The endorphins in your brain replace stress-chemicals known as cortisol, reducing any negative mood or emotions. The links between exercise and happiness are so strong that exercise may often be recommended as an alternative treatment for depression.
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Studies have found that exercise is just as powerful as medication in treating depression, particularly in adults. There is also the belief that exercise can act as a distraction from negative thoughts and it is this distraction that creates happiness. Walking to work instead of driving can still have a positive impact and still releases the happy chemicals, endorphins. As well as actively walking more, other simple exercise activities can come from YouTube videos or workout DVDs and can last as long as five minutes or 50, depending on your schedule and interests. It is also possible to incorporate exercise into your daily routines by joining leisure centres, exercise groups and local walking groups online.
A quick Google search for these in your area will bring up dozens of results that are easy to join. Signing up for a minute yoga class could leave you reaping high levels of happiness for the rest of the week. A healthy brain is essential when pursuing happiness. Nutrition plays an important part in this. The food we eat can regulate our moods and improve our brain functions, ultimately increasing our happiness set point levels.
There are particular vitamins and nutrients that we can eat which have an incredible impact on our brain and our body. A trip to the supermarket is a sure fire way of improving our happiness, from combating depression to boosting our overall happiness. These are vital ingredients that you should slowly begin to incorporate into your shopping list.
Vitamin D, from the sun, is a must-have nutrient. It is proven to improve sleep, relieve depression, reduce inflammation and pains and contributes to a positive well-being. Omega-3 fatty acids support a positive mood by combatting depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder as they reduce inflammations and improve health. Serotonin sourced from vitamins B-6 and B and found in foods such as broccoli and potatoes, reduces weakness, irritability, insomnia and can relieve nerves and stresses. Antioxidants from vitamin E, olive oil, fruits, vegetables and green tea are beneficial to increased levels of happiness as well as being highly effective in boosting general health and minimizing diseases which are.
Research also suggests that adults with higher antioxidant levels were far more optimistic and, therefore, happier in general. As well as adding these ingredients to your weekly meals, it is also possible to take these vitamins and minerals in the form of low-cost supplement tablets available at your local supermarket or pharmacist.
Supplements can be taken daily and are an excellent way of adding these important vitamins to your diet without drastically changing your meals or eating habits. Our sleeping pattern can also have a massive effect on our happiness. Although every human is different, scientists suggest that most adults need around eight hours of undisturbed sleep a night in order to function properly the next day.
Sleep deprivation and sleeping problems such as insomnia are directly linked to other negative circumstances including family troubles, work stresses and mental health and reap a circle of unhappiness. Limiting caffeine intake, winding down and establishing a routine before bed can regulate your sleeping pattern and extend the amount of time you sleep for undisturbed each night. Scientists have proven numerous times that where good sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise are in play, people are generally much happier and healthier.
In order to power on sleep, we need to power off the gadgets. Switching off your electronic devices an hour or so before bed is a recommended way of winding down before bed.
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Focusing your energy on calm relaxing music or reading a book creates the perfect environment for sleeping. Writing a to-do list before bed for the following day is an excellent way of eliminating stress and worries and allowing your brain to calm and focus before sleeping. Happiness teacher Anthony Seldon , believes that happiness lies at the heart of fostering good, caring relationships with others.
He teaches his students the importance of forming deeply loving and compassionate relationships with others above any other factor of happiness, and there is scientific research that supports his style of teaching. Fostering close relationships with the people around you, whether that means friends, family, neighbours or work colleagues, provides a powerful source of love and support and increases feelings of self-worth.
Actively strengthening the relationships you with have with other people is an essential step towards happiness. The people who are the happiest are people who are true to themselves: they know who and what makes them happy and they exert every effort to stay in these good, positive environments. Research shows that it is the quality of relationships, not the quantity, which matters the most.
Spending quality time together through shared conversation, enjoyment, and experiences will create positive emotions that ultimately lead to happiness. You can enhance your relationships with others in a variety of ways.
All too often we forget to schedule important quality time with friends and family because work and other life commitments get in the way. Setting aside quality time to spend with loved ones is one way to do this. Planning experiences such as dining, shopping, adventures and vacations are a fantastic way to spend time with loved ones and foster strong positive relationships. One way to develop good relationships at work or with your neighbours is to talk to one new person a week.
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Go out of your way to smile and greet new faces and commit yourself to to take part in work or community events and gatherings. Boosting your social environments and relationships will have a lasting, positive effect on your happiness levels. The two-way connection humans experience through positive relationships boosts happiness levels and feelings of enjoyment from even the shortest of social experiences. Biologists believe this happens because humans are socially wired creatures. This means that social relationships are at the heart of our DNA.
Although enjoyment can be experienced alone, it is usually experienced with others. Laughing is usually experienced around others. We smile at others, or because others have made us smile. A lot of positive experiences that create happiness are centred on positive social interactions. We all experience the fundamental human need for love, care, compassion and friendship. Positive relationships with others, no matter how close, are essential to our well-being and happiness.
Relationships not only allow humans to receive support, love and care but to also provide it and in doing so, develop positive emotions. You may be surprised to discover that happiness is intertwined with acts of gratitude and kindness. Helping others is a guaranteed way to boost your happiness levels and it is one of the most popular paths to happiness that people take. While results included exercise and relationships, the strongest association between longer lasting happiness came from positive acts towards others.
Helping others was proven to provide long-term increased happiness levels on a scale that no other happiness factor could match.
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It is possible that the more we think of others, the more value we give ourselves. By helping others, we unknowingly boost our self-esteem. Actively practicing compassion and kindness eliminates negative emotions such as anger and stress and replaces them with positive emotions like happiness and compassion. One small act of kindness can have a greater impact on your happiness levels than a short burst of exercise. Gratitude can not only increase feelings of happiness but is also believed to increase life satisfaction.
The benefits can occur almost instantly and can permanently improve your happiness set-point if completed frequently enough for a long enough period of time. The bursts of happiness that happen as a result of the acts of kindness or gratitude you carry out can actually improve your sleep and, in some cases, can decrease the symptoms of illnesses such as tiredness or weakness. Acts towards others should never be tedious or forced as these create negative emotions. Acts of kindness and gratitude can be anything from a small gesture, like buying flowers for a relative or colleague, to writing letters to old friends and colleagues thanking them for their friendship and love.
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Acts towards others can be as quick and simple, or as thought-out and carefully planned as you wish them to be. The control is completely yours, and the happiness these acts leave you feeling will have you repeatedly seeking out new acts of kindness and gratitude to carry out again and again.
From leaving your change in the vending machine for the next person, to supporting your local charity with donations and volunteering, acts towards others are something that you can start this very second. If possible, these acts towards others should be carried out unexpectedly as this has the biggest impact on happiness.