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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

7 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be a Happier Person

7 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be a Happier Person

Want to be a happier person but with some many negative things going around, you don’t know what to do to feel happy?

The How of Happiness by University of California, Riverside Prof. Sonja Lyubomirsky talks about how to be a happier person. Here are seven scientifically proven ways derived from Sonja’s research on how to be the happiest person on earth.

1. Practice gratitude once a week.

Expressing gratitude, or counting your blessings, does not just make you happy—it also improves your health. However, you need to be strategic about how you do it. In one of the author’s experiments they directed the participants to keep a gratitude journal and contemplate five things that made them feel grateful. They would start the exercise by saying “This week I’m grateful for…”

Half of the participants were instructed to do that once a week, while the rest of them did that three times a week for a total of six weeks.

Here’s what’s strange: Only the group that counted their blessings once a week achieved happiness results because of it.

Why?

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Probably because the participants who did it three times a week found practicing gratitude to be a chore, while the others were looking forward to it. So once a week, make sure you count your blessings!

2. Make friends and invest in your relationships.

Happy people are renowned for their circle of friends, their relationship with their family, and their loving marriage

What is amazing about friendships and intimate relationships is that their happiness effect does not get reduced by hedonic adaptation. That means that you won’t get used to your loving marriage the way you get used to your new furniture.

So make time for your friends, express appreciation and make them feel good, be kind, and just have fun with them. You’ll be happier in doing so.

3. Become a stress resilience ninja.

Happiness is not just about feeling good all the time. Happy people also get to recover from bad situations and stress more quickly. They are the stress resilience ninjas!

Here’s an example: One study found that the life of breast cancer survivors had been altered for the better after the disease! Actually two-thirds of the women said so. These women talked about having a wake-up call that made re-prioritize their life for the better. They found the good in the bad.

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If that’s an excellent coping strategy with cancer, then I bet it’ll do wonders for any type of stress that appears in your life. The next time something bad shows up, ask yourself what you can learn from it.

4. Take care of your body.

Did you know that aerobic exercise has the same benefits on depression as taking Zoloft? Well, in a 1999 study researchers divided a group of 50+ men and women who suffered from depression in three groups.

One group did supervised aerobic exercise three times a week, another group took Zoloft—an anti-depressant—while the third group did both.

The result? After four months all three groups were doing better with increased self-esteem and happiness. Even better, six months later, participants who had recovered from depression were less likely to relapse back to depression if they belonged in the exercise group compared to the ones who just took Zoloft.

So there you have it. Exercise works miracles in your happiness!

Don’t know how to get started it or how to find a routine that you actually like? Check out Exercise Bliss, a unique program that helps you make exercise a daily ritual, and you just might find what works for you.

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5. Take care of your soul.

The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 47% of people who report attending religious services several times a week describe themselves as “very happy”.
  • Just 28% of people who attend less than once a month can claim the same.

It seems that the social support and the sense of identity that people get from belonging to the same religious group is unparalleled.

It is possible, however, that this happiness discrepancy has nothing to do with people’s relationship with the divine and everything to do with people’s relationships with each other, as people who attend religious services are proven to have larger social networks than those who don’t.

Still, religious people who believe that the divine is helping them are three times more likely to be alive six months after a serious cardiac surgery. One way or another, it seems that religious people definitely score some happiness points.

 6. Commit to your (intrinsic) goals.

People who strive for something personally significant, like raising a family, learning a new skill, or even changing careers are happier. The author explains that pursuing goals provides with a sense of purpose and a feeling of control over our lives.

Not all goals are made equal, though: intrinsic goals make you happy, while extrinsic goals might not be as effective.

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  • Intrinsic goals are the ones meaningful to you, the ones that allow you to grow and be more. Examples: doing a hobby while on vacation, working on a skill because you want to become better, etc.
  • Extrinsic goals are the ones that are a means to an end—you go on a diet to lose weight, you work hard to make more money, etc.

Research is crystal clear: Intrinsic goals are much more likely than extrinsic goals to give a sense of competence and autonomy, and hence, make you happier.

7. Enjoy life’s pleasures to the fullest!

Researchers have even come up with a word that describes enjoying life: savoring.

“Savoring: Thoughts or behaviors capable of generating, intensifying, and prolonging enjoyment”

When you take a walk and suddenly think about how beautiful everything around you is, you are savoring. When you listen to your wife and cannot help yourself but feel lucky for being with her; you are savoring.

The immediate benefit of savoring? You are more confident. You are actually enjoying every little or big pleasure life has to offer to the fullest. Now that’s a habit I want in my life!

But how do you make savoring a habit? By practicing mindfulness. Here’s how to practice mindfulness: A Simple Guide to Mindfulness for Beginners

There you have it. Seven ways to become the happiest person on earth. Which one will you choose to expand on?

Featured photo credit: Allef Vinicius via unsplash.com

More by this author

Maria Brilaki

Maria helps people create habits that stick not just for a month or two but for years and decades.

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Last Updated on March 5, 2021

Science Says People Who Talk To Themselves Are Geniuses

Science Says People Who Talk To Themselves Are Geniuses

I talk a lot to myself. It helps me to keep my concentration on the activity on hand, makes me focus more on my studies, and gives me some pretty brilliant ideas while chattering to myself; more importantly, I produce better works. For example, right now, as I am typing, I am constantly mumbling to myself. Do you talk to yourself? Don’t get embarrassed admitting it because science has discovered that those who talk to themselves are actually geniuses… and not crazy!

Research Background

Psychologist-researcher Gary Lupyan conducted an experiment where 20 volunteers were shown objects, in a supermarket, and were asked to remember them. Half of them were told to repeat the objects, for example, banana, and the other half remained silent. In the end, the result shown that self-directed speech aided people to find the objects faster, by 50 to 100 milliseconds, compared to the silent ones.

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“I’ll often mutter to myself when searching for something in the refrigerator or the supermarket shelves,” said Gary Lupyan.

This personal experience actually made him conduct this experiment. Lupyan, together with another psychologist, Daniel Swigley, came up with the outcomes that those to talk to oneself are geniuses. Here are the reasons:

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It stimulates your memory

When you are talking to yourself, your sensory mechanism gets activated. It gets easier on your memory since you can visualize the word, and you can act accordingly.[1]

It helps stay focused

When you are saying it loud, you stay focused on your task,[2] and it helps you recognise that stuff immediately. Of course, this only helps if you know what the object you are searching looks like. For example, a banana is yellow in colour, and you know how a banana looks like. So when you are saying it loud, your brain immediately pictures the image on your mind. But if you don’t know what banana looks like, then there is no effect of saying it loud.

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It helps you clarify your thoughts

Every one of us tends to have various types of thoughts. Most make sense, while the others don’t. Suppose you are furious at someone and you feel like killing that person. Now for this issue you won’t run to a therapist, will you? No, what you do is lock yourself in a room and mutter to yourself. You are letting go off the anger by talking to yourself, the pros and cons of killing that person, and eventually you calm down. This is a silly thought that you have and are unable to share it with any other person. Psychologist Linda Sapadin said,[3]

“It helps you clarify your thoughts, tend to what’s important and firm up any decisions you are contemplating.”

Featured photo credit: Girl Using Laptop In Hotel Room/Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

Reference

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