Ever told someone or even yourself, in one of those quiet moments - "I'll be happy when..." ?
I bet there were a bunch of different endings to that sentence.
"I'll be happy when I get a better job."
"I'll be happy when I find the love of my life."
"I'll be happy when I have the time to...[fill in the blank]"
"I'll be happy when I finally go on holiday."
And probably the most common...
"I'll be happy when I win the lottery."
According to some studies we have a base 'happy' level. Within 12 months of some major event in our lives, good or bad, we resonate back to that base level. If you're one of the lucky ones that hovers rather high on the happiness barometer - well done you! If not, here are a few ways you can increase your happiness on a physiological level.
Certain hormones are known to be responsible for giving us those good feelings:
Serotonin - the happyness hormone, you get a boost from some foods and when you succeed
Oxytocin - the hugging hormone, your body gets a boost of this when you feel loved and comforted
Endorphin - the pain relief hormone, produced when you're under pressure or pain or stress - endorphins allow animals to feel a sense of power and control over themselves that allows them to persist with activity for an extended time.
7 Ways to boost your happiness hormones:
1. Sleep and wake at the same time - get in to a pattern
2. Get some sunshine as soon after waking as possible as sunlight on the retina flicks your serotonin 'on' switch on and your nighttime melatonin 'off' button off.
3. Do at least 30 mins excercise every other day - the physical effort actually produces those hormones!
4. Relaaaaax - take a walk, listen to some soothing music, take along bath, paint a picture or play an instrument or whatever relaxing hobby you might have.
5. LAUGH! Tests have shown that even the anticipation of enjoyment starts to increase your happy hormones.
6. Hug someone - or get a massage - the physical contact itself produces Oxytocin
7. Eat carbs - rice, potatoes, pasta, quinoa, wholegrain bread, cereal.
This last one is debateable as some studies show carbs mixed with the wrong other foods or at the wrong time of day etc. etc. can actually be harmful. If you ask me - if it tastes good - it'll help!! :)
At the end of the day the physiological evidence has a more profound meaning, that our happiness comes from the inside out. We shouldn't rely on outside 'stuff' to determine our 'inside' mood. Although the 7 points above might help increase your feeling of well being a bit, the only real way to find lasting happiness is from finding your life's purpose and then flinging yourself headlong in to that. If you're not sure what that might be - join the queue.
That's for another post.
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