Real Talk

5 Realistic changes you can make today to boost your happiness

Happiness doesn’t always just happen; more often than not we have to work for our it. And with Americans spending around $550 million on self-help books last year alone, it’s pretty clear many of us are on the quest for happiness.

Sure happiness doesn’t happen overnight, just like all good things in life you have to work for it. But there are a few realistic changes you can make right now to help you on your way.

Start by changing your attitude

To all the pessimists and people throwing negative shade out there – positivity is key. Positive emotions like pride, contentment and gratitude don’t only feel great; they also improve your health. That’s right, a Harvard University study found that optimists are not only happier, but are 50% less likely to have heart disease, a heart attack or a stroke. According to these guys, having a positive mentality offers protection against cardiovascular disease. So next time you’re throwing an unnecessary tantrum, step back and think about those cardiovascular levels.

A few feel good tips to eradicate any negative nancy behaviour include exercising, changing your environment and spending time with people who make you smile.

Buy yourself some happy experiences

Money CAN buy happiness (sometimes). Yeah this sounds like some lame millionaire bullshit but hear me out – choosing to spend your money on experiences instead of materialistic purchases is far more rewarding on the happiness scales. Experiences not only encourage and strengthen relationships, they also create positive memories which stay with us and become richer overtime. A recent study from the San Francisco State University proved that while materialistic possessions are finite and fade over time, experiences become more satisfying as time passes. I bet if you look back on a summer holiday you had a few years ago, you don’t immediately remember that great bikini you brought? BUT you will remember all the good times and laughter, right? So the next time you’re thinking about making an impulse buy on that trendy tech you’ve been eyeing up, evaluate just how much this is going to increase your happiness levels in the long run. But a week sailing around Croatia… now we’re talking 😉

Live the Mindfulness Lyf

To translate – To live mindfully is to live consciously, in the present moment. Essentially not getting distracted or hung up on things that have happened in the past or may happen in the future. This is a skill that requires practice and is a hell of a lot harder then you may imagine. Just try to sit still for 10 minutes without letting thoughts creep into your mind. I’ve been practicing Bikram Yoga for a solid 4 years now and still haven’t mastered the ‘Shavasana’ – apparently the most important position in the series which requires the most amount of (mind) strength, from within. Harvard psychologists once again sent their researchers on the road to check this theory out. And the research shows that those who daydream or don’t pay attention were reported as being less happy. Namaste bitc*es.

Do things for others

Giving is better than receiving, FACT. The lasting sense of fulfilment and happiness attained by giving far surpasses receiving every single time. Doing things for others doesn’t only make them happy, it makes you happy, too. So get your head out the gutters and next time you’re on the verge of a shopping splurge, why not consider buying your mum some flowers or treating your best mate/girlfriend/boyfriend to a nice dinner instead?

Just smile and laugh guys

There really is no better cure then laughter – research shows that laughing doesn’t just signal happiness, it produces it! Smiling and laughing relives stress and anxiety, increasing those ‘feel good’ endorphins you also release from exercise. And you guessed it, laughter is also good for your health. A study found that only 8% of heart patients who were made to laugh daily had a second heart attack within a year, compared with 42% of the non-laughers. And that saying ‘smiling is infectious’ is no lie. Your smile activates the smile muscles in others. To summaries, LOLZ all year round!

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