Advertisement
Advertisement

5 Habits To Add To Your Routine To Be Happy

Every person in the world searches for happiness. At the end of the day, many people feel they want to be happier. If you feel so, it is important to understand that you are not alone in this. Many of us assume that once we reach a certain milestone or goal, we will be happy. However, it seems the happiness train just refuses to pull in, and you keep on having to wait until that elusive day when you finally feel happier. However, what most people do not think about is that you do not need to wait for that day to come. You can start to feel happier today itself by building some habits into your daily routine that will help you make feel happy, no matter what the circumstances you are going through. Here are some habits to add to your routine to be happy.

5 Habits To Add To Your Routine To Be Happy

  1. Smile More Often

    All of us smile when we are happy. And we smile because we are happy. The action of smiling causes the brain to release dopamine, which is a hormone associated with happiness.(1) Researchers have found that there is a direct link between smiling and happiness, which is attributed to the facial feedback hypothesis.(2) Facial feedback hypothesis is where your facial expressions have an influence on your emotions.(3, 4, 5)

    While, of course, this does not mean that you go around with a fake smile plastered on your face always, but whenever you find yourself feeling low or sad, try smiling and see what happens. Or you can even begin every morning by smiling at yourself while looking in the mirror.

  2. Regular Exercise

    Exercise is not only for your physical health. Regular exercise can help reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and even symptoms of depression while also increasing happiness and self-esteem.(6, 7, 8)

    Even a little bit of physical activity every day can make a huge difference. It is not necessary that you have to exercise like you are training for a triathlon or climbing a cliff. Even ten minutes of daily exercise can make a difference in lifting your mood.(9)

    It is important that you do not overexert yourself. If you suddenly start doing strenuous exercise, you may end up feeling frustrated and even sore. Here are some tips for beginning your exercise routine:

    • Start the day with just five minutes of stretching.
    • Take a walk around the block every night after dinner.
    • Consider signing up for a beginner’s class of tai chi or yoga.
    • Consider meditating for ten minutes every day in the morning.

    You should also consider indulging in activities that make you happy, such as dancing, reading a book, golf, bowling, etc.

  3. Catch Up On Your Sleep

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most adults require at least seven hours of sleep every night.(10) If you find yourself fighting the urge to take a nap in the daytime or you generally feel like you are in brain fog, your body might be giving an indication that it needs more rest.(11)

    No matter how much we neglect a good night’s sleep and sacrifice it for work, a night out, or for studies, deep down, we very well know that getting sufficient sleep is absolutely critical to good health, emotional well-being, and brain function. Getting enough sleep also lowers the risk of developing many chronic illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes and depression.(12)

    You can follow these tips to build a better sleep routine to improve your physical, mental, and emotional health:

    • Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
    • Write down how many hours of sleep you get every night and how rested you feel after waking up. Do this for a week to get a good idea of where you are. There are many sleep apps as well that help you track the hours of sleep.
    • Keep the bedroom dark, quiet, and cool to be able to sleep better.
    • Invest in having good bedding.
    • Reserve one hour before your bedtime. This should be your quiet time. You can take a bath, read or just do something relaxing. Also, avoid having heavy meals or drinking alcohol before bedtime.
    • If you need to take a nap, just limit it to 15 to 20 minutes.

    If you continue to have persistent problems sleeping, you should talk to a doctor. You might have a sleeping disorder that needs treatment.(13, 14)

  4. Find Out About Foods That Affect Your Mood

    We all know that what we eat affects our physical health. However, not many people know that there are certain foods that have an impact on your state of mind as well.(14)

    These include:

    • Carbohydrates as they release serotonin, which is a feel-good hormone. You should avoid simple carbs, which are foods that are high in starch and sugar, and the energy surge you get from these foods only stays for a short time, and then you experience an energy crash. Opt for having complex carbs, such as vegetables, whole grains, and beans, which will help you avoid this crash and also provide you serotonin.
    • Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fatty fish like salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to have potent anti-inflammatory effects that benefit overall brain health as well.(15) If you don’t eat fish, you may consult a doctor about taking omega-3 supplements.
    • Avoid having deep-fried or highly processed foods that only leave you feeling depressed and may cause you to skip meals.
    • Poultry, legumes, dairy, and lean meat are rich in protein. Foods that are rich in protein release norepinephrine and dopamine, both of which help boost energy and concentration.

    If you want to eat foods that are good for your mood, begin by introducing one such food each day. For example, instead of having a sweet pastry for breakfast, swap it with some Greek yogurt and fruit. You will still be able to satisfy the craving for something sweet, and the protein you eat will avoid a mid-morning energy crash. You can add in a new food once every week.

  5. Practice Deep Breathing

    When you are tense, you will find your breathing rate increases, and you may feel like you are about to lose your mind. Everyone is well versed with this feeling. However, practicing deep breathing at this moment can help calm you down. Research shows that slow breathing and regularly practicing deep breathing exercises can significantly reduce stress.(16)

    So, the next time you feel stressed or unhappy, try these steps:

    • Close your eyes and think of a happy memory or your favorite place.
    • Now take a slow, deep breath in through your nose.
    • Slowly breathe out through the nose or mouth.
    • Continue doing this several times until you feel yourself beginning to calm down.

    If you find yourself having a difficult time in taking slow and deliberate breaths, you can even count to 5 in your mind with every inhale and exhale.

Conclusion

Not being in charge of your own happiness can be overwhelming and frustrating. Relying on external circumstances, events, or other people is not the way to happiness, but definitely a certain way to feel miserable. It happens many times that life does not go as planned or things start to fall apart, and so does your happiness along with this.

Advertisement
Advertisement

However, practicing these small tips can help you remain happy despite of what is going on in your life.

References:

  1. Lin, W., Hu, J. and Gong, Y., 2015. Is it helpful for individuals with minor depression to keep smiling? An event-related potentials analysis. Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, 43(3), pp.383-396.
  2. Coles, N.A., Larsen, J.T. and Lench, H.C., 2019. A meta-analysis of the facial feedback literature: Effects of facial feedback on emotional experience are small and variable. Psychological bulletin, 145(6), p.610.
  3. Strack, F., Martin, L.L. and Stepper, S., 1988. Inhibiting and facilitating conditions of the human smile: a nonobtrusive test of the facial feedback hypothesis. Journal of personality and social psychology, 54(5), p.768.
  4. Buck, R., 1980. Nonverbal behavior and the theory of emotion: the facial feedback hypothesis. Journal of Personality and social Psychology, 38(5).
  5. Dimberg, U. and Söderkvist, S., 2011. The voluntary facial action technique: A method to test the facial feedback hypothesis. Journal of nonverbal behavior, 35(1), pp.17-33.
  6. McARDLE, A.N.N.E. and Jackson, M.J., 2000. Exercise, oxidative stress and ageing. The Journal of Anatomy, 197(4), pp.539-541.
  7. Guszkowska, M., 2004. Effects of exercise on anxiety, depression and mood. Psychiatria polska, 38(4), pp.611-620.
  8. Kandola, A. and Stubbs, B., 2020. Exercise and anxiety. Physical Exercise for Human Health, pp.345-352.
  9. Zhang, Z. and Chen, W., 2019. A systematic review of the relationship between physical activity and happiness. Journal of happiness studies, 20(4), pp.1305-1322.
  10. 2022. [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html> [Accessed 16 July 2022].
  11. Krause, A.J., Simon, E.B., Mander, B.A., Greer, S.M., Saletin, J.M., Goldstein-Piekarski, A.N. and Walker, M.P., 2017. The sleep-deprived human brain. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 18(7), pp.404-418.
  12. Nhlbi.nih.gov. 2022. Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency – What Are Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency? | NHLBI, NIH. [online] Available at: <https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/sleep-deprivation> [Accessed 16 July 2022].
  13. Chokroverty, S., 2010. Overview of sleep & sleep disorders. Indian J Med Res, 131(2), pp.126-140.
  14. Pavlova, M.K. and Latreille, V., 2019. Sleep disorders. The American Journal of Medicine, 132(3), pp.292-299.
  15. Lachance, L. and Ramsey, D., 2015. Food, mood, and brain health: Implications for the modern clinician. Missouri medicine, 112(2), p.111.
  16. Singer, P., Shapiro, H., Theilla, M., Anbar, R., Singer, J. and Cohen, J., 2008. Anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids in critical illness: novel mechanisms and an integrative perspective. Intensive care medicine, 34(9), pp.1580-1592.
  17. Zaccaro, A., Piarulli, A., Laurino, M., Garbella, E., Menicucci, D., Neri, B. and Gemignani, A., 2018. How breath-control can change your life: a systematic review on psycho-physiological correlates of slow breathing. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 12, p.353.
Advertisement
Advertisement

Also Read:

Advertisement