You Can Be Happier by Doing Six Simple Things

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With every change of season, you can feel a sense of rejuvenation. So here at everydayhero we have come out with some tips to help you be happier, peaceful and content heading into fall!

VOLUNTEER

Ghandi said, “The best way to serve yourself is to loose yourself in the service of others.” Feeling like you have enough time to serve others is the next challenge. However, people who volunteer enjoy a greater sense of “time affluence” or the feeling of having more time, according to a study at he University of Zurich. Nourish your heart and create more balance in your schedule by volunteering for a charity. Start logging all your volunteer hours today on everydayhero.

PRACTICE MINDFULNESS

According to a study published in a Psychiatry Research Journal, an eight-week program of daily yoga or meditation can “change the brain’s grey matter” associated with “self-regulation of emotions, calm, cognitive focus, and empathy.”

Try this:

  • Set a timer for five minutes on your phone
  • Lie down in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing.
  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • If your mind wanders from your breathing, say to yourself, “that’s a thought; let it go” and focus on the sensation of your moving breath.

 CULTIVATE CURIOSITY

Unleash your inner artist, take up banjo playing, or plant a mini organic garden in your backyard. A psychologist at George Mason University says, “the real way to make yourself happy is by doing something that challenges you– makes you stretch.” Pursuing a new hobby or passion can allow you to spend hours immersed in it, a process psychologists call flow: mental focus that increases feelings of well-being. Go for it: join that women’s improv circle, take that Hip Hop dance class, and paint that mural!

 EXERCISE!

Jazzercise, break dancing, and water aerobics (among many others) are great forms of exercise that help increase endorphins, which make you happy! In fact, you can exercise for a cause by choosing a charity that is close to your heart.

 CUDDLE A FURRY FRIEND

Petting your dog or cat (or some at your local humane society) releases the hormone oxytocin, your brain’s natural love drug, promoting connection and well-being. Get out there and find your new best friend.

TRY THE SLOUGH DAILY REGIMEN

Richard Stevens, a psychologist studying happiness, conducted an experiment on the town of Slough, England in which he asked people to do ten things daily (list below from a Psychology Today Article). Stevens found that there was an overall increase in happiness of about 33%, and that many of the participants kept up their regimens after the study ended.

  • Plant or nurture something
  • Write down 5 things that you are grateful for
  • Have at least one hour-long conversation with a loved one each week
  • Call a friend you’ve been out of touch with and meet up
  • Have a treat each day and take time to enjoy it
  • Exercise for at least ½ hour at least 3x/week
  • Smile and say hello to a stranger at least once a day
  • Have a good laugh at least once a day
  • Reduce your TV viewing by at least 50%
  • Do a good deed at least once a day

HAPPINESS MYTHS

At some point, most people think, “if I had more money, I’d be so much happier.” Aside from being able to feed yourself and pay your rent, money does not make you happier. Ed Diener at the University of Illinois wrote “the richest Americans who make over $10 million annually report levels of personal happiness only slightly higher than those who work for them.” So, don’t fret about not having that six-figure income. Instead, work on supporting causes that you love and being with people who you love.

Doing something good for the world will increase your level of happiness. Weather you want to help animals at your local humane society, run a half marathon to aid cancer research, or donate books to a local library, you can make it happen and increase your happiness today!

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