11 Nov 7 ways you can change your outlook and create more happiness
I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.
– Martha Washington
There's no doubt that the way we think about things affects our happiness and our life more generally. There's also no doubt that we can change our attitude and thoughts and, thereby, enjoy more happiness and a better life. And that's exactly what these 7 tips from this great article describe…
by J R Thorpe via Bustle.com
In an age of endless productivity and wellness hacks, it's impossible not to wonder: can we develop our own happiness hacks, too? It turns out that, with a little ingenuity and a bit of psychological research, the answer is "yes." And the benefits are extensive: research shows that "happiness habits" seem to extend our capacity for high mood over time, giving us easier access to positive feelings — they're like a workout for our upbeat emotions. We're raised to view happiness as something that just "happens", but actually it can be cultivated — as long as we condition ourselves psychologically in various ways to feel happier overall.
This all may sound very science-experimenty, but it's not. Simple daily behavioral changes can give our brains a happiness boost and produce more good-mood experiences over a longer term. And many of them confirm what your grandmother probably already told you: stopping to smell the roses, treating others as you want to be treated, being nice to strangers and giving things to charity really does enhance your mood. (Here's an important note, though: these hacks are designed to help cultivate everyday happiness. If you have a serious mood disorder like depression, these actions likely won't do enough to help shift it. So don't rely on them in lieu of medication, proper diet and exercise, and therapy — getting treatment from a mental health professional is key).
Doing a little research into the increasingly scientific discipline of happiness studies reveals a whole host of paths you can take to improve your daily mood. Here are seven ideas to put into action, so that you can start feeling happier right now — you could bust out a new one to try each day, or work with a few at once. The important thing to do is stick with them — and enjoy the happiness they yield.
1. Savor An Experience
The concept of "savoring" is actually a key element in psychological research on happiness and the idea of awareness of the moment. We often think of "savoring" something as a taste-related thing: like savoring a chocolate we keep in our mouth, or a taste of wine we want to last as long as possible. It turns out, however, that savoring an experience or sensation is a serious component of high happiness levels — and that the amount of time that you "allow yourself" to experience the pleasure of a savored sensation is correlated to higher self-esteem, according to research by the University of Waterloo. You're worth it: become aware of something great in your surroundings, and stay with that pleasure.
2. Use Non-Judgement
Sometimes it feels like judgement is an inescapable part of contemporary life: it's common for us to lash out at celebrities, politicians, and basically anything that feels worthy of a cutting comment. But psychological evidence shows that this is actually not a habit that will build our happiness potential; it's actually more likely to increase dissatisfaction, and it's better for us to "switch off" the judgemental bits of our brains.
When it comes to self-judgement, the problem is obvious. People with depression will be well aware that a harshly self-critical attitude can be poisonous to our happiness and self-esteem. But judging others creates a two-for-one psychological problem, according to Psychology Today: it mixes annoyance with the frustrated desire for something to be different than it is. Try to stop judgmental thoughts in their tracks, no matter how much sly pleasure they may give you, and see if it makes a difference in how happy you feel by the end of the day…
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