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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

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Amy Johnson

Freelance writer, editor and social media manager.

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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