I think it’s safe to say we all want to live happy lives and experience happiness in its various forms on a daily basis. Of course, the concept of happiness can mean many different things to each person.
Would you be surprised to know that the process of happiness and how to achieve a better level of happiness is backed by scientific research? In other words, there are things that you can do that will make you happier which have been backed-up by science! Well, if this is important to you, then I have a few examples to share with you.
There is a great deal of research indicating that people who regularly exercise feel happier, feel better, and experience a higher quality of life compared to people who are sedentary. There have also been a number of studies published that have indicated that exercise can decrease depression scores and improve mood in people suffering from depression or mood disorders.
The key to success here is a regular, daily program lasting at least 40 minutes. I recommend moderately-paced cardiovascular exercise performed daily with three to four weight training sessions of 20-30 minutes duration weekly. Exercise improves brain chemistry, attitude, and body image which results in you feeling better.
People who suffer from sleep deprivation can also experience a great risk for depression and mood disorder. From personal experience, I certainly notice a difference in my moods if I have not slept well for a night or two.
The key point to consider is that you should try and get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night and depending upon your circumstances, you may need more than this. Getting into a regular routine regarding your sleep schedule is very important because your body functions on a 24 hour clock so setting your sleep time and keeping it constant will allow your body to respond better to your needs.
Spending time regularly with friends, colleagues, and family members leads to lower feelings of social isolation and loneliness. It is particularly good for you to socialize with people you can talk to, share your feelings with, and enjoy laughter and joy with.
Pay It Forward
When you show human compassion for others by helping, assisting and being generous, it also does something special for you. Research indicates that these acts of human kindness make you feel better as a human being and can give you anadded sense of purpose.
Of course, it makes you feel great to give money or a gift to someone, but spending time with someone in need can be even more important than a monetary gift. Volunteering your time with people in need has been shown to greatly lift the spirits of the volunteer as well as the person receiving the attention.
There are many reasons why stress can cause anxiety, depression, and negative changes in your mood. However, meditating regularlyhas been shown to calm the nerves and the spirit and give people a heightened sense of well-being by re-setting our brain circuits and chemical messages which are constantly active.
To be effective, meditation can be learned quite easily and practiced on a daily basis. I recommend 20 minutes upon rising in the morning and 20 minutes before bed.
- Cooper, B.,“10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science,”Huffington Post web site; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/belle-beth-cooper/10-simple-things-to-be-happy_b_4241824.html,last accessed Nov.18, 2013.
Dr. K.J.McLaughlin is a chiropractor with 27 years of clinical experience. In addition, he has degrees in physical education, nutrition and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist with an interest in anti-aging medicine. He has also spent time studying health promotion and the effect that health education has upon health outcomes.
Dr. McLaughlin has a diverse professional background which has involved clinical management, teaching, health promotion and health coaching and brings a unique passion to his work.