We all want to be happier people, right? Yep, we spend quite a bit of money, time, and energy on looking good, making the cash to live the lifestyles we want, and creating families that we can be proud of raising. Having said that, happiness doesn’t always come when we achieve what we think we should achieve; in fact, it can be such an elusive feeling for some that it sometimes requires other tactics to make it a permanent thing.
Lucky for us, there are plenty of therapists and researchers on the case! Here are 9, neuroscientist-approved things you should do every day to become a happier person, via our friends at The Hearty Soul:
Let it out!
Bottling up or compartmentalizing your feelings might be a suitable short-term option, but this approach can actually make the problems much worse in the long term. So, instead, find either a trusted friend or a professional to vent your feelings to. Research proves that talking about your troubles can release serotonin in the brain, a chemical that makes you feel immediately relaxed, optimistic, and happy. Let’s tackle–and talk about– those problems as they come!
Don’t try to solve all of your problems at once
If you’re an overachiever, then you probably already know that multi-tasking is not as easy as it seems, especially when you have multiple fires to put out. In order to stay happy–and keep your sanity intact!–try dealing with problems one at a time, if possible. Once each problem is solved individually, rewards are sent to the limbic system, which immediately makes you feel proud and more at ease. Good for the head and for the heart!
Challenge yourself to show gratitude often
Saying “thank you” isn’t always about showing the other person that your mother taught you good manners when you were a kid–it also does something good for YOUR brain, too! Researchers have found that expressing gratitude when someone helps you can release that trusty chemical, serotonin, which serves as a catalyst for some pretty happy, chill vibes. Talk about mutually beneficial!
Never stop learning
If you’re not a full-time student enrolled in school, make sure that you’re a full-time student in LIFE. Staying sharp and keeping curiosity at the forefront of your mind helps to release the chemical dopamine, the same one we feel when we have sex or eat good food. See, smart is sexy!
Embrace those around you
Like, literally, EMBRACE them. Ok, maybe you’re not a touchy-feely person, but adding more hugs into your life is a seriously powerful natural antidote to depression, anxiety, and even physical pain. Let’s hug it out, guys!
Catch some rays
Ever wonder why you feel happier after a day spent in the sunshine? As it turns out, the sun actually makes you produce vitamin D, an important component of serotonin production. Just remember to wear your sunscreen!
Make exercise a priority
Now, this doesn’t just mean going to the gym to check that “exercise” box off your list. Instead, focus on partaking in physical activities that challenge you and that you actually enjoy. Doing so will release chemicals like dopamine into your body, which can give you a “high” that lasts long after you catch your breath.
Get your zzzs on
Ever notice how much happier you seem after getting a great night’s rest? While it might not be achievable all of the time, getting a proper night’s sleep can make all the difference when it comes to maintaining a healthy well-being. Here are some tips to help you get to sleep faster tonight.
Look to the future
Never doubt the power of positive thinking–it is the one thing that can help us through our lowest moments! Looking to the future and reminiscing on good memories can induce the “salivation response,” a trigger that can make you feel positive and optimistic for the future. Makes sense!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these happiness tips! Have you ever tried any of these before? If so, how did they work for you? Do you have any happiness tips of your own that you would like to share?