(Natural News) Being happy isn’t always easy. Just like all other emotions, happiness can come and go at any given moment. But making it come to you is a whole lot easier than it seems. There are many ways to boost your happiness, and these are some of the ones that you can indulge in every day.
- Sleep more: Sleep isn’t just good for helping your body recover and your mind re-focus, it can also contribute to your overall happiness. Even getting just one extra hour of sleep can do wonders for your mood, while getting one less hour of sleep does the opposite. According to Inc.com, this is because sleep deprivation greatly impacts the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory. The more sleep-deprived you are, to more difficult it is to recall pleasant memories.
- Indulge in a little dark chocolate: There are several ways through which dark chocolate improves your mood. Firstly, dark chocolate encourages your brain to produce more endorphins, the chemicals responsible for triggering feelings of positivity. At the same time, dark chocolate also enhances your levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in elevating mood and reducing pain. Remember that dark is best for your health since milk chocolate contains more sugar. (Related: Dark Chocolate Health Benefits and How Much Dark Chocolate is Healthy.)
- Get some exercise: Just like dark chocolate, exercise can also boost endorphin production. This is on top of improving your body image and helping you relax. Don’t have an hour to spare? How about five minutes: In that time, you can jog in place during a commercial break, use it to climb the stairs at your workplace, or power walk up and down your street while fetching the morning paper. Those five minutes will add up eventually, and you’ll be sneaking exercise into your busy schedule. Who knows, these little work-outs may even become routine for you in time.
- Meditate: There are many studies that can attest to the mood-enhancing effects of meditation. In one such study, conducted by researchers from The National Center for Biotechnology Information, meditation was found to alter the brain’s structure in such a way that it would develop a stronger and thicker cerebral cortex. Almost every neural process is affected by the cerebral cortex, emotions and social abilities included. Don’t have time for meditation either? Practice mini-meditation instead: Take deep breaths whenever stress pops up; recite a soothing motto or prayer; take 30 seconds to recognize the things in your life that you’re thankful for. With practice and persistence, you’ll get these mini-meditations down pat.
- Go outside: Spending all of your time inside is detrimental to your happiness, especially if you live in an area that’s close to nature. As per WomensHealthMag.co.uk, being near trees and flowers can reduce your stress and anxiety levels, as well as lessen your risk of depression. Even just popping out for a bit can help, regardless of whether or not you’ve got a lot of green where you are, as long as the weather is cool and cozy. A study published by the American Meteorological Society suggested that happiness is at its peak at 57 degrees Fahrenheit (or 13.9 degrees Celsius).
- Be generous: That is, be generous with your time and with your money if you can. There have been several studies that demonstrated how spending money on other people will you feel better than using it on yourself. Volunteering has its own benefits too, as this act has been linked to the lower incidence of stress, depression, and heart disease. This may have something to do with the fact that altruistic acts are said to release the chemicals dopamine and serotonin. But don’t go all out helping other people while ignoring yourself in the process. Never forget to take care of yourself too.
Visit Mind.news for more studies about happiness and human psychology.