7 Healthy Habits To Increase Happiness
In honor of August officially being Happiness Month (look it up! It's really a thing), we've been working to figure out ways to connect the dots between being more fit and being happier. To that end, we came up with 7 ways for you to increase your overall sense of wellness and satisfaction with your life.
- Be Selfish
Wait, what? We're taught early on to put the needs of others before our own, according to Dr. Alok Trivedi, author of Chasing Success. "The reality is you can't truly be happy unless you honor yourself above all else. This means getting your own house in order before you try to clean up someone else's house. Whether it's money, time, energy or anything else, start putting yourself first and notice how much happier you begin to feel. This doesn't mean being inconsiderate or uncaring of others. It's about prioritizing." So instead of washing that extra load of laundry or staying late at the office when your boss and co-workers have gone for the day, give yourself permission to take care of yourself. And if that means an extra spin class or time at the gym, you deserve it.
- Have a Walking Meeting
Just because you have to work every day, doesn't mean you have to be stuck at the desk all day, every day. Marcey Rader, founder of Work Well. Play More® Institute says "Walking meetings have been proven to increase creativity and collaboration between groups of 2-4 people. It also reduces real or perceived hierarchies from sitting across a desk. Walk and talks are great for 1:1s and discussions that don’t have to take place in front of a computer. They can also be done on the phone. Walking meetings also reduce multitasking, encouraging the participants to be more engaged."
- Value your time
We're all given the same 24 hours in a day, so why do some people seem to have time while others never have enough? Dr. Trivedi says "It's about valuing your time, or spending it on the things you really want to be doing. Time is the one thing you can't make more of, but you can better manage it by being more selective in what you spend it on. If what you're doing doesn't bring fulfillment or satisfy the craving for satisfaction, you're not valuing your time." So try to find more time in your day to walk, run, sing, craft- whatever brings you joy and satisfaction instead of that empty feeling after wasting yet another day.
- Do a Happy Dance
It's no coincidence that Pharrell Williams's song Happy can give anyone a case of happy feet, it's a proven fact. A 2014 study in Poland examined before and after dance activity among recreational dancers. The dancers reported higher energy, less tension and a better more creative mood after dancing. Meanwhile, a study featured in Frontiers in Psychology found that adding dance movement therapy was beneficial in the treatment of depressed patients. The authors of a meta-analysis of 27 studies on the effectiveness of dance movement therapy, concluded that dancing should be encouraged as part of treatment for people with depression and anxiety. Sasha Bylim, the owner and an instructor, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Tarrytown, NY and a three-time national ballroom dancing champion said "Dancing makes people happy for myriad reasons. It boosts their self-esteem, it’s a very social activity and it gives them an outlet for creativity.” So what are you waiting for? Turn up the music and dance.
- Be Nice to Your Ex
It may seem counterintuitive, but according to Jeffery Leving, who has been named one of "America's Best Lawyers" by Forbes radio and one of the country's leading authority on Fathers' Rights, being nice and considerate to your ex-spouse will rid your body of negativity. And really, who needs to hold onto all of those bad feelings anyway? Wouldn't you rather concentrate on feeling better about yourself than holding onto the bad feelings of your past? Leving has a simple alternative instead, "Be positive. Be kind to yourself and think of all of the good things that you do."
- Transform Your Resentment
Along the same lines as being nice to your ex, we all have someone in our lives who just bugs us. As Dr. Trivedi puts it "Most of us have that one person or one event that we resent and just can't seem to let go of. Unfortunately, anything you resent, be it something recent or from many years ago, holds you back and keeps you miserable. The key is to turn your resentment into gratitude. How can the past serve you now? What steps can you take to release the resentment? The peace, happiness and personal growth that follows will leave you wondering why it took you so long to let go of." Instead of allowing the past to fester or ruin your present, let go if possible and try to fill that angry place with more happy moments.
- Stop Chasing the Next Big Thing
Dr. Trivedi asks "Are you chasing the corner office, the fancy title, the big money or other things that you believe will make you happy?" If you think the next big thing will bring happiness to your life, Dr. Trivedi says "It's a fantasy that never comes true." Instead, start being more appreciative for what you have right now. That could mean small things like telling your spouse how much they mean to you, thanking your parents for all they've done, feeling proud of your strong calves instead of bemoaning your jiggly thighs.