Some of you may know that I am working on my psychology degree toward becoming an art therapist. Here’s some wonderful and practical advice that really stuck with me.
Evidence Based Suggestions for A Happier Life. Your happiness, like your cholesterol level, is genetically influenced. Yet as cholesterol is also influenced by diet and exercise, so happiness is partly under your control (Layous & Lyubomirsky, 2014; Nes 2010). Here are 11 research-based suggestions for improving your mood and increasing your satisfaction with life.
- Realize enduring happiness may not come from financial success. We adapt to change by adjusting our expectations. Neither wealth, nor any other circumstance we long for, will guarantee happiness.
- Take control of your time. Set goals to feel control.
- Act Happy. Research shows that people who are manipulated into a smiling expression feel better. So, put on a happy face! Talk as if you feel positive self-esteem, are optimistic and outgoing. We can often act our way into a happier state of mind.
- Seek work and leisure that engage your skills. Happy people often are in a zone called flow – absorbed in tasks that challenge but don’t overwhelm them.
- Buy shared experiences, rather than things. “The Best Things In Life Aren’t Things.” Plan the gift of a shared moment or activity, the memory will last a lifetime.
- Join the “movement” movement. Aerobic activity can relieve mild depression as it promotes health and energy.
- Give your body the sleep it wants. Reserve time for renewing sleep and solitude.
- Give priority to close relationships. Intimate friendships can help you weather difficult times.
- Focus beyond self. Reach out to those in need, perform acts of kindness. It also makes us feel good.
- Count Your Blessings. Keeping a gratitude journal heightens well-being (Emmons, 2007; Seligman et al.,2005).
- Nurture Your Spiritual Self. For many people, faith provides a support community, a reason to focus beyond self, and a sense of purpose and hope. That helps explain why people active in faith communities report greater-than-average happiness and often cope well with crisis.
- written by Annette Gaffney