06 Nov 10 easy steps to happier living
by Mark Williamson from the Guardian
We’re constantly bombarded with messages about what makes for a good life. Advertisers tell us it comes from owning and consuming their products. The media associate it with wealth, beauty or fame. And politicians claim that nothing matters more than growing the economy. But do any of these things really bring lasting happiness?
For thousands of years, people have looked to philosophy, religion and grandmotherly wisdom for answers to such questions. But in recent decades this ancient wisdom has been tested by scientific research.
Scientists have found that although our genes and circumstances matter, a huge proportion of the variations in happiness between us come from our choices and activities. So although we may not be able to change our inherited characteristics or the circumstances in which we find ourselves, we still have the power to change how happy we are – by the way we approach our lives.
Action for Happiness has identified 10 keys to happier living, based on an extensive review of the latest research about what really helps people flourish. These are not “10 commandments”, because each of us is unique and what works for one of us may not for someone else. They are simply 10 areas that tend to make a big difference to people’s happiness – and crucially they are all areas that are within our control.
1. Do things for others
Caring about others is fundamental to our happiness. Helping other people is not only good for them; it’s good for us too. It makes us happier and can help to improve our health. Giving also creates stronger connections between people and helps to build a happier society for everyone. It’s not all about money – we can also give our time, ideas and energy. So if you want to feel good, do good.
Do three extra acts of kindness today. Offer to help, give away your change, pay a compliment, or make someone smile.
Reach out to help someone who’s struggling. Give them a call or offer your support. Let them know you care.
2. Connect with people
Our relationships with other people are the most important thing for our happiness. People with strong relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. Our close relationships with family and friends provide love, meaning, support and increase our feelings of self-worth. Our broader social networks bring a sense of belonging. So it’s vital that we take action to strengthen our relationships and make new connections.
Make more time for the people who matter. Chat with a loved one or friend, call your parents or play with the kids.
Make three extra connections today. Stop to chat in the shop, wave at a neighbour, learn the name of someone new.
3. Take care of your body
Our body and mind are connected. Being active makes us happier as well as healthier. It instantly improves our mood and can even lift us out of depression. We don’t all have to run marathons – there are simple things we can do to be more active each day. We can also boost our wellbeing by spending time outdoors, eating healthily, unplugging from technology and getting enough sleep.
Regular exercise can lift you out of depression, but even if you’re healthy a burst of activity will boost your mood.
Be more active today. Get off the bus a stop early, take the stairs, turn off the TV, go for a walk – anything that gets you moving.
Eat nutritious food, drink more water, catch up on sleep. Notice which healthy actions lift your mood and do more of them.
…keep reading the full & original article HERE