It’s International Day of Happiness 2019!
This year’s theme is Happier Together, focusing on what we have in common, rather than what divides us.
Getting social is just one way to improve your happiness, but we’ve put together a little guide on 6 ways to be happier.
Sticking with the theme of this year’s international day of happiness, meeting up and connecting with people is a great way to improve your happiness.
A study has shown that spending time with friends or family releases a chemical called oxytocin, a natural stress reliever, and being around those who you care about can boost your mood, give you a sense of belonging and help you to see things from a different perspective.
Or, why not try joining a new class or course (maybe a Media Savvy one) in your local area – meeting new people can give you the same buzz, and you could potentially make friends for life doing something you enjoy doing together.
Studies suggest that those with fewer social connections are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, which can be caused by stress, so why not try having a family gathering, meeting friends you haven’t seen for a little while or joining a new class or course in your area?
Get a good night’s sleep
Our bodies need sleep to recover, and a lack of sleep can make stress worse. Lack of sleep makes us less focused, and more likely to be aggressive or agitated. Stress itself can even lead to sleep disorders, so it’s important to make sure we look after one to look after the other. Getting enough sleep is one important way to be happier.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, here are some tips that might help you:
- Stay off your devices such as phones, tablets and laptops before sleep, as the blue light displays can affect our quality of sleep
- Try not to nap during the day, and if you need to, keep it to less than 30 minutes. If you’re feeling tired during the day, try going for a walk instead.
- Don’t eat heavy meals just before bed – finish eating an hour before sleep
- Exercise can help you sleep better, but aim to finish any vigorous exercise 3 to 4 hours before sleep
- Get into a regular sleep pattern – if you go to bed and wake up at similar times each day, including weekends, your body will get into a cycle and automatically adjust to the pattern
It has been proven that physical activity can improve your mental health. Just one hour of exercise a week can reduce your risk of depression by 12 percent, and 3 sessions of exercise in a week can reduce it even further to up to 30 percent. Exercise can even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, as it boosts the chemicals in the brain that prevent the degradation of the hippocampus – the part of our brains focused on memory and learning.
Walking is something that most if us can do, and it can improve your mood and reduce stress, as well as giving you time out of your regular schedule to focus on something else and have a bit of me-time, not to mention the benefits of fresh air.
Or if you fancy something a little more fast paced, up your walk to a run. ‘Runners high’ is a term regularly given to the endorphin rush experienced by runners after exercising, and can make you feel more focused, alert and happy.
Why not try going for just a 10 minute walk on your lunch break, sign up for a new class at the gym or take up running?
Exercise is not the only way to improve your body to improve your mood. Eating better and limiting things such as smoking and drinking can also have a more positive effect in the long run. In the short term, you might feel like they are helping you to cope with negative situations, but they can be incredibly damaging to your health over time.
Developing more healthy ways to deal with your feelings is much more beneficial, and the positive effects on your body are bound to have an impact on your mind.
Have you ever heard of art therapy? It’s been proven that art and other creative activities can reduce stress, and the freedom of self-expression can be incredibly liberating.
If art isn’t your thing, however, look for other ways to be creative, and set aside some me-time for relaxation and hobbies, and having something new and positive to focus on can be a great stress reliever. Learning to play a musical instrument is equally as creative, and setting yourself small, realistic goals and achieving them can be a great boost to your self-esteem.
Why not try signing up for an art class, look for a new hobby or take up an instrument you’ve always wanted to play?
Improving your outlook and your self-esteem can have a massive effect on your happiness. Instead of telling yourself negative things, try and turn them into a positive. Remind yourself of the positive things in your life (maybe even make a list) and things that you like about yourself.
Think ‘would I say that to my best friend?’ – if you wouldn’t, don’t say it to yourself.
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