disconnect from electronics and the internet to promote family interaction or interaction with a significant other.
One of the first parts of the body that is affected by chronically under-sleeping is the hippocampus. This is the portion of the brain that is used to process comfortable, satisfying, and neutral stimuli. When the hippocampus is undernourished due to improper sleeping patterns, this stimuli is rerouted and not perceived as happy stimuli. Things such as one’s favorite music, a conversation with a loved one, or favorite smells will quickly be interpreted as neutral or negative things.
Giving to Others
The Journal of Happiness Studies has shown that there is the perfect amount of hours per year to aim for when it comes to helping others: 100. Those that devoted 100 hours of their time to helping others reported that their lives were much happier, more fulfilling, and even physically healthier. Donating one’s time does not necessarily mean heading into a local soup kitchen, even though that is a great place to start. Even small steps such as running an errand for a friend, making a meal for a sick family member, or dropping off a thank you note can be just as effective.In the end, it is often the smallest changes to one’s daily habit that can make all the difference. By spending a little extra time with loved ones or even getting in a brisk walk before work, many of these common stresses tend to melt away.