Happiness is an important, yet at times elusive, part of life. Without it, many people find themselves struggling to find purpose and an uninhibited zeal for living. But what does it take to be happy? There are many ways in which you can improve your overall happiness. We’ve compiled four simple practices to get you started — all backed by science.
Meditation has been used for thousands of years as a way to connect with one’s self and bring calm into one’s life. However, meditation has several other benefits that can contribute to the overall happiness in your life. In a recent review done at the Johns Hopkins University Evidence-Based Practice Center, researchers took a look at past studies to help determine the efficacy of meditation programs. 41 trails that included 2,993 participants were included in the review, with a length variation of 4 weeks to 9 years. It was determined that meditative practices – especially mindfulness meditation – are beneficial in producing positive results in people seeking to relieve stress and improve their mental health. Though more research is required, the previous results are promising for developing a stronger connection between meditation and improvement in overall happiness.
Connect with Nature
Several studies have shown the benefits of having nature in our daily lives. It has been shown that a walk through the forest every so often can greatly reduce stress and improve your mood. Researchers in Zhejiang Province, China explored the connection between mood changes and a forest walk. After separating the participants into 2 groups, they asked one group to walk through a forest and the others to walk through an urban area. Before and after their walks, participants were asked to complete a profile of mood states as well as perform tests that would reflect inflammatory and stress responses. Researchers noticed that the group of nature walkers showed overall positive effects, and mood and stress responses measured were more positive than the other participants. As expected, these results show a strengthened connection between nature and personal happiness. Next time you’re feeling stress pile on, reconnect with nature and observe the shift in your mood.
Experiencing Your Culture
Connecting with others of a similar cultural background has always been seen as important for the continuation of traditions as well as discovering a sense of self. However, a study done in Norway has shown a potential connection between participation in cultural activities and overall health and happiness. By issuing questionnaires to over 50, 000 participants, researchers gauged the overall effects that both receptive and creative cultural activities had on overall health and happiness. It was found that people who participated in cultural activities – especially men – felt happier and healthier than those who did not. These results suggest that happiness can come from connecting to your culture and experiencing it in a variety of ways.
Time and again it has been proven just how effective different types of therapy can be in improving happiness and quality of life. Not only do they give you he opportunity to share yourself in a way you might not be comfortable doing with your friends, but it also allows for growth and deep self-reflection that is not always possible on your own. Although therapy is often times quite difficult in the beginning, it has been shown to be helpful for many. After reviewing 39 studies with over 6,000 participants, researchers from the Netherlands concluded that positive psychological interventions (i.e. self-help, group therapy, and individual therapy) have a positive effect on both mental and physical well-being.
Happiness doesn’t have to be a fleeting feeling. It can be a constant force in your life if you choose it to be. With a little effort, you can live the happy life that you wish to live. Book a complimentary consultation with a Helix specialist to discuss the ways in which we can help. Contact us at 416-921-2273 or by email at [email protected] to find out more.