Four habits of happy people that can also make you happier | Well-being

What makes you happy? Maybe it’s getting up early to see the sunrise, going out with family and friends on a weekend or taking a dip in the sea. But what does science say about the things happy people do?

We know that the happy people tend to have strong relationships, good health and make regular contributions to their communities.

Over the past seven years, I have gone through various experiences of happiness and well-being in an attempt to improve my own mental health and understand how to help others. Some strategies have worked, while others haven’t worked for me. But here’s what I learned along the way.

The reality is that there will be times when we can get into happy habits and feel positive. Then there will be occasions when life surprises us and our happiness is affected. But the good news is that we can all improve our levels of happiness with daily practice.

1. Move your body

My body needs to move regularly throughout the day. Sitting for long periods of time does not make my body or mind happy. At a minimum, I have to walk briskly for an hour every day. I also like to swim, dance and do yoga.

Regular physical activity and exercise top the list for happiness, as studies consistently show a link between being physically active and the increase in subjective well-being, also known as happiness.

Research shows that walking for 30 minutes a day can improve your health. But happiness studies show that people benefit most when they do moderate, high-intensity exercise, which increases their heart rate.

O moderate exercise it’s all that makes you slightly breathless — you can still talk but you probably couldn’t sing a song.

2. Prioritize socializing

The most recent research on happiness shows that our social connections matter in terms of general well-being and life satisfaction. In fact, making time to talk, listen, share and have fun with friends and family is a habit I try to prioritize.

But a recent study found that we generally become more involved with friends and family when we are feeling unhappy and except when we are happy. This can happen because we naturally seek comfort and support to feel happier and pursue other activities when our happiness is stable.

It seems to come down to a question of balance: too much time alone can lead to negative emotions and reaching out to others is a natural way to alleviate this situation and boost our state of mind.

On the other hand, when we feel positive and happier, we are more inclined to support others and give them a shoulder to cry on. However, spending time in the company of friends and family provides both short- and long-term happiness gains.

3. Practice gratitude

Our outlook on life and the way we evaluate things also plays a huge role in our levels of happiness. Studies have concluded that having a more optimistic mindset and practicing gratitude can dampen negative emotions and increase happiness.

Practicing gratitude daily, such as counting what I’m given or listing things throughout the day that I’m grateful for, helps me to think more positively and feel happier. You can do this in a variety of ways, for example through a gratitude journal, which can be handwritten or kept in your phone.

The list of three good things it’s a quick and easy habit to adopt to increase optimism. Just write down three things that went well each day and reflect on what was good about them.

There are now many applications that can encourage you to keep this record. Other applications allow you to create vision boards and positive affirmations for your days. Although some may seem delicate, it’s all about that gentle push towards positivity, that science supports. In other words, practicing and cultivating an attitude of gratitude and appreciation often works and helps you feel more positive about your life. Gratitude also helps you see the big picture and become more resilient in the face of adversity.

You can also practice gratitude more naturally by saying thank you telling someone you are grateful for that day or sending a thank you message. In fact, it may seem banal, but this is important since the investigation shows that daily feelings of gratitude are associated with higher levels of positive emotions and a better well-being Social.

4. Spending time with pets also helps

My pets are an integral part of our family routine and they also support me in my daily happiness. I find it easier to go for walks because of my dogs. Research shows that dogs motivate their human companions to be more active, and in turn, both dog and human have a shared pleasure experience that increases the happiness.

I also like to sit with my cats while drinking tea and reading a book. Studies have concluded that pets provide many benefits to health and happiness, as they not only provide companionship, but also reduce incidents of depression and anxiety, while helping to increase our levels of happiness and self esteem.

The main ingredients for happiness, and what the research boils down to, are social connections and activity. of both mind and body. And finding a flow to life through our daily habits and intentions can lead to happier, more fulfilling lives.

Exclusive P3/The Conversation
Lowri Dowthwaite-Walsh is Professor of Psychological Interventions at the University of Central Lancashire

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