Day 4 of our world happiness week has Team Happy looking at what we do to fuel our happiness!
Well, there are many things I think you need to do to create happiness and I really believe that it’s a journey, not a destination, that can only be shaped and driven by yourself.
Choice is a key element when it comes to doing things to create happiness. No-one is going to make you feel happy and despite many commercials suggesting otherwise, it’s something money can buy! I remember when I was (much) younger, having achieved a certain amount of success in my career quite early on, feeling unhappy. I decided that I would buy myself a convertible sports car, thinking that driving with the roof down 5 days of the year (when it’s sunny!) would make me feel happy. The feelings of excitement and pleasure lasted all of 2 weeks before they started to fade and I was back to square one!
Having since discovered more about the science and psychology of happiness, I’ve realised that the secret to successfully creating happiness is to do things everyday that trigger the release of happy chemicals in your body. There are four primary chemicals in the brain that effect happiness: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins and you can do all sorts of things to trigger the release of those chemicals.
The image below shows just a few of them for starters, which I of course would highly recommend.
For me, especially during a very busy lockdown, I’ve definitely invested more time in exercising to stabilise my mood and prevent negativity sticking around in my mind too long! I’ve also enjoyed more time with the dogs which has giving me some extra Oxytocin that I would miss out on if I was out working away from home.
Longer term though, I think the biggest ‘DO’ for creating happiness would be discovering your purpose in life or in your career. That way, you can really strive to achieve your full potential and calling in life and find meaning in whatever it is you do.
I am a true believer that you should do what makes you happy. And for me, dancing round the coffee table with my partner, friends or even by myself is the greatest pick me up and happiness inducer. It energises me! It makes me feel good! It picks me up when I’m feeling down! I call it holistic therapy for my mind, body and soul!
There is so much research around the physical and emotional benefits of doing any kind of exercise. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than dancing like no-one is watching to your favourite songs. It literally is a little piece of heaven!
Find your equivalent pocket of joy … and do it like no-one is watching!
One of my favourite ways to create happiness for myself is getting outside in nature and going for a good ol’ walk. There’s nothing better than enjoying the natural world and in fact, there’s a ton of research that proves its beneficial for wellbeing - and happiness levels! For decades, the Japanese have taken part in shinrin yoku, or forest bathing, to help relax. Standing under a canopy of trees in quiet contemplation and using your senses to soak up the atmosphere around you, has also been found to improve our moods, reduce fatigue and support our mental health. While lockdown has made me sluggish and lazy, I try to squeeze a good walk in on the weekends to help me feel half-sane in amongst the madness!
I've gone along a similar stream to Helen, but I find a great way to unwind and clear my head to make it a happier place is yoga and meditation. I'm quite a novice to both admittedly but I definitely feel the benefits when I practice them. Just finding 15 minutes at the start of my day to do some sun salutations and breathing exercises sets me up brilliantly for a happy day, particularly on wintery days where the weather isn't ideal for getting outside. I definitely find myself more focused and energised when I have a lot on my to do list, and in a happier mindset in general, and it also keeps the anxiety gremlin at bay!
Much like Helen, I began to invest a lot of time in exercise during the first lockdown and this is something I’ve maintained ever since. The difference it makes to my happiness is phenomenal. Exercise offers me the perfect outlet, it’s my time to focus on myself and for that period of time to stop thinking about whatever else is going on. Aside from this, there is a genuine scientific explanation to why exercise makes us feel so good! Not only does exercise reduce our body’s stress hormones, but it also releases endorphins – ‘happy chemicals’ which elevate our mood. Whatever your exercise preference (whether it be HIIT, cycling, walking or playing football) anything to get the body moving does a world of good for our happiness!
Tomorrow's blog will be focusing on what's in our Happy playlists, and what we love to sing and dance around to, we might even suggest a podcast or two! We'd love to hear what you do to create happiness in your life and workplace, feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or head over to our Social Media pages!
Don't look for happiness, create it!