The happiness formula obtained by scientists is not a discovery for anyone. But why do we keep forgetting about it? Subscribe to our Telegram channel. We often publish such valuable articles!
Sometimes, people confuse introversion with unhappiness. Take the Menteora personality test. As a bonus, artificial intelligence will list the most suitable professions for you. The accuracy of the test is 70-80% (read about Menteora's unique career guidance methodology).
Physical activity profoundly affects our happiness, and more and more professionals are using it to treat depression. In the study reported in The Happiness Advantage, patients were divided into three groups. One of them received only medications, the second combined exercise with medication, and the third only went in for sports. The results may surprise you. Although all three groups experienced improvement, the duration differed significantly.
Patients were re-examined six months later to assess the recurrence rate. Of those who took only medication, 38 percent relapsed into depression. The combination group fared slightly better with a relapse rate of 31 percent. We experienced the biggest shock when examining the group involved only in sports: only 9 percent of them felt worse!
However, I do not think that physical exercise has such a beneficial effect only on those who have specific problems. Even in healthy people, there is a rapid and pronounced improvement in well-being, tone, and self-esteem. For example, here are the results of a study of brain activity before and after 20-minute sessions.
In the NutureShock study, authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explain this.
The thing is that different parts of the brain are responsible for positive and negative memories. And with a lack of sleep is primarily the area responsible for positive memories oppressed. Therefore, systematic sleep deprivation makes you remember more bad things and perceive the world negatively.
In our experiment, sleep-deprived students attempted to memorize a list of words. They could remember 81% of words with negative connotations, such as “disease.” And at the same time, they showed only 31% retention for words with a positive or neutral connotation, such as “sun” or “shopping.”
Of course, the quantity and quality of your sleep directly impact how you feel, not only when you wake up but throughout the day. It is very clearly demonstrated by the following illustration, which shows the dependence of brain activity on the amount of sleep.
Distance to work
The impact of our daily commute to and from work is something many people overlook. And entirely in vain, because we have to do this twice a day, five times a week, for many years. So, the influence of this factor on our state of mind cannot be discounted.
Whichever way you get to your office, you still have to experience all the disadvantages of crowded megacities. Many people think that a more extensive country house or a new car can compensate for these inconveniences, but recent research tells us that this is not the case. Therefore, a fast and pleasant way to work is another brick in the foundation of our happiness. Read How does career guidance lead to success in life and career?
Friends and family
Now, it has become fashionable to call yourself an introvert (read Why you shouldn't hide your introversion), and the dominance of electronic gadgets is pushing us to solitude. However, numerous studies indicate that this is one of the main reasons for the unhappiness epidemic and even mental disorders that have gripped the modern world.
George Vaillant studied the lives of 268 men for 72 years. In 2008, summing up his work, he stated the following. The only thing that matters in life is our relationships with other people. For example, by analyzing the quantity and quality of social connections of 40-year-old men, one can make a reasonably accurate prediction about their life expectancy. Ninety-three percent of those over 65 have strong relationships with relatives.
A somewhat different approach to studying this factor in a study published in the Journal of Socio-Economics states. They decided to compare the feelings of happiness in people with different incomes and levels of social ties using a questionnaire. And it turned out that socially active people are about as satisfied with life as much more affluent (up to $ 100,000 difference in income), but lonely people.
Being outdoors and experiencing natural sunlight and fresh air also has a very beneficial effect on our mood. At the same time, it is not at all necessary to radically change your habits and lifestyle — a study by the University of Sussex says that even a half-hour walk is fine.
Walking in the fresh air, in the park, along the promenade, or even just down the street is an easy and quick way to improve your state of mind. All participants performed much better outdoors in all-natural environments than when they were indoors.
The American Meteorological Society went even further and studied what weather factors most significantly influence our mood. After analyzing many parameters, they concluded that walking for 20 minutes at a temperature of 13.9°C is optimal.
It is one of the most counterintuitive tips, but it works. Scientists have even determined the approximate amount of time you should devote to helping those in need: 100 hours a year or two hours a week.
The Journal of Happiness Studies published a particular study on this topic. Participants were given a certain amount of money and offered to make purchases for themselves or someone in need. After that, questionnaires were filled out and showed that people who spent money on charity were much more satisfied than those who spent the entire amount on themselves.
That’s about money. A corresponding study was carried out in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. A comparison of groups of people with different attitudes towards charity confirmed the hypothesis that it is a crucial factor in shaping our attitude to life. Doing good deeds for others brings immediate returns and improves our psychological status.
A smile on the face expresses positive emotions, but there is also feedback. If you smile at yourself, a familiar combination of nerve impulses from the muscles of the face causes the excitation of some regions of the cerebral cortex, a publication in PsyBlog tells us.
Scientists see a strong connection between our mood and facial expressions, which can be traced forward and backward. Even forcing yourself to smile in a bad situation will undoubtedly feel some relief.
Hopes and plans
People have long noticed that the expectation of a holiday is much better than the holiday itself. And scientists confirm this observation with their work. The Applied Research in Quality of Life report shows that people experience the highest peak of happiness when preparing for and anticipating positive life changes. It could be planning a vacation, preparing for a wedding, or waiting for a promotion. Moreover, the very occurrence of this event can already cause much less delight.
Meditation is often touted as a great way to improve focus, clarity of thought, and concentration and to help you stay calm. It turns out that meditation has an equally profound effect on your happiness.
Specialists from Massachusetts General Hospital compared brain scans of ordinary people and those who practice meditation. They concluded that meditation has a direct effect on the functioning of the brain, including those of its centers that are responsible for pleasure.
It seems to be a simple psychological practice, but it is beyond the power of many people. Being grateful for what you have is another key to happiness. There are many different ways to learn this feeling. For example, write down three good things that happened to you daily, or list the things you love.
An article was published in the Journal of Happiness, which results from a survey of 219 people. These people were asked to make lists of events and circumstances that they thought were positive for three weeks. This focus on the positive has resulted in their lists getting longer each week and their sense of satisfaction with their lives getting stronger.
So, we can sum up. According to scientists, confirmed by numerous studies, the secret of happiness is no secret to anyone.
It is enough just to play sports, get enough sleep, work close to home, and walk in the fresh air for at least half an hour every day. Emotionally, maintaining family and friendship ties, a positive attitude, and cultivating the ability to be grateful are of great importance. It will not be superfluous to always hope for a better future and help those who are deprived of this future. Yes, don’t forget to meditate!
Take the Menteora career guidance test; artificial intelligence will name your most suitable professions. The accuracy of the test is 70-80% because we use a mathematical-statistical algorithm (read about Menteora's unique career guidance methodology).