Wednesday, November 11, 2015

15 Ways To Be Happier

It's Wednesday, the slump of the week, and the weather, at least in upstate New York, is dreary and grey. As a student, the semester is really catching up to me and my class mates, as everything seems to build up right before Thanksgiving break. So here, Molly gives you fifteen ways to be happier. Some of these are common sense, and some might be things you have never considered adding to your life, but all of them can make a big difference on your overall outlook as well as physical and mental health. 

15 Steps to a happier you: 

Eating the right foods is a relatively simple way to be more happy. If you learn the right ways to create food with great nutrients that also taste good, this won’t be too hard. When you get the unprocessed sugars, nutrients, healthy fats and healthy amount of energy you need, it stimulates your brain, leading to happiness and overall energy. Try to include more whole foods into your diet, consume lots of fruits and vegetables that will give you energy and fill you up, and listen to your body! Eat when you're hungry, don't eat when you're not. The key is to listen to what your body wants, and it will respond the way you want. The body is your machine, so give it the stuff it needs to get you through the day. 

While it might seem like a hassle to take pills everyday for regular health benefits, supplements are very helpful and can make a huge difference for your body and mind. Many people rarely get ALL the vitamins they need and it comes back to haunt them. Even just taking a multivitamin can increase overall health and increase energy. 

Daily activity and exercise are VERY influential to living a happier, healthier lifestyle. It keeps you feeling good about yourself, the way you look, and the way you feel. It can also releases endorphins that can reduce stress and anxiety, and add to happiness. Even if you can only incorporate a thirty minute walk into your day, it can make all the difference. The hard part is getting yourself to do the work, but the rewards are much better than the struggle to get there. 

Sleep! It seems so silly, but it is so vital to our mental state! This is where our brain processes all of its information. It would be very hard to pass your classes if it weren’t for sleep. Teenagers are supposed to get about 8 ½ to 9 ½ hours of sleep each night, and it’s not good to get more or less than those. It also helps to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day even the weekends so that your body can remain on the same time clock each day. Make your bedroom a place YOU want to be, a place that can become your oasis, and then this step will be even easier to incorporate. 

Going outside can affect your mood a lot. Not only does the fresh air and sunlight give you necessary nutrients, but it adds to a healthy lifestyle where you’re not always on your devices. There are many things to do outside that are proven to make you happier. Sunlight gives us vitamin d which is necessary to live a strong life, and it’s not very hard to get. Fresh air is sometimes the best medicine, and can lift a mood in just seconds. Next time you're sitting on the couch on your phone, consider stepping outside for a minute. Taking it all in. Breathing in the outdoors.  

Meditation and reflection can have a very positive influence on overall happiness. During meditation you empty your mind and only concentrate on your breathing. This is proven to reduce stress and also help with happiness. It is hard to master although it seems very simple, and all meditation takes is about 10 minutes. The more consistently you practice this, the more effect you will begin to see on your life. 

Smiles and laughter seem to be things that go hand and hand with being happy...But what about when you're not in a good mood? Trying to smile or laugh when you really aren't feeling like it actually increases the chances that your mood will change, and you'll actually become happier. 

With all the social media, information gets passed along very quickly, and sometimes it is too much for us to handle. Avoiding an information overload is very key to happiness because a lot of times we know things too soon. Knowing things creates a lot of stress and anxiety which is the enemy of happiness. So try to spend less time on the internet and on social media, and instead, pick up a good book and lose yourself, or write in a journal--anything to clear your mind. 

Focusing on gratitude is something that may not seem like it helps us as much as other people, but it does influence us a bunch. Being grateful for even the simplest things brightens your outlook on life as well as others. Most of the time we don’t realize how much there is to be thankful for. If we can appreciate everything that’s good and helpful as well as know that all the unfortunate things in life are meant for something else to take its place. 

Don’t ALWAYS rely on others to have good vibes because that doesn’t mean you’ll be happier! Spread your own good vibes including: charity, empathy, compassion, and forgiveness. These things seem like they’re going to make others lives better and yes that’s probably true, but there is something undeniably uplifting about forgiving someone for something, or giving money to someone because you have been in their place. And never underestimate the power of YOURSELF to lift your own spirits, and create our own good vibes. Spend time alone with your thoughts, and learn to be your own best friend. 

If you’re doing some or all of the above listed things there is no reason to let other's bad vibes bring you down! Keep good company and expand the happy trend to others who bring out the best in you! Friends are the best medicine, and when your truly find those people that you can connect with on many levels, who are always there for you, and who can lift your spirits any time, there's nothing better. Sometimes when you can't find happiness by yourself, you've got to lean on others.  

Surrounding yourself with beautiful things brings out the beauty in yourself and allows yourself to see the beauty in the world around you. Going to art museums or creating your own art is a great way to do this. Also, having fresh flowers nearby brings the outside in, and shows the cycle of how pretty things can get bruised. Giving fresh flowers to someone is also a sweet idea! Like mentioned earlier, make the spaces you live a reflection of yourself, and places where you want to be. Comfort and expression are imperative when it comes to how and where you live. 

It may sound strange but touch is very powerful. From a pat on the back, to a hug, to a high five, these little things impact each other a lot. Knowing someone is there for you or is proud of you can make you feel content, safe, and happy. 

Gardening and playing with dirt is a real stress reliever. Just getting your hands on something and losing your worries is very beneficial for your mental health. Connecting with the outside world is very therapeutic, and sometimes letting out your stress and frustrations and channelling them into creating something beautiful is a meditation in itself. 

A pet of some sort help definitely help with happiness. They will be excited to see you when you get home and want to spend time with you. They love you unconditionally and be your companion no matter what. Sometime there is nothing better than cuddling with your pet and forgetting the stresses of everyday life.  

So there are our 15 steps to happiness! Of course, there are many other things you can do, but starting with these can make a big difference. We hope you enjoyed, and have a very HAPPY WEDNESDAY :)

(all found photos except for the first) 

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