When we’re happy, we feel good. However, can you define what being happy actually means to you? Trying to define it can be difficult. Optimism, wellbeing, joyful, cheerful, contented, for each of us it means something different. Therefore, there isn’t one thing that can make everyone happy, but a common theme prevails – being happy usually means better health. Happy people generally sleep better and exercise more, two of the cornerstones for good health.
If you’re unhealthy and unhappy what to do first? It’s “the chicken or the egg” scenario. For me, on my health journey, as I became healthier I started to feel so much happier. I know for many others it can be the other way around. When you start enjoying life more, you tend to make healthier decisions. So what to do first? My suggestion is to become happier first because then it will make it easier for you to make better choices, and also who doesn’t want to feel happier?
Happiness causes some pretty amazing changes in your body which can decrease pain and chronic disease, strengthen your immune system, boost your positive emotions, provide relief from stress, and much, much more.
I’m going to share some simple strategies to help you do just that, but first of all, I want you to consider your gut health because did you know that your gut sends more signal to your brain than the other way around? If your tummy isn’t right, it’s very hard to be happy, so you need to nurture your beneficial bacteria. Do this by eating lots of plant-based food, high in fibre and cut back on refined and processed foods. If you can add some probiotics or ideally fermented foods that is even better.
I’d like to share my top tips for you to be happier
Genetics accounts for about 50 percent of your inborn happiness whereas our circumstances make up just 10. You have the rest under your control. All you have to do is to choose and believe you can be happy.
If you can’t remember when you last felt happy try to remember how you felt when you were a child, without a care in the world, playing, with no other thought than having fun. Spend some time researching and discovering things that you might not have thought of.
Imagine that you’ve gained an extra hour. What do you do in that time? Finish off some housework or paperwork or do you do something that brings you joy? For most of us, it’s the former. Make it the later.
Every day we are offered countless opportunities to experience happiness, which we often overlook. It could be as simple as watching the sunrise, breathing in some fresh air, smelling your morning cup of coffee or relaxing in a hot bath or even curling up in your bed at night. Savour the small things.
Consider how much time you are spending on social media and sat in front of a computer or your TV. Try cutting down and spending more time savouring everyday moments.
Try remembering an event that made you smile and actually smile as you remember it. You might not have felt happy before, but the actual act of smiling makes you feel happier when you’re doing it.
When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you can forget the fun things, and everyday chores can take over. Get some fun back, do something special for your loved one. It could be as simple as leaving a fun or romantic note in a pocket for them to find later, running a bath for them or just taking the time to say thank you to them.
Even if you live alone take time to get out and about and mix with other people. Simple everyday interaction can make all the difference. Smile at people when you pass in the street, hold the door open for someone, pass the time of day with other people. It gives you a sense of connection which feels wonderful.
It’s been said that when you make a point of doing just three acts of kindness a week, you actually become happier. I challenge you to do three things every day. Compliment a total stranger, buy a coffee for someone, give some of your unwanted things to charity, call a someone you know and tell them how much they mean to you. I’m sure you can come up with your own list.
Hugging releases oxytocin and we all need more of that. It helps lower your blood pressure, lowers cortisol, the stress hormone and gives you a sense of belonging.
Hopefully, you’ve got your own list but if not please try out my happiness tips. You don’t have to do them all; even a few could make a difference in your feelings of happiness and consequently your health. After all, what have you got to lose? And you have everything to gain.