By Jennifer Elizabeth Masters
“Happiness is a state of activity. Kahlil Gibran
Happy people are more productive and accomplish more. Once we become happy with ourselves and our life, we feel a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment and joy just by being. When we are unhappy, we consistently focus on what we don’t have and the
problems that surround us. Shifting our focus is one of the fastest ways to feel happier. The following suggestions are based on Scientific studies. Try doing one new thing each week and watch how differently you feel about life and you.
“The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.” Confucius
2. Get more sleep. Your focus will be on positive emotions. Sleep-deprived people have been scientifically proven to be more negative and depression-prone. In a ground-breaking book NurtureShock, by researchers Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, they site sleep-deprived people failed to recall happy memories but were easily able to recall negative or sad memories just fine.
4. Get outside. Sunshine makes us feel better as do warmer temperatures. Twenty minutes outside on a beautiful day broadens thinking and increases positive attitude. In fact, a meteorological study found that temperature of 57 degrees and higher make us feel better. Give yourself a triple-dose of goodness by exercising outside in a beautiful environment increases telomere length and slows the process of aging. Park settings are more pleasing to the senses than urban environments.
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7. Plan a vacation! Planning a vacation gives you more of a rush of feel-good hormones than actually taking your vacation – even if you never take one. Those studied did not feel happier after their vacation, as they returned to their old life. I travel at least five times a year to places I love to visit friends and family.
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8. Meditate daily to re-wire your brain for positivity and stress reduction. Meditation reduces cortisol levels, can help with addictions and relationship issues. Daily meditation can take as little as ten minutes a day, sitting in quiet stillness merely focusing on your breath or involve repeating a mantra in the background of your mind.
Massachusetts General Hospital studied brain scans of sixteen patients over and eight-week period while they participated in a mindfulness course. In each of the participants their compassion and self-awareness increased, where the parts of the brain associated with stress shrank.
I recommend meditation to all of my clients to help them feel more connected, grounded and happy.
10. Move closer to work or work from home. The benefits of living close to work will make you happier than a bigger house. A long commute adds stress, tension and creates a longer work day. Traffic can be treacherous raising stress levels for years.
Many of us buy homes in places far from work because of economics. Over the long haul, those hours of driving cannot be returned. It has been twenty years since I had a long commute, yet when I think of corporate America, my commute is what I remember rather than my success.
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