Happiness is a feeling that many of us aspire to, yet we often struggle to define what happiness truly is as it can vary from person to person. According to psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book “The How of Happiness,” happiness is defined as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and valuable.” If we accept this definition, then how can we live a life filled with happiness? And, more importantly, why should we make happiness a clear and present goal in our lives?
The answer is simple: happiness is linked to health. A study conducted in 2005 found a correlation between happiness and heart health. The happiest participants in the study had lower heart rates and better blood pressure compared to those who did not experience as much happiness.
Research also suggests that happiness can strengthen our immune system. If that isn’t enough to convince you that happiness is good for you, consider that well-being, in the form of positive affect, also combats stress – something we all experience at some point in our lives.
So, how can we lead a happier and more positive life? Here are five keys that can help:
- Maintain satisfying relationships: It has been found that individuals who have strong relationships with friends and family are happier and show fewer signs of depression. Cultivating loving and supportive relationships is crucial for our happiness and well-being.
- Cultivate an attitude of gratitude: Instead of focusing on the negative, it is important to focus on the positive and express gratitude for what we have in our lives. Studies have shown that gratitude has a positive impact on our happiness and well-being. Practicing gratitude can increase dopamine and serotonin levels in our brain, making us feel happier.
- Help others: Giving to others has a positive effect on our own happiness. Generosity and helping others provide a sense of fulfillment and well-being that cannot be achieved through material possessions alone.
- Embrace others: Hugs are not only a way to show affection but can also have health benefits. Hugs can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and promote the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with happiness and stress reduction.
- Exercise and stay fit: Regular exercise has multiple benefits for our mental and physical health. It has been proven that active individuals have a lower risk of developing depression and anxiety. Furthermore, exercise releases endorphins, which give us a sense of well-being and happiness
It is important to remember that the key to happiness lies in our own hands. Working on our happiness every day is essential to achieving a truly happy life. Use these keys as a starting point and create your own list of what makes you happy. Remember, happiness is up to you. Choose to be happy, and you’re already halfway there!