Happiness is not just about your genes! I get it, 50% of your happiness is connected to genetics, and you can’t control that (yet).
However, the other 50% of your happiness is all based around what you can control. 10% is from circumstances – graduation, marriage, health, finances, etc. The other 40% is all about your internal state of mind. (Oh yeah, and as a reminder, your internal state of mind affects your circumstances!)
Here’s a couple happiness habits to increase your level of subjective well-being (aka happiness)!
Neuroscientists have found that meditating monks grow their left prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain most responsible for feeling happiness. Right after we meditate, we experience feels of calm and contentment, as well as heightened awareness and empathy. Regularly practicing meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness, lower stress levels, and even improve immune function.
FIND SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
People who just thought about watching their favorite laughter-inducing movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27%. If you journal in the morning, spend a few minutes about something you’re looking forward to that day or later in the week.
COMMIT CONSCIOUS ACTS OF KINDNESS
Altruism decreases stress and enhances mental health. Individuals who complete 5 acts of kindness over the course of a single day report feeling much happier than those who didn’t intentionally practice acts of kindness. It doesn’t count if you post it on social media! Take one day per week and practice abundant acts of kindness on this day every single week.
INFUSE POSITIVITY INTO YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Spend 20 minutes outside in good weather to boost your mood, broaden your thinking, and improve your working memory. Watch less negative TV… or just less TV in general. (Folks who watch less TV are more accurate judges of life’s risks and rewards.)
As we all have learned from our favorite Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.” Exercise has also proved just as helpful as anti-depressant medications, and relapse into depression is also less likely than if you had been taking anti-depressants.
SPEND MONEY ON EXPERIENCES
Stop spending money on extra things instead of experiences. Money spent on activities brings far more pleasure than material purchases. Want your money to provide even more happiness? Spend money on other people.
EXERCISE A SIGNATURE STRENGTH
Everyone is good at something. Pick one of your top 5 strengths and use it in a new way each day to increase your level of happiness and keep depression away.