At this very moment, a significant number of people are taking depressants.
According to the book Lost Connections, one in five U.S. adults is taking at least one drug for a psychiatric problem.
A lot of studies were made to determine what causes depression and unhappiness.
On the other hand, studies made about achieving happiness found that it’s pretty simple to be happy.
Here are simple things you can do to achieve happiness. Don’t worry, it’s recommended by science.
1. Exercise more
We have heard it too many times.
Now, science is finally revealing the link between our happiness and exercise.
Regular exercise has been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression.
The Happiness Advantage cited a study where depression was treated with either medication, exercise, or a combination of the two.
In this research, there were three groups of patients. One group used medication, the other had to exercise for a period of time, and the last group used both approaches. After six months, results showed that 38 percent of those who had taken the medication alone slipped back into depression. The group using a combination of both medication and exercise had a 31 percent relapse rate.
However, the group who used exercising to combat depression gave the most shocking result.
It is because their relapse rate was only 9 percent!
In reality, you don’t have to be depressed to gain benefits from exercise.
Exercise has been found to help you relax, increase your brain power and even improve your body image.
Even when you don’t lose any weight, you will still feel the positive effects of exercising.
A study shows that exercising improves body image, even though body weight and shape do not change,
Exercise also extends its benefits to our mental health. It releases proteins and endorphins that make us feel happier.
2. Have plenty of sleep
Science teaches us that sleep is important. It helps our bodies to recover from the day and repair itself.
Aside from helping us be productive and focused, it is also important for our happiness.
According to NurtureShock, a medical study was conducted to sleep-deprived students. The findings showed that sleep affects the participants’ positivity.
It is because sleep deprivation affects our hippocampus.
Hippocampus is the part of the brain processing positive or neutral memories.
When we are deprived of sleep, this organ suffers. As a result, sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories which means a decrease in our positivity.
Another study about afternoon naps also indicated a regulatory role of sleep in the optimal brain function.
3. Spend time with family and friends
A study explored the use of shadow pricing method to estimate the monetary values of our relationships.
The experiment showed that an increase in the level of social involvements is worth up to an extra $110,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction.
On the other hand, an increase in your income can buy very little happiness.
So, we could have millions in our bank accounts and still not be as happy as if we increased the strength of our social relationships.
Evidence also shows that spending time with friends and family can improve your happiness.
What truly matters and makes people happy, according to a 72-year study, is our relationships with other people.
According to a study, smiling can help us feel better. But it is more effective when it is backed by positive thoughts.
It showed that customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood.
However, workers who smile as a result of thinking positively improve their mood and are more productive.
An example of a positive thought includes but is not limited to thinking about taking a vacation or attending your child’s recital.
So, if you want to keep yourself happy and productive, smile like you mean it.
Meditation is almost a synonym for staying calm.
But, it’s also useful for improving your happiness:
This study shows the direct relationship between happiness and meditation.
First, the research team looked at the brain scans of 16 people before they participated in an 8-week meditation practice.
The results concluded that meditation affected the participants’ brains associated with compassion and self-awareness.
On the opposite, parts associated with stress shrank.
According to Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, meditation releases positive emotions.
Minutes right after meditating, we feel calm, contented, aware and empathizing.
In sum, you can be happier. It’s only a matter of right thinking and happiness skills.
But don’t just take my word for it. Take it from the experts.
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