Physicians will tell you that we all should be doing at least 20 minutes of exercise 5 times a week, at a minimum. When we exercise the body produces endorphins, which not only reduces your perception of pain it also makes you feel good. You have probably heard of a “Runners high” before and this is caused by the release of endorphins. This can be a powerful thing, sometimes compared to a non-addictive morphine like euphoria.
Regular exercise has many different mental effects such as a reduction in stress, boosts self-esteem, improves sleep and most importantly can keep away feelings of depression and anxiety.
The physical effects of exercise are well known too, such as weight loss, strengthening of the heart, lowering of blood pressure and even increased energy levels.
How you exercise is up to you, find something you are comfortable with and stick to it.
A sense of achievement
When it comes to being happy a sense of achievement is a tough one to beat. With any luck your job will give you at least a glimmer of achievement each day, but if this isn’t the case you might have to dig a bit deeper to feel like you have achieved something.
This is a pretty individual point to finding happiness but here are some ideas
- Donate to charity
- Set a goal and see it through
- Help your parents/siblings/friends
- Save enough money for a holiday/surfboard/video game system
- Make a youtube channel and upload your first video
- Rescue an animal from a shelter
- Pay off your credit card debt
You can include less glamorous things in this list too. For some, simply having a shower a day or even doing the ironing can be a big achievement. It all depends on your position in life, don’t discredit the little wins, they all add up to happiness.
The phrase “You are what you eat” comes to mind. But if you are honest with yourself no one can expect to eat greasy hamburgers every day and come out of it feeling light, energized and happy. This can sometimes be a tough one, McDonalds doesn’t call it a “Happy Meal” for nothing! Often these bad foods containing fat, salt and sugar can initially lead to us feeling good, but it’s not long until the McGurgles come on and we are left on the toilet feeling seedy.
Fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats are the way to go. Some people find that meal prepping your food a week in advance makes it easier than cooking each night. However some find cooking in itself a therapeutic exercise and especially done with a partner it can be quite fun!
Increase your activity
This may sound like an odd one in your quest to being happier but it definitely helps. So what do I mean by increasing your activity when exercising is already on this list? Quite simply it’s saying “yes” to things. If some friends invite you out for coffee, say yes. If your friends invite you out for a concert, say yes. If some friends invite you out kayaking, say yes. If the event or day out puts you out of your comfort zone give it a try! In fact, especially if it puts you out of your comfort zone give it a go, that’s when good, memorable, happy things happen.
Don’t be afraid to be the instigator either, waiting for plans to come might leave you waiting quite some time. If your friends are busy why not join a cooking class, or a dog walking group or even a knitting circle.
There is a lot of evidence that shows that the more people do, and the more pleasant activities they get involved in, the better they feel.
Find a hobby
These days most people’s hobbies include browsing on their phone whilst watching tv. Whilst there is nothing wrong with having some down time (in fact it’s essential to happiness) this kind of hobby is quite isolating and not that rewarding.
Google defines a hobby as “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure”, it also describes a small horse or pony but we will skip that bit for now.
Traditional hobbies include airplane making (maybe get a drone?), wood carving, knitting, writing, collecting things (coins, stamps, football cards), Gardening , racing model cars etc.
Lots of hobbies cross over with the other points in this list, they will increase your activity levels, give you a sense of achievement, often increase your fitness and if you are gardening it will probably improve your diet too.
Not everyone likes the same things though so you might need to try a few different hobbies before you find the right one for you, so hang in there till you find one that pushes your buttons and before you know it you will be adding to your pool of happiness.