17 Feb Create more happiness with these 25 habits recommended by psychologists
via Business Insider by Erin Brodwin
It’s the little things.
Some habits just seem to have the power to lift your spirits.
Whether it’s taking a few minutes to dive deep into your favorite novel, jotting down some things you’re grateful for, or spending some time in nature, there’s plenty of psychological research to suggest that certain activities can help improve your mood and your health.
Here are a few simple practices that seem to have the ability to boost your mood and keep it high.
#25. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for.
Keeping tabs on the things you feel lucky to have in your life is a great way to boost your mood.
In a recent study from psychologists at UC Davis, researchers had 3 groups of volunteers keep weekly journals focused on a single topic. While one group wrote about major events that had happened that week, the second group wrote about hassles they’d experienced, and the last group wrote about things they were grateful for.
Ten weeks later, those in the gratitude-journal group reported feeling more optimistic and more satisfied with their lives than those in any of the other groups and reported fewer physical symptoms of discomfort, from runny noses to headaches.
#24. Go on a hike or gaze up at the stars on a clear night.
Awe is a powerful — even awesome, you might say — human emotion. And a handful of recent studies have found a link between experiencing a sense of awe — that feeling you get when you look up at a starry sky or out across a wide open valley — with feeling less stressed and more satisfied.
#23. Move to Switzerland.
Ok, moving to Switzerland might not make you happy, but people who live there are some of the happiest in the world, according to the 2015 World Happiness Report, a ranking compiled by an international team of economists, neuroscientists, and statisticians to measure global well-being.
One of the report’s key findings, based on decades of neuroscientific and psychological research, suggests that keeping the brain happy relies on 4 main factors, which include staying positive, recovering from negative feelings, spending time with loved ones, and being mindful.
“These findings highlight the view that happiness and well-being are best regarded as skills that can be enhanced through training,” the researchers write in their report.
#22. Drink coffee (not too much, though).
Several studies have even found a connection between caffeine consumption and a reduced depression risk, as well as an even a lower risk of suicide. However, at least one of these studies specifically found this connection with caffeinated coffee but not tea, though others found the same effect for tea as well.
You don’t have to be Don Draper to reap the benefits of some peace and quiet.
Multiple studies suggest that meditating — focusing intently and quietly on the present for set periods of time — can help lessen feelings of depression and anxiety. Research in long term meditators — Buddhist monks, for example — shows that these peoples’ brains have well-developed areas that could be linked to heightened awareness and emotional control. While it’s possible that people with such brains might be more likely to meditate in the first place, other studies do show that people who complete a meditation program tend to show brain changes linked with self-awareness, perspective, and memory.
#20. Read an adventure story.
You may be able to get the benefits of an awe-inspiring experience just by reading about someone else’s. A small 2012 study found that even when people simply read about someone else’s awe-inspiring experience, they were more satisfied, less stressed, and more willing to volunteer their time to help others compared with people who were simply shown something that made them feel happy…
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