Sunday 20 March is International Day of Happiness. Want to have more good days than bad? Follow these five, simple habits and watch your everyday mood lift.
Sleep deprivation can increase our risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer and can weaken our immune system. Mentally, lack of sleep can make you less alert, impair your memory and slow your reaction times. Overall, if you’re exhausted, you’re less likely to be happy.
National Sleep Foundation guidelines advise that healthy adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night and people over 65 should get seven to eight hours per night.
Scientific research into sleep has proven that sleep is good for the mind, helps your body’s general functioning and makes you feel better. So, you’ve just woken up after a restful night’s sleep, what next?
2. Exercise/get outside
The benefits of moving around and being active are endless, from an increase in endorphins (happy hormones) and vitamin D to helping with weight loss and strengthening muscles, the list goes on! Your body does so much for you 24/7, so go on and show it some love by doing a home workout, going for a morning walk, dancing, or stretching out after a long day.
Making exercise fun is the key to bringing more joy into your life. You may prefer to exercise after work or during your lunch break, just choose a time that works for you.
3. Smile and laugh
You’re at work ready to start your day, endorphins flowing, what next?
Laughter has a few beneficial short-term effects on your mental as well as physical health. For example, laughter can soothe tension in your body by encouraging blood circulation and helping your muscles relax.
A good belly laugh increases your intake of air and the endorphins that are released by your brain. It can also stimulate your heart, lungs and muscles. After laughter your heart rate and blood pressure will decrease as you relax.
Wherever you are right now, turn the corners of your mouth up into a smile, crease the corners of your eyes and then (if no one will mind you doing so) let out a little laugh. If you really don’t feel like laughing, try smiling instead. Creasing your eyes when you do so will make it a more genuine smile.
4. Help and spend time with others
The rush of endorphins result in a feeling that people describe as a ‘Runner’s High,’ the same sort of feeling you can get when you help others. This is termed ‘Helper’s High’ and is supported by the psychological theory that doing acts of kindness produce a natural mild version of a morphine high.
During the day, help a friend, family member or colleague out with a big or a small task. From volunteering at your local homeless shelter to offering to make someone a cup of tea when they’re stressed will give you a great deal of happiness, as long as it comes from the heart.
5. Practice gratitude
An issue of the newsletter published by Harvard Health stated that gratitude is consistently associated with greater happiness. This is based on positive psychology research.
The newsletter suggests that gratitude helps people to “feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
All of the aforementioned could be achieved by listing three things you’re grateful for when you wake up and/or before you go to bed. If you’re looking for something more creative, you could:
- Make a gratitude jar by filling it with everything you’re grateful for and pick them out to read
- Get out into nature and be thankful for all the trees, flowers and clouds you can see
- Create a collage of everything you’re grateful for
International Day of Happiness
Find out how you can celebrate International Day of Happiness today by visiting: https://www.dayofhappiness.net/
Help for your mental health at Benenden Hospital
If you've been affected by anything mentioned in this article, or would like to discuss your mental health, our fast access GP services can help. Book your appointment online today or contact our Private Patient team via Livechat or on 01580 363158.
Published on 20 March 2022