Happiness isn’t just a feeling, it’s a state that you can achieve if you do the right things. Even when bad things do happen, if your body and mind know how to be happy, you’ll find it easier to take the knocks. Here are some ways to hack yourself happy.
1. Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is as important to being happy as it is to our bodies functioning properly. The key to why sleep makes us happier people is located deep inside the brain. The hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for memory, and the hippocampus cannot perform that job while sleep deprived. Negative thoughts are handled by a different part of the brain, the amygdala, an area of the brain mostly unaffected by sleep deprivation. Sleeping less means you can’t remember good things that happen, while holding onto any bad feelings.
2. Force A Smile If You Have To
Did you know that by smiling you can prevent yourself from feeling bad? It’s called the facial feedback hypothesis, and psychologists think that it can relieve the distress during unsettling events. On a biological level, when the muscles in our faces form smiles—whether forced or natural—the brain receives signals that stimulate the same reward mechanism that activates when we hear good news or eat something delicious.
3. Clear Your Mind By Meditating
Meditation has scientifically proved to reduce stress, increase focus, and relax you. All of those things alone could make your life a lot nicer, but meditating can directly increase feelings of happiness. Studies have shown that brain scans of people who meditate have increased activity in centers of the brain attached to happy feelings. What is more important is that repeated meditation permanently alters the brain to a state that is more geared towards happiness.
4. More Work Outs
It doesn’t matter how much time you put into your workout, the more you do the happier you will be. It’s standard for doctors to prescribe increased exercise to any patient suffering from depression, whether or not the patient is also given medication. One recent study of patients suffering from depression looked at three types of patients: those treated with exercise alone, medication alone, and a last group using a combination of the two. The exercise group had the lowest rate of relapse out of the entire study.
5. Flap Your Wings, Social Butterfly
You like your friends, and you like your family, but did you know that spending time with them could make you happier? The human species is a social animal that depends on lots of interactions with other people to function well. If you cut yourself off from people and live like a hermit, you start to feel bad about yourself. A study that was conducted over the course of seventy two years that looked at the life development of almost three hundred men found that among the subjects, the most common cause of happiness was having connections to other people in life.