- December 20, 2018
- Posted by: Stephen Coleclough
- Category: Happiness
Everyone wants to live a happy and joyful life.
However, it is often difficult to find the activities and lifestyle choices that genuinely makes us happy in the long-term.
The easiest way to find long-lasting happiness is to identify activities that are scientifically-proven to increase happiness.
To help you get started, this article will share 5 proven truths about finding happiness that are backed up by scientific research.
These activities and habits will help you obtain much more enjoyment from your life.
Healthy relationships improve our happiness
A Harvard University research named Robert Waldinger conducted a 75-year study of students to determine the causes of health and happiness.
The study used participants from Harvard University and Boston’s poorest neighbourhoods, obtaining data from an extremely varied group of people.
Dr. Waldinger found that participants who had high-quality relationships were happier than those who considered themselves lonely.
His study also found that the quality of a person’s relationships was tied to their health — with lonely people having poorer health outcomes compared to those with good relationships.
It’s important to note that the quality of relationships was found to be a major determinant of health and happiness — not just the existence of a relationship.
Relationships need to be stable and caring to increase happiness.
Being involved in several unhealthy relationships could actually decrease your overall happiness.
The takeaway from these findings is that we should all spend time improving our relationships with our friends and family.
Regular exercise can bring about happiness
Are you one of those people who dreads the idea of exercise?
You might be surprised to learn that exercising regularly can turn it from being a chore into a rich source of happiness in your life.
Researchers have found that exercise can reduce stress and anxiety, increase self esteem, improve cognitive performance, and lift a person’s mood.
This all results in improved happiness levels.
Exercise is also an excellent way to spend time with friends and family, which can further improve your overall happiness.
Here is some more good news relating to exercise — you don’t need to spend much time exercising to obtain a boost to your happiness levels.
A quick 10 minute walk in the park will give you a boost of energy and make you feel fantastic.
More sleep will make you happier
Your body uses the time you spend sleeping to performing some very important biological processes.
- Elimination of waste
- Production of hormones
- Neurological processing of the day’s events
- Rest for the sympathetic nervous system
- The immune system releases cytokines to reduce inflammation
The processes that affect the brain during sleep are particularly important for happiness.
As you sleep, any negative stimuli is processed by the amygdala, while positive and neutral events are processed but the hippocampus.
If you fail to get enough sleep, the hippocampus struggles to process these events correctly.
This makes your brain recall negative events much more easily than positive ones — affecting your happiness levels.
Having insufficient sleep can also increase your cortisol levels.
Cortisol, also known as the primary ‘stress hormone’, is a steroid hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stressful situations.
Having too much cortisol in your body can cause weight gain, acne, insomnia, and inflammation.
It can also affect your mood, making you somewhat grumpy.
Getting a good night’s sleep will let the body regulate your cortisol levels correctly, decreasing stress and increasing happiness.
The final benefit of getting more sleep is that you will have more energy to do the things you love.
This means more energy to play with the kids, to exercise, to cook a healthy dinner, to enjoy your hobbies and so on.
Helping other people will make you happier
Although it seems counterintuitive, helping others is often the best way to help yourself.
Researchers have discovered that people feel happier after purchasing a gift for someone else rather than purchasing one for themselves.
Additionally, the happier the participants in the study felt about their selfless purchase, the more likely they were to make another one.
In addition to purchasing gifts for other people, you could also donate some of your time.
Scientists have found that volunteering improves life satisfaction, increases happiness levels, and can give you a sense of belonging.
Practicing gratitude increase happiness
Practicing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most effective strategies for improving happiness.
The easiest way to practice gratitude is to spend 5 minutes each day reflecting on the things in your life that make you happy.
You could also write down the things that you are thankful for in a journal.
A study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies confirmed that practicing gratitude has the ability to improve happiness.
The study looked at 219 men and women who wrote letters of gratitude for 3 weeks.
Most participants were happier and had greater life satisfaction after the study was completed.
Thanks for reading 5 Proven Truths About Finding Happiness.
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