August 11, 2016

3 Proven Steps to Happiness

Happiness isn't something that comes around so easily anymore. With our fast paced, stressful lifestyles we need to work on being happy. Ultimately, it's our decision to be happy or not depending on how we see the world. And it is critical to our health.

Negativity is so prevalent in the news and conversations that there is no way we aren't going to be surrounded by it on a regular basis. So how do we not let it affect us?

Be grateful

Being grateful is one of the most powerful ways to be happy. Research has shown that those who are thankful release more dopamine and serotonin than those who do not. These chemicals are known as the "happy chemicals," and help to improve our mood. They have also been shown to work on the same pathways that anti-depressants do and some believe that they just as beneficial if not more beneficial than taking anti-depressants.

Action step:
Find ways to be grateful in your daily life. Make a journal or start a blog to write down all the ways that you are grateful! After doing this for a few months it will become a habit and you will start automatically being grateful.

Make decisions

To-do lists stack up every single day and the more things that we have on our to-do lists the more stressed out and unhappy we get. Eventually we get overloaded and even the smallest and easiest things on the to-do list seem like a mountain of a task.

Making decisions and moving forward on them is one of the best ways to be happy. Decision making has been shown to calm neural activity in the brain reducing stress levels.

Action step:
The key is make the best decision possible under the circumstance. If you sit around and try to make the perfect decision then you are going to let other tasks pile up and you are going to end up right back where you started. Look at your to-do list and start making the best decisions you can and move forward!

Help out

Similar to gratitude, helping out has been shown to reduce stress and increase happiness by releasing serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. Not only does helping out make other people happy it also gives you a sense of satisfaction improving your happiness level. Helping out at work has shown to improve work atmosphere, productivity and rate at which someone gets a promotion.

Action step:
Keep an eye out throughout the day to lend a helping hand. Typically before you know it something will come up and you just have to jump to the occasion.

Start adding these steps into your daily ritual and before you know it your level of stress will decrease and your happiness will increase. Remember, habits don't happen overnight so you need to continue doing it for a few months before your brain will automatically do it for you.

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