If you’re asking yourself how to be happier, it’s probably because you’re feeling
Happiness isn’t guaranteed, but there are simple things everyone can be doing to be happier.
We are used to treating emotions as things that live in the mind. As if our thoughts and feelings are not part of our body, but are somehow separate. But our emotions are bodily processes, made by the body and experienced through the body.
While the ways in which our bodies interpret information about what we’re experiencing and turn it into a set of emotional responses is complicated, and still an area of research for psychologists and neuroscientists, the good news is that we can often take a shortcut to feel better emotionally, by looking after ourselves physically.
Exercise is proven to improve mood. Even gentle exercise, like regular walking, stretching
Go Out Of Your Way To Help Others
There’s a curious example of cognitive dissonance called the Ben Franklin effect, where psychologists have shown that doing someone else a favor makes us feel more warmly towards them.
Being in a position to help others makes us feel better about ourselves and makes us feel more friendly towards the people around us. Helping others shifts the focus away from our own feelings of sadness, inadequacy or failure, and also often makes our own problems seem more manageable. If we can play a role in helping others in a difficult situation, we may become more willing to accept help ourselves and we may start to see difficulties as temporary or changeable.
Helping others, either through formal volunteering or more informally within the community, creates and strengthens the social bonds that make us feel happier and more secure in our social networks.
Be Honest About What You Want And What You Have
A lot of unhappiness comes from the feeling that other people are living more successful, fulfilling lives. That somewhere out there is the life you were supposed to be living, but you’re stuck with the life you have now. There is pressure to change it. To do more and be more.
Until quite recently in human history, most people did not expect to change their live circumstances. If you were born a peasant farmer, you would die a peasant farmer. It didn’t matter whether or not you enjoyed farming or being part of the peasantry, it was just what you were. Pretty much everyone else you knew was also a peasant farmer, so you didn’t have much to compare it to.
Human society has changed very rapidly. As a species, we are healthier and wealthier than we have ever been, but new forms for media have given us unprecedented opportunities for peeking into the lives of fabulous strangers, while also giving us access to a highly curated, shop-window version of the lives of friends and acquaintances online.