Life is full of stressors that can lead us down a very unhappy rabbit hole. Often we just can’t find joy in what we do and struggle to derive some from the things around us. There are a few tricks – simple as they might be – that can relieve some of the stress and actually fool your brain into thinking you’re happier than you are. Happiness is good and it feels good. You don’t have to make big changes to feel happier.
Music – a medicine you can never overdose on
It’s the simplest trick in the book. Music can transport you and has the ability to change your mood almost instantly. In fact, music is used in hospitals for pain management and emotional well-being. Science has proven that certain music changes cortisol levels, lowering stress and increasing happiness hormones. Music is cheap therapy, so turn on your favorites and turn up your happiness dial!
Every year Obama publishes a list of his favourite tracks. Why not create a list of your own?
The highs of haha
Laughter is truly a miracle drug. Laughing is one of the best ways to change your mood and enhance immunity. Maintaining your sense of humour is crucial. In a world where we are surrounded by so much negativity, finding the humour in things is a great strategy to manage the stress in life. Having a good chuckle could be as simple as reading through lame jokes online, having a good laugh with friends, watching intelligent comedies, or even taking yourself off to a comedy evening.
Kickstart your laughter by watching this TEDx Talk that shows how easy it is to get laughing.
Look with new eyes
Your response to events, big or small, has a significant impact on how you respond to other incidents – despite their not being connected. The same applies to making constant comparisons between your and others’ successes or failures. Overreacting or taking something too personally will put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day, and finding a sense of humour will become incredibly difficult. If you can’t look at something from another perspective, try to accept it for what it is, brush it off and move forward as soon as you can.
When you give, you get
Doing a good deed might seem selfless, and it is. But it’s also incredibly selfish in the best way! If something you did brings joy to another person, seeing their response and knowing that your actions had a positive impact can trigger the happy hormone in your brain. Altruism brings the benefit of emotional well-being as well as temporarily shifting your focus from your own issues and problems. It’s not a permanent solution, but helping or being kind to others can make you appreciate what you have and your personal situation. Be kind to a stranger, help a charity, or bring it home and do something for your friends or family.
Okay, so we love TED talks. Here’s another one to get you inspired.
Ommm – the power of Meditation
If you are not inclined to yoga and the philosophy behind mindfulness and the like, that’s just fine. For some, the idea of being in a room for 90 minutes doing breathing and stretching exercises actually stresses them out more. But if you’re open minded, meditation is a powerful tool for relaxation and mental realignment. The stress-management benefits of meditation are well known, but studies have proven that regular meditation is effective in increasing general levels of happiness over time. And it doesn’t have to take up too much time – try starting with a few minutes a day and as you see the benefits, build up to your optimal daily meditation practise.