7 Science-Supported Ways To Boost Your Happiness - Herbs Info

7 Science-Supported Ways To Boost Your Happiness

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7 Science-Supported Ways To Boost Your Happiness
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People in the USA alone spend an average of $550 million on self-help books and $1 billion on motivational speakers in a year, with the global figure being far higher of course. These figures reflect people’s ongoing quest for happiness. It may be best to spare yourself the unnecessary expenses though. Happiness is easier to achieve than most people expect. And no, happiness is not the temporary feelings of elation you get when you experience achievements like a job promotion, the birth of a child, or a wedding. Happiness is a more enduring sense of well-being. [1]


Social psychologists Diener and Chan have established positive causal effects between happiness and physiological health and longevity. The quest for happiness is definitely a worthwhile one. [2] Here are seven ways you can achieve true happiness.

1. Be More Optimistic



As shown by a Harvard University study, optimists are happier and are 50% less likely to have a stroke, a heart attack, or heart disease. Keeping a positive outlook protects your body against cardiovascular diseases. Pessimists, on the other hand, are three times more likely to acquire health problems as they grow older. [3]

2. Learn From The Happiest Nation In The World

According to the European Commission’s “Eurobarometer”, a series of public opinion surveys, Denmark has earned the top spot in terms of happiness and well-being every year since the study was commissioned in 1973. [4] The United Nations had their own search for the happiest nation in the world, and found Denmark to be first in ranking. The UN World Happiness Report points to six factors as the main reasons for the Danes’ self-reported well-being, namely healthy life expectancy, real GDP per capita, having someone to count on, freedom from corruption, perceived freedom to make life choices, and generosity. Many of these factors are well within your control, like establishing meaningful connections with other people and nurturing a generous spirit. [5]

3. Strike A Work-Life Balance

The Danes are also known for striking a great work-life balance, which contributes to their increased levels of happiness. They make sure they do not overwork, clocking in an average of 33 hours per week. Only 2% of Danes work for more than 40 hours in a week. Although they go right back to work after childbirth, almost 80% of Danish mothers are found to be effective at balancing their free time between spending time with their families, taking part in community club programs, and enjoying weekly happy hour with their friends. [6]



4. Invest In Experiences

The Danes know better than to put too much weight on gadgets and material things. They are more invested in building memories. Studies reveal that people who focus more on having experiences compared to spending on material things report higher levels of satisfaction. And this feeling of satisfaction lingers long after the experience had passed. Moreover, too much material possessions tend to lead to debt, stress and time wasted on maintaining the properties, cars, clothes, gadgets, and the like.

Researchers say that people who focus on experiences report a greater sense of “being alive” not only during the experience but long after. This focus on experience also allow people to be mentally closer to the people around them, giving their happiness a boost. [7]

5. Get Social

Being social can help slow down your biological ageing. Research has revealed that a strong social support system contributes to the lengthening of the body’s telomeres.

Telomeres are the tiny caps on DNA chromosomes that determine cellular age. As per experts, having no friends can result to shorter telomeres and, consequently, a shorter life. Other studies show that loneliness lead to increased rates of depression, stress and health problems. To avoid such problems, it is recommended to have at least one close friend. [8]

6. Go Volunteer

According to dozens of studies, people who spend time volunteering are found to be happier with their lives compared to those who don’t. The United Nations points to volunteerism as one of the reasons Danes are among the happiest people in the world. 43% of people in Denmark regularly contribute to their community, a higher rate compared to USA’s 25%. [6]

A 2012 study found that the joy of helping others start at a young age. It showed that children prefer to give than to receive. The researchers conducted the study by handing out snacks to two groups of toddlers, and asking those from one of the groups to give their treats away. The children who gave away their treats displayed greater levels of happiness, suggesting that the act was more emotionally rewarding. [9]

The act of giving does not have to entail a big sacrifice. Previous research has shown that spending or donating as little as $5 has its emotional benefits. Experts reveal that people are inherently compassionate. Volunteering time, performing acts of kindness, and donating money increase levels of happiness by improving people’s sense of community, self-image and purpose. [10]

7. Just Laugh

Research has shown that more than just signaling happiness, laughing produces it. When you laugh, your level of endorphins rise and your stress hormones decrease. Endorphins are the brain chemicals responsible for the “runner’s high” people get from exercising. Laughing is also believed to be good for the heart. A study revealed that only 8% of heart patients who laughed daily experienced a second heart attack, while 42% of the non-laughers had a second attack. [11]

Another study further revealed that your body cannot differentiate between real and fake laughter. You will get the same benefits either way. So feel free to fake it until you make it. Take the opportunity to laugh whenever you can. Not only is the experience fun, it comes with enormous health benefits as well. [12]

References:

[1] CNN. 7 ways to boost your happiness. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/09/19/health/finding-happiness/index.html

[2] Science. Happy People Live Longer. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/331/6017/542

[3] Harvard Health Publications. Why optimists enjoy better health. http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/why-optimists-enjoy-better-health

[4] European Commission. Standard Eurobarometer 83. http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/index_en.htm

[5] UN Sustainable Development solutions Network. World Happiness Report 2013. http://unsdsn.org/resources/publications/world-happiness-report-2013/

[6] OECD Better Life Index. Denmark. http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/countries/denmark/

[7] The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Low Social Support Is Associated With Shorter Leukocyte Telomere Length in Late Life: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3881963/

[8] PLOS. Giving Leads to Happiness in Young Children. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0039211

[9] Science. Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/319/5870/1687.full

[10] The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Humor and Laughter May Influence Health: III. Laughter and Health Outcomes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2249748/

[11] Journey to Awareness and Beyond: with Modern Technology and Ancient Wisdom. https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=_ROQAAAAQBAJ&pg=PT171&lpg=PT171

[12] The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Modulation of neuroimmune parameters during the eustress of humor-associated mirthful laughter. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11253418


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