Happiness is an emotion that most people believe should come naturally. They often reminisce back to moments in childhood when happiness came easy. However, as life moves on and we grow into adults so do our desires, worries, and anxieties.
Just like we need to learn to balance our desires and manage our worries and anxieties; happiness is a skill that we must build and maintain. If you choose the right habits to develop this skill then overtime you will be able to improve your overall happiness.
Below are ways to increase happiness so that you can find enjoyment in your everyday life.
Fix the Ratio of Negative Thoughts
Similar to tips on depression, negative thoughts play a major role in overall happiness. Studies have found that 47% of the thoughts we have on a day-to-day basis are negative. This is bad because every time you have a negative thought it is paired with a negative feeling.
Take, for example, the extremely negative thought that a lot of us have, the creep of “I am not good enough”. When you have this thought what do you feel? Depending on the individual, this thought can make you feel ashamed, angry, depressed, frustrated, or sad.
When you have these negative thoughts, you are inadvertently creating unhappiness in your life. This is why it is important to first recognize these negative thoughts and then combat them with positive ones. You cannot simply change these thoughts, but you can create practices like daily mantra gratitude expressions and affirmation sessions that combat the ratio and outpace the negative emotions.
Build and Maintain Social Bonds
Believe it or not, loneliness can manifest itself in both mental and physical disorders. Almost all human beings have a need for social bonds, some may even argue that it is in our DNA. Some studies even show that without proper socialization, our brain shrinks in ways similar to the occurrences of anxiety and depression.
Building and maintaining social bonds allows you to create happiness in two ways. First, in our psyche our mind reacts to conversations in the same way that we do in play. Secondly, social bonds help you deal with sources of unhappiness as you receive guidance, support, and empathy.
This can also be done Christian Family Services and family therapy in Milwaukee.
Achieving this goal can be as simple as reaching out to one person a day. While this task may seem common our world of technology limits it to text or email, you can now seek telehealth counseling. In many ways this communication does help, but voice and face-to-face interactions have a greater impact on our levels of happiness. It can even improve your social skills.
Go With The Flow
As confusing as it may seem, “flows” or our ability to be fully immersed in a hobby or activity does wonders for our happiness. When you reach a highly productive level of concentration while working on a project, playing a game, watching a movie, or even cleaning your home it is referred to as “entering a flow state.” Studies have actually found that when we are in a flow state, our brains flood our systems with large quantities of dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. These are all extremely pleasurable neurotransmitters. Some describe flow states as superhuman or mystical energy and every step feels like an achievement. The experience also creates a joy or “high off life” feeling that increases your happiness.
Flow states can easily be achieved by dedicating yourself to a hobby. Additionally, that enjoyment continues on to other activities of your life.
Engage in Pleasurable Anticipations
Our brains experience pleasure by simply anticipating fun events. While it may be easy to be impulsive with daily plans like dinner, outings, and events, planning these occurrences ahead of time could greatly increase your happiness. Without a doubt, humans are fond of counting the minutes or hours to a particular moment — be it at a meeting, birthday, weekend, or vacation we enjoy looking forward to new things.
Make Shorter To Do Lists
Those of us who have completed a to do list no the pleasure of having all boxes checked off. However, many are unable to complete our set of tasks because we don’t solve problems one at a time. This is because our brains never stop searching for solutions to every problem that worries us.
Handling problems in this manner takes a lot of energy, keeps us for tea, enjoying our happiness. Whenever the brain gets tired and the problem is left unsolved we feel anxiety and irritation. On the other hand, when problems are resolved neurotransmitters are again released.
This effect can quickly be achieved by having multiple smaller to do lists rather than one long list of unresolved problems.
Have More Physical Contact
As mentioned before, humans love social interactions. Various forms of physical support, especially touching embrace, can speed up a person's recovery from both mental and physical illness.
Not only that, if you remove physical interactions from your life, the brain perceives its absence away as physical pain. This intern changes your mood and can lead to the development of depression. Increase physical contact through touch and embrace to instantly improve your happiness and moments of low mood.
Learn Something New
Learning something new helps keep the brain fresh and ever adapting to new or changing environments. Using the process of learning helps us develop our own natural reward system for processing new information. This intern produces dopamine, the neurotransmitter that creates happiness. If you want to be happy, don’t be afraid to try something new or change your surroundings to learn new things. For double the benefit, play and learn sports to increase the happiness that physical activity creates as we produce the endorphins that reduce pain and elevate mood.
Get Better Sleep
Regardless of the physical disease or mental disorder, sleep is always the first thing prescribed by the provider and for good reason. While we sleep in the dark our bodies secrete the hormone melatonin. This hormone slows down all processes in the body, helping it recover and increasing our serotonin levels. If you are having trouble sleeping, non-pharmaceutical sleep aids like sleep masks and noise machines can eat the process. Also keep lighting consistent, if the body experiences a change in life it releases stress hormones to awaken the mind.
Don’t Give Up
One of the most important ways to increase happiness is with resilience and persistence. There are so many times in our lives when we hit roadblocks or hurdles. There are other times where we feel like we just can’t get to where we want to be or cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Though it may seem easier to quit, you may do so when you are just short of a solution – especially with your goals and achievements. This is why the common theme of most self-help media is persistent with the idea of not giving up or giving in.
If you are currently finding it hard to achieve happiness or cannot find a reason to persist, and may be a sign of a physical or mental medical condition. In some cases, this may be an early sign of depression.
If you are in need of additional resources on mental health or a Milwaukee Psychotherapist be sure to read our article on The Benefits Of Behavioral Health Services and reach out to us soon.