With the stresses of life, coupled with what’s happening around the world, we can sometimes find ourselves feeling down. But we are human, so that’s not unusual. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that we can’t be happy. In fact, there are strategies that we can use to find that happy feeling. Read on as Professional Matchmaker and Relationship Expert Linda Prescott shares 5 Science-Backed Ways to Feel Happy.
#1 Find something that triggers feelings of gratitude
You noticed how beautiful the sky looked today, you had a fantastic cup of coffee, or you have a job that pays the bills. There are so many reasons to be thankful and if you keep thinking about how thankful you feel, you are actually training your mind to store positive feelings. According to a study from psychologists at UC Davis, participants who wrote about positive things in a gratitude-journal reported feeling more optimistic and more satisfied with their lives. They even reported fewer physical symptoms of discomfort, from runny noses to headaches.
Try this: Make it a habit. Every morning or before bedtime, write about the positive things that you are thankful for and let your mind and body absorb that positivity.
#2 Enjoy nature therapy
There are so many ways to feel happy. Ever heard of forest therapy? It’s a real thing. According to a study titled Preventive Medical Effects of Nature Therapy, researchers found that people who are in the forest have a decrease in both heart rate and stress levels compared to those in urban areas. “Stressful states can be relieved by forest therapy,” the researchers wrote in their paper. You know what that means… get out… be at one with nature!
Try this: Make a list of nearby trails you could explore whenever you feel stressed. Not only will you be able to reduce stress levels, your general fitness could be increased if you do these nature walks often.
#3 Let go
It’s not good to hold a grudge and we’ll tell you why. Holding a grudge also means that you are holding on to negative emotions associated with the grudge. And with more than one grudge, well, that’s a lot of negative emotions that you are storing. The result is that you will not have enough room for anything else, like happiness. According to Mayo Clinic, letting go of grudges not only releases you from that negativity but may also help you have better overall heart health, less psychological stress, improved physical ability, and longer life.
Try this: If you know of people who have hurt you in the past and have been holding on to that for a long time, it’s time to let go. Take a really deep breath and as you exhale, say “I release you”. You will immediately feel relieved and relaxed. This is also a great way to stop overthinking and finally really relax.
#4 Get moving
Yes, exercise. Unfortunately, you can’t really deny this one and it is one of the most effective ways to feel happy. Researchers at the University of Vermont found that even just 20 minutes of exercise can give you those mood-boosting benefits for up to 12 hours afterward! People who are active are happier and more satisfied with their lives. It’s a fact.
Try this: If you’re not much of a workout person, it’s okay. Try different things each day because variety really helps. Maybe walk around the neighbourhood one day, do the skipping rope the next and cycle or do yoga the next time. As you go, you might discover that you like one exercise more than the others.
#5 Find that sense of awe
Awe is a powerful human emotion. Studies by University of California, Berkeley, have found a link between experiencing a sense of awe — like the feeling you get when looking at a starry sky or across a wide open valley — with decreased stressed and higher levels of satisfaction. People who’ve recently had an awe-inspiring experience are also more likely to say they feel more curious about the world around them and to act more generously toward others too. This is also why people who travel tend to be happier. In 2016, the Happiness 360 Conference in partnership with the UN’s World Tourism Organization established that the happiest people on earth travel more. Because people who travel tend to discover new things and places that can bring that sense of awe.
Try this: Travel is great, but just because we are restricted at the moment, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to find that feeling. In fact, people have found that gazing at the stars at night actually help. Or just really noticing the beauty in nature, like the blue skies, the pretty flowers, tree lined roads or a magnificent view.