It's easy to assume that as society becomes wealthier and healthier people would become more fulfilled and happy, but this is not the case. Despite all the advancements in technology and increasing access to information and resources people are not becoming happier.
Maybe this is why happiness has become such a popular topic in self-help over the past decade. We are in search of a path leading to true fulfillment and satisfaction and we don't know which direction to turn.
Fortunately the search for greater happiness has been met by growing knowledge and wisdom about what leads to well-being. The field of psychology has revealed that there are strategies and techniques to increase our well-being, and that becoming a more fulfilled and content person is within our control to some degree.
In particular, when we experience more positive emotions, grow our relationships, are engaged in daily activities, and achieve meaningful goals we can experience more happiness.
These 10 principles can help foster flourishing, abundance, and well-being in this faced paced world.
1. The Big "O" – Oxytocin: This is the hormone of trust and "love." It is a natural calming and feel good chemical. It connects and bonds people together and when released will evoke feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security. Simply touching, hugging, and interacting with loved ones can release Oxytocin and enhance intimacy.
2. Make Friends: Social relationships are a primary source of happiness. Relationships offer not only emotional benefits but physical benefits as well. Having numerous deep relationships has been related to improved physical health, increased self-esteem, and few mental health issues. The more deep and meaningful relationships a person has the more well-being they will experience.
3. Savoring: A great way to enhance positive emotions is to learn how to savor the deliciousness of life. This relates to vacations, great meals, concerts, movies, conversations, and any others daily pleasures. Staying present in the moment isn't always easy but when we can focus our attention on the positive emotions in the moment, instead of focusing on what we "could be doing," we will reap psychological benefits.
4. Your Work: Do you consider your work to be a job, career or a calling? Finding work we love is a major factor in our overall happiness. This comes from using our character strengths on the job where we can experience "flow," which is a state where we are totally absorbed in an activity and lose track of time. What can you do to find more challenge and interest in the work you do?
5. Get Moving and Exercise: A proven way to enhance mood is to stay active and exercise. We have to move to be happy. Even a brisk walk can do wonders for our outlook and daily mood. When adults have around 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity per day it has been shown to be an important factor in not only physical health, but psychological well-being as well.
6. Breathe Well: An often overlooked source of calm and health is deep breathing. Our breath is always with us and can be used as an anchor to relax our mind and body. Becoming mindful of our breath can be a tool to manage stress and anxiety in any context. Start taking deeper, longer breaths to get more oxygen flowing through your brain.
7. Primers: Our emotions can be triggered by an experience, person, or situation that reminds us of something in our past. Our memories can be positive or negative and they are connected to other memories with a similar feeling tone. Make note of what primes your positive states of mind. What places, people, and activities prompt positive memories? Seek these out.
8. Gratitude: We all have ups and downs each day, though when we focus on and what we still have and what is going well our mood will be enhanced. Start appreciating what you have and be thankful for the relationships, skills, and opportunities that you have been blessed with. To help you do so, keep a gratitude journal or write a letter of gratitude to someone who has helped you but hasn't been thanked yet.
9. Self-regulation: Developing self-control and temperance can serve a valuable function in how we navigate life. This skill can guide our day to day choices by helping us make healthy and happiness promoting decisions. When we regulate our mood and control our impulses we are able to alter our state of mind. We can respond and adapt to situations in the most effective way.
10. Self-efficacy: Knowing you are capable of dealing with what life throws your way is an important factor for resiliency and life-satisfaction. When we are confident and hopeful about the future we are able to make changes to better ourselves and solve problems when things go awry. Focus on your past successes and set small achievable goals to raise you self-efficacy.
These ten factors can provide a boost in your well-being and raise your life-satisfaction. Be aware that having a happy mood is a process that comes with true effort and dedication. Living a happy lifestyle involves changing the way we think about life and making intentional choices to get the most from our day to day experiences.
Begin incorporating these ideas today and pay attention to what works best to improve your mood. If you stick with it and make these a part of your routine well-being will follow.