The 16 Habits of Exuberant Human Beings

60 percent of happiness is determined by our genetics and environment, and the remaining 40 percent is up to us. Martin Seligman

Here are 16 habits to promote your Happiness in 2018

Surround yourself with other happy people

Joy is contagious. Researchers of the Framingham Heart Study who investigated the spread of happiness over 20 years, found that those who are surrounded by happy people “are more likely to become happy in the future.” Spend more time with uplifting people and set boundaries with energy sinks.

Smile and mean it

Cultivate a happy thought – and then smile – you could become happier AND more productive according to a study published in the Academy of Management Journal. Be genuine with your grin; the study revealed that faking a smile while experiencing negative emotions could actually worsen your mood.

Cultivate resilience

Resilience, not happiness, is the opposite of depression according to psychologist Peter Kramer; happy people know how to bounce back from failure. Resilience is like a padding for hardship. As the Japanese proverb goes, “Fall seven times and stand up eight.” Babies do it all the time!

Be happy

Set the intention to be happy and boost your emotional well-being. Those who actively set an intention to feel happier reported the highest level of positive moods, making a case for thinking yourself happy according two studies recently published in The Journal of Positive Psychology

Cultivate Gratitude

Be as grateful for smaller victories as you are of hard-earned accomplishments. Notice when things go right –
A sunset … a happy dog with a waggy tail and a smile. Appreciate these easy-to-come-by pleasures.

Appreciate simple pleasures

Devote some time to giving. Givers also experience what researchers call “the helper’s high,” a euphoric state experienced by those engaged in charitable acts. This can be a dance that requires you to let go of the outcome. So immerse yourself in an activity that is challenging, invigorating and meaningful and experience a joyful state called “flow.” See the activity as voluntary, enjoyable (intrinsically motivating), and according to the research it must require skill and be challenging (but not too challenging) with clear goals towards success.” Pursuit-of-happiness.org

Enjoy connected conversation

“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings,” is one of the top five regrets of the dying – a sentiment that hints at the fact that people wish they’d spent less time talking about the weather and more time delving into what it is that makes their heart swell.Psychological Science

Spend money on other people

Maybe money does buy happiness. A study published in Science found that spending money on other people has a more direct impact on happiness than spending money on oneself.

Listen

“When you listen you open up your ability to take in more knowledge..” “You are also demonstrating confidence and respect for others.” David Mezzapelle, author of Contagious Optimism.

Good listening is a skill that strengthens relationships and leads to more satisfying experiences. A good listener may walk away from a conversation feeling as if their presence served a purpose.”

Connect in Person

“There’s a deep need to have a sense of belonging that comes with having personal interactions with friends,” Social media, while it keeps us in touch, doesn’t allow us to physically touch, which harvests the warm-and-fuzzies and even decreases feelings of anxiety.John Cacioppo, Ph.D., the director of the Center of Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago.

Look on the bright side

Optimism reduces stress, increases tolerance for pain and, and longevity. When you choose to see the silver lining, you’re also choosing health and happiness. Pessimists tend to believe bad events will last a long time, undermine everything they do, and are their own fault. The optimists tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, is not their fault and that circumstances, bad luck, or other people brought it about.

Value good music

Over a three month period, researchers found that patients who listened to music had the same decreased anxiety symptoms as those who got 10 massages. In one experiment where researchers asked subjects to identify happy or sad faces while listening to music, the participants were more likely to see the faces that matched the “mood” of the music. It takes 8 minutes to synchronise your brain chemistry to what ever you are paying most attention to so take care to notice often what your are attending to.

Digitally Detox

Technology isn’t going away, but partaking in some kind of a digital detox gives your brain the opportunity to recharge and recover, which could also increase your resilience.

Become spiritual

There’s a link between religious and spiritual practice, and mirth. A 2009 study found that children who felt their lives had a spiritual purpose were happier. “Sacred time” elicits moments of reflection and calm. A daily meditation, a weekly practice of lighting candles or attending services, an annual retreat in solitude – all set time apart from the rush of our life. They have a positive, healing, restorative effect. Ellen L. Idler, Ph.D., The Psychological and Physical Benefits of Spiritual/Religious Practices.

Make exercise a priority

Exercise eases symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, thanks to the various brain chemicals that are released that amplify feelings of happiness and relaxation, and we appreciate our bodies more.

Go outside

Just a 20-minute dose of fresh air promotes a sense of vitality. “Nature is fuel for the soul, “ says Richard Ryan, Ph.D, the lead author of the studies. A study on weather and individual happiness unveiled 57 degrees to be the optimal temperature for optimal health_ Journal of Environmental Psychology._

Spend some time in Bed

“You get more emotional stability with good sleep.” Dr. Raymonde Jean, director of sleep medicine and associate director of critical care at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center told Health.com.

Laugh

Laughter is the best medicine because it releases happy brain chemicals that make humans better equipped to tolerate both pain and stress. “The body’s response to repetitive laughter is similar to the effect of repetitive exercise,” explained Dr. Lee Berk, the lead researcher of a 2010 study focused on laughter’s effects on the body. The same study found that laughter cultivates a healthy immune system, controls appetite and improves cholesterol.

Walk the walk

In an experiment, participants were asked to take a three-minute walk. Half of the walkers were told to take long strides while swinging their arms and holding their heads high. These walkers reported feeling happier after the stroll than the other group, who took short, shuffled steps as they watched their feet.Sara Snodgrass, psychologist, Florida Atlantic University

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