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Meth Helpline : 1800 874 878 - The Meth Helpline is a free confidential telephone counselling, information and referral service for anyone concerned about their own or another person's meth use.
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"The root of joy is gratefulness ... It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful" David Steindl-Rast
"Look closely and you will find that people are happy because they are grateful. The opposite of gratefulness is just taking everything for granted" David Steindl-Rast.
“We are never more than one grateful thought away from peace of heart” David Steindl-Rast.
How to be happy: What science tells us
Source: Mayo Clinic
"Only a small percentage of the variation in people's reports of happiness can be explained by differences in their circumstances. It appears that the bulk of what determines happiness is due to personality and — more importantly — thoughts and behaviors that can be changed.
So, yes, you can learn how to be happy — or at least happier.
Although you may have thought, as many people do, that happiness comes from being born rich or beautiful or living a stress-free life, the reality is that people who have wealth, beauty or less stress are not happier on average than those who don't enjoy those things.
People who are happy seem to intuitively know that their happiness is the sum of their life choices, and their lives are built on the following pillars:
• Devoting time to family and friends
• Appreciating what they have
• Maintaining an optimistic outlook
• Feeling a sense of purpose
• Living in the moment
How to be happy: Practice, practice, practice
If you've been looking for happiness, the good news is that your choices, thoughts and actions can influence your level of happiness. It's not as easy as flipping a switch, but you can turn up your happiness level. In neuro-science terms if we practice enough we grow new neural pathways by what we do often. In street langage terms "Fake it 'til you feel it" works according to brain science.
1. Invest in relationships
Surround yourself with happy people. Being around people who are content buoys your own mood. And by being happy yourself, you give something back to those around you. Friends and family help you celebrate life's successes and support you in difficult times. Although it's easy to take friends and family for granted, these relationships need nurturing.
Build up your emotional account with kind words and actions. Be careful and gracious with critique. Let people know that you appreciate what they do for you or even just that you're glad they're part of your life.
2. Express gratitude
Gratitude is more than saying thank you. It's a sense of wonder, appreciation and, yes, thankfulness for life. It's easy to go through life without recognizing your good fortune. Often, it takes a serious illness or other tragic event to jolt people into appreciating the good things in their lives. Don't wait for something like that to happen to you.
Heart-focused, sincere, positive feeling states boost the immune system, while negative emotions can suppress the immune response for up to six hours. Take two or three appreciation breaks each day, ideally in early morning, at work or school, while returning home or before bed. It takes as little as two minutes to achieve improved mental, emotional and physical balance.
Make a list of things you appreciate such as people, places, activities and pets and choose one or two each morning to hold in your heart during the day. Choose one to hold in your heart throughout the night while you rest. Keep your Appreciation List close by all day, perhaps in a pocket or purse, at your desk or computer or on your smart-phone. In stressful moments, choose something from your list that can quickly evoke a feeling of appreciation: It can transform a long and stressful day into one that flows — amazingly in 30 seconds or less. Source: HeartMath Institute (check out the heart-rhythm graph of a heart during frustration and again during appreciation!)
“Can you be grateful for everything? No. But in every moment.”
3. Cultivate optimism
Develop the habit of seeing the positive side of things. You needn't become overly optimistic— after all, bad things do happen. It would be silly to pretend otherwise. But you don't have to let the negatives color your whole outlook on life. Remember that what is right about you almost always trumps what is wrong.
If you're not an optimistic person by nature, it may take time for you to change your pessimistic thinking. Start by recognizing negative thoughts as you have them. Then take a step back and ask yourself these key questions:
• Is the situation really as bad as I think?
• Is there another way to look at the situation?
• What can I learn from this experience that I can use in the future?
4. Find your purpose
People who strive to meet a goal or fulfill a mission — whether it's growing a garden, caring for children or finding one's spirituality — are happier than those who don't have such aspirations.
Having a goal provides a sense of purpose, bolsters self-esteem and brings people together. What your goal is doesn't matter as much as whether the process of working toward it is meaningful to you.
Try to align your daily activities with the long-term meaning and purpose of your life. Research studies suggest that relationships provide the strongest meaning and purpose to your life. So cultivate meaningful relationships.
Are you engaged in something you love? If not, ask yourself these questions to discover how you can find your purpose:
• What excites and energizes me?
• What are my proudest achievements?
• How do I want others to remember me?
5. Live in the moment
Don't postpone joy waiting for a day when your life is less busy or less stressful. That day may never come.
Instead, look for opportunities to savor the small pleasures of everyday life. Focus on the positives in the present moment, instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future."
Here are some more expert tips, research and just a few feel-good suggestions of ways to boost your mood.
Source: The Huffington Post
1. Log some time with your furry friends.
2. Count your blessings.
There’s nothing like a little thankfulness to boost your mood. Research shows expressing gratitude can make you happier.
3. Remind yourself how great you are.
You are awesome — you just gotta believe it for yourself. Studies show self acceptance is crucial to a happier life.
4. Meditate, meditate, meditate.
Research shows that allowing yourself a few moments of quiet meditative escape each day can make you happier.
5. Listen to music.
Research shows that trying to boost your mood while listening to music actually can help lift you to a more positive state. Studies also suggest listening to sad music can help boost positive feelings.
6. Give back.
We didn’t get to where we are without a little help, so why not extend that same generosity to someone else? Not only will your kindness influence others, studies show it’ll also make you happier.
7. Hang out with someone who is happy.
Joy really is contagious. Research shows the more you surround yourself with positive people, the happier you will feel.
8. Watch a funny video
Find something that tickles your funny bone, watch and let the giggles bubble up. Laughter can reduce stress.
9. Plan a holiday
10. Whip Up a Good Meal
Tap into your inner chef and hit the kitchen. Researchers say people who employ creative process in small ways feel happier overall.
11. Get in a Workout
Not only is it good for your body, but it’s equally as beneficial to your brain. When you work up a sweat, you release endorphins, upping your happiness levels.
12. Spend Money on Experiences
A fulfilling life doesn’t lie in our possessions, it’s found in the experiences we have and the people we share them with. If you’re going to spend a little moolah, spend it on a trip, a concert or any other experience that will bring you joy. Science says you'll be happier in the long run.
13. Challenge yourself.
Work for that promotion or take on that marathon. It’s a lovely treat for your mind, according to Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. Challenge and novelty and key elements of happiness Rubin wrote in Real Simple. “The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction.”
14. Fake a Smile
15. Go Outside
One study found that going for a brief walk in nature can help improve your mood and alleviate stress.
16. Make Some New Friends
Join a club, talk to your coworker or strike up a conversation in the grocery line — you never know what kinds of new connections you can make.
17. Drink Some Milk
Dairy contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is needed to produce serotonin, the “happy” chemical in the brain. Milk: It not only does the body good, it does the brain good too.
18. Take a Cosy Bath
Research suggests that taking a warm bath makes us feel warm on the inside too
19. Get enough sleep.
More sleep = A happier you. Too little shuteye slows down out cognitive processes and increases risk of depression. Try hitting the pillow 30 minutes earlier each night or taking a nap in the middle of the day.
20. Embrace the aging process.
Most people wish they could avoid aging, but studies show that we’re happier as we get older.
21. Have a good cry.
It sounds counterintuitive, but it may actually work. Research has found that crying can lead to positive mood following the flow of tears.
22. Follow the “golden ratio.”
This theory, developed by positive psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, holds that for every one negative experience you have, you should have three positive ones in order to achieve happiness.
23. Email someone to encourage them, praise them or show them appreciation.
Harvard-trained researcher and author Shawn Achor says “Write a two-minute email, or tweet, or Facebook message, or text message praising or thanking one person you know,” Achor says. “It’s so simple. Two minutes. It’s usually two or three sentences, and you do a different person for 21 days.”
In experiments with such an approach, which Achor details in Before Happiness, test senders immediately felt happier. More importantly, after 21 days, the senders felt an incredibly deep social support. “And social support, as I was mentioning, is as predictive of how long we’ll live as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking,”
24. Give someone else a compliment.
Your generosity will make your day and theirs. Research indicates that receiving a compliment has the same positive effect as receiving cash. Want somewhere to start? Here are some ideas.
25. Find the perfect temperature.
The weather outside has a direct influence on how we feel on the inside. One study found that happiness is maximized at an approximately 13.9°C (57°F). Go figure!
26. Keep a one-sentence journal.
Sometimes the most mundane moments turn out to be the loveliest source of happiness. Research shows recording these everyday events may make us happier later on because we appreciate them a lot more when we revisit them. In other words, if you ate a scrumptious chocolate brownie on Wednesday, write it down.
27. Stop to smell the flowers, literally.
28. Have sex.
Here’s a good excuse (not that you need one) to hit the sheets: Research suggests having sex can reduce stress including stress-related blood pressure. The frequency is up to you but the study followed people who had sex daily for 2 weeks. Other studies show more sex is better only to a point. If you are curious about other studies on happiness and frequency of sex this may interest you. (click here)
29. Just TRY being happy.
Can you think yourself to joy? Some researchers believe so. According to two studies taking happiness into your own hands can boost your well-being.
30. Get spiritual.
Spirituality and religion have been linked to better levels of happiness and well-being according to a review of studies on spirituality and health. Sometimes it helps to know you’re connected to someone greater than yourself.
31. Think of happy memories.
Research shows nostalgia makes us happier and more optimistic.
32. Skip the small talk and go deep.
Anyone can talk about the weather. Let yourself get a little more connected and have a substantial conversation with someone — research shows it will boost happiness and well-being.
33. Recite a positive statement.
Search for a word or phrase that’s going to bring spiritual meaning to you. Research shows having a valued positive statement to repeat to oneself can help with feelings we have when we struggle.
34. Spend money on someone else.
Investing in other people really does pay off — for them and for you. According to one 2008 study, spending money on others promotes you own happiness.
35. Listen to what makes other happy
“If you want to know how much you will enjoy an experience, you are better off knowing how much someone else enjoyed it than knowing anything about the experience itself,” according to Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard and author of the 2007 bestseller “Stumbling on Happiness.” “Rather than closing our eyes and imagining the future, we should examine the experience of those who have been there."
36. Take a selfie.
The next time someone judges you for taking one of those infamous front-facing photos, show them this: A 2016 study found that selfies actually increase self-confidence and and make you happier.
37. Talk to someone In Real Life.
Put down that phone and log some real facetime. Human beings are social creatures (and not just on the internet), so it’s time we tap into those resources. Research shows we simply feel better when we are around other people. The #1 way to a happier, longer life is relationship:
a. Realtionship = health (being surrounded by people who care about you is a fantastic way to stay healthy. How healthy? Add 15 years to your life. Increase your odds of beating cancer, staving off dementia, recovering from heart attacks and a lot more.)
b. Online relationships don't count (Emotional closeness to someone declines by 15% for every year you don’t see them face to face.)
c. You need a community ('weak ties' help you find jobs. But they don’t help you through the tough times. To be happy and live longer you want strong bonds to a community of like-minded people who understand and care about you.)
d. Relationships as Work Matter too (Face-to-face encounters promote more trust than email, phone or IM. And that increases your productivity.)
38. Spend Time in Nature
Studies show spending time in nature makes people feel more alive.
39. Do Acts of Intentional Kindness and Do New Things
Once study found the groups of people doing a planned act of kindness each day for 10 days or doing something new each day for 10 days both experienced a significant—and roughly equal—boost in happiness.
40. Do Something Creative
Doing something creative can boost your wellbeing. In one study the results showed that people who were engaged in more creative activities than usual on one day reported increased positive emotion and flourishing the next day, while negative emotions didn’t change. However, the reverse effect did not seem to occur: People who experienced higher positive emotions on day one weren’t more involved in creative activities on day two, suggesting that everyday creativity leads to more well-being rather than the other way around.
41. Lower Your Expectations
It’s no secret that expectation can lead to disappointment if the bar is set too high. This doesn't mean we should set the bar low, but sometimes realistic ideas make you happier in the long run.
42. Look on the bright side.
There are perks to seeing life through a glass half full. Try looking for a silver lining in any situation. Optimists are not only mpre joyful they may live longer.
43. Redefine happiness
Research has helped pinpoint more about what happiness is and what it isn't.
Happiness is not:
Having all your personal needs met
Always feeling satisfied with life
Feeling pleasure all the time
Never feeling negative emotions
True happiness is more about overall peace of mind and focusing on the greater good. Happiness isn’t about wanting more, always feeling “good,” or even being satisfied with every aspect of your life. The pursuit of pleasure and self-indulgence, has proven to bring only temporary bouts of happiness.
And having said all this one study supports the notion of putting greater value on living a meaningful life than on happiness. Examining the 400 participants' self-reported attitudes toward meaning, happiness, and things like stress levels, spending patterns, and having children over a month-long period, the researchers found that a meaningful life and happy life overlap in certain ways, but are ultimately very different. The psychologists found leading a meaningful life corresponds with being a "giver."
44. Write expressively
In 1986 the psychology professor James Pennebaker discovered something extraordinary that would inspire a generation of researchers to conduct several hundred studies. He asked students to spend 15 minutes writing about the biggest trauma of their lives or, if they hadn’t experienced a trauma, their most difficult time.
They were told to let go and to include their deepest thoughts, even if they had never shared these thoughts before. Four days running they did the same thing. It wasn’t easy. Pennebaker recalled that roughly one in 20 students would end up crying, but when asked whether they wanted to continue they always did. Meanwhile a control group spent the same number of sessions writing a description of something neutral such a tree or their dorm room. Then he waited for six months while monitoring how often the students visited the health centre. The day he saw the results, he left the lab, walked to his friend who was waiting for him in a car and told him he’d found something big. Remarkably, the students who had written about their secret feelings had made significantly fewer trips to the doctor in the following months.
Studies that followed examined the effect of expressive writing on everything from asthma and arthritis to breast cancer and migraines. In a small study conducted in Kansas, for example, it was found that women with breast cancer experienced fewer troublesome symptoms and went for fewer cancer-related appointments in the months after doing expressive writing. (NB the cancer prognosis was not part of the study however.)
In other studies brave volunteers typically do some expressive writing, then some days later they are given a local anaesthetic and then a punch biopsy at the top of their inner arm. The wound is typically 4mm across; the healing is monitored and again and again, and it happens faster if people have spent time beforehand writing down their secret emotions.
45. Require yoursef to see the good qualities in a person
Here is a list to help you: