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Want Genuine Happiness? Science Says You Only Need Friends And Health, Not Wealth

Want Genuine Happiness? Science Says You Only Need Friends And Health, Not Wealth

A recent study from The London School of Economic and Political Science[1] has found that most human misery is linked to failed relationships, mental illness and poor physical health, rather than money problems.

The study was named the Origins of Happiness, and it analysed data from four countries, including Germany and the United States.

The study, which was led by researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE), found that eliminating anxiety and depression would reduce overall misery by a whopping 20%. On the other hand, eliminating poverty would only reduce misery by 5%.

To some people this result isn’t surprising – including lead researcher Lord Richard Layard. He said that on average people haven’t become happier in the last 50 years, even though the average income has more than doubled.

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This may be because humans are more emotionally connected to their health and their relationships than they are to their money. That isn’t to say wealth isn’t important; wealth can certainly improve life in a materialistic sense. However you cannot form a bond with money.

Lord Layard believes that this research could be used to improve the overall happiness of people across the world, as governments could start to measure people’s happiness and satisfaction levels based on their relationships and health.

You can also use the research to become happier!

What You Can Do To Be Happier

The research found that the most important things for your happiness are your relationships and your physical and mental health. For that reason you should focus on improving your well-being, rather than your finances.

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Here are some tips to help improve your relationships and your physical and mental health.

How To Improve Your Relationships

Fix the failed relationships in your life. If a friendship ended and you were okay with that, you don’t need to try and restart it. Instead focus on the relationships you still feel bad about; maybe you need to apologize to someone for your past behaviour, or perhaps you need to assert yourself. This will make you feel much better about the situation, even if the friendship doesn’t improve.

Focus on the people that you love. Dedicate time every day to nurturing the healthy, happy relationships in your life. Phone a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while. Cook a meal and invite friends and family over.

If you are lonely or want to make more friends, find people with similar interests. Start by looking online for interesting forums that you could join or for meet-ups in your area that you could attend. You can also look for local classes, such as yoga or cooking classes.

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How To Improve Your Physical Health

Aim to drink 8 glasses of water each day. Water helps to remove toxins from the body and it hydrates your organs, so this is an easy way to improve your health.

Make sure that you get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

Exercise for 20 minutes, five days a week. You can go for a brisk walk, or you can jog, or you can dance — anything that gets your heart going!

Eat healthy, small, nutritious meals throughout the day. Make sure that your diet includes vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein. (And don’t forget to occasionally enjoy some chocolate!)

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How To Improve Your Mental Health

Keep yourself occupied. Join a club that sounds interesting, build a cupboard, write down your feelings, feed the homeless, speak to a friend, run a hot bubble bath – anything that you think sounds enjoyable and productive.

Switch up your surroundings. If you’ve been in your room for days, put on your coat and go for a walk outside. You could visit a café or go to the park – anything that gives you the chance to get away from the negative thoughts.

Consider speaking to your doctor, therapist, or counselor for additional support and help. Be honest and open about your mental health.

Reference

[1] The London School of Economic and Political Science: Happiness depends on health and friends, not money, says new study

More by this author

Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

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Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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