Is happiness really a choice? Is it that simple? There are small choices you can make each day to build happiness and reduce negativity in your life. Here are 10 ways to choose happy today!
Mindfulness is simply the practice of being present, not engaging in negative thought patterns, projecting into the future, dwelling on the past, or chasing after any other distracting thoughts. It means showing up for the moment you’re in and being fully there without the running commentary in your head. Create more peace and make room for more happiness right now with mindfulness.
Flip Your Thoughts
Practicing mindfulness will help you notice when a thought intrudes on the present moment. If the thought isn’t helpful, kind, or supportive, take a breath and let it go. Make a habit of reframing negative thoughts to be more positive. Use words like “I can” instead of “I should.” You will feel more in control and free to make positive choices.
Research shows that gratitude has a profound effect on mood and greatly increases happiness. If we choose to focus on the things in our lives that are good, there is less room for negativity. Start small—be grateful for a delicious meal, a beautiful sunrise, or your favorite song. Thoughts of gratitude will start to push out the negative thoughts that crowd your brain.
Just fifteen minutes of light cardio, even a brisk walk, can decrease your chances for depression by 26%, according to an article on Harvard Health. And, endorphins released during exercise have calming and pain-relieving effects similar to morphine. Exercise also helps build self-esteem and feelings of strength and accomplishment. Move your body and get happy!
Our brains need specific nutrients to produce chemicals necessary for feelings of happiness. Eating a diet rich in whole grains, colorful fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins has been linked to good mental health. Furthermore, eating specific foods like turkey, eggs, salmon, nuts and seeds, pineapple, cheese, and tofu help your brain to produce serotonin which helps stabilize mood. Add one or all of these happy foods to your diet and feel the difference.
The Pew Research Center reported that people who describe themselves as “actively religious” are also much more likely to describe themselves as “very happy.” According to an article on NBC News, this may be because the parts of the brain used during prayer and meditation are also the parts used for self-soothing and self-reflection, which result in reduced stress and fight-or-flight response. Believing in something can have a profound impact on our happiness.
Spend Time in Nature
Research shows that spending time in nature contributes to better physical health as well as psychological health. A recent study reported that participants who spent a minimum of 120 minutes in nature each week reported higher levels of well-being. Combine your 15 minutes of light cardio with time in nature and you’ve checked two boxes!
Less Screen Time
Engaging in excessive amounts of screen time, whether it’s TV, computer, or smart phone, has been linked to higher rates of depression in teens and young adults. Consider limiting the amount of time spent staring at screens as much as possible. Spend more time with loved ones, interacting with people face to face, or spending time outside to improve mental health and happiness.
More Face Time
Try to replace that screen time with close personal relationships. An article for Time reports maintaining strong friendships and familial relationships is not only linked with longevity, but also leads to less loneliness and more overall happiness. Make a lunch date with a friend or go for a walk together to invest in strong relationships and your mental health.
Sleep has significant health benefits of its own, one of which is decreased rates of depression. The average adult is recommended to get eight hours of sleep per night. Getting adequate sleep greatly contributes to mental fitness and therefore, happiness. Do your best to get your zzzz’s!
None of these require a massive overhaul to your life, and many of them have other health benefits as well. Try one or all, and choose happy today!
© 2020 Silver Disobedience Inc.