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10 Simple Habits to Help You Become Happier

10 Simple Habits to Help You Become Happier

According to the 2013 World Happiness Report, America is considered the 17th happiest country in the world. However, America is one of the few nations with freedom, equal rights and wealth. Why aren’t we happier?

Start your journey to a happier you by incorporating these 10 easy habits into your life.

1. Stop Shopping

Put down the plastic and step away from the cash register! According to this Science of Happiness infographic, consumerism is the biggest obstacle to happiness around the world.

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Retail therapy is only a temporary fix to make you happy. You may experience the joy of instant gratification when purchasing something you want, but, as the saying goes, “you can’t buy happiness.” Often times, shopping will lead to buyer’s guilt or jealousy because you can’t afford a certain product.

2. Work Out Often

Make a mix playlist of your favorite songs and hit the gym. Burning off calories and strengthening your muscles only touches the surface of the benefits of working out. Underneath all of your physical components lie some awesome chemicals called endorphins. When you break a sweat, these endorphins are released, and they bring about a feel-good reaction that promotes happiness. That’s why healthy people are generally 20% happier than the average person.

Ultimately, staying active can naturally cause you to feel more excitement and enthusiasm for daily activities. Adding music and friends to share in the workout experience can also lighten your stress load and help you unwind.

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    3. Eat Bananas

    It’s no doubt that this fruit is “top banana” when it comes to triggering happiness. Not only is this super food cost-effective and abundant year-round, it is also simple and portable for when you need it the most. What gives bananas their star-power is the amount of tryptophan and tyrosine they contain, which change into the hormone serotonin. Eating one banana can calm your body and mind while giving you the right amount of energy and brain power to face the day.

    4. Attend Church

    Denomination aside, attending church regularly can actually boost your mood.This simple hour can grant you time for reflection, causing you to put your worries and stresses on hold. Church can also be a place to release your stress and emotions. Additionally, church is a good place for socializing and talking with people of like minds. It doesn’t matter what walk of life you come from: a place of worship can put all in attendance on an equal playing field, joining together for a common purpose. This can put you in a better, more optimistic mood and put your issues into perspective.

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    happiness and church

      5. Volunteer

      It goes without saying that lending a helping hand is a reward in itself. Using your skills and expertise to assist the less fortunate can boost your happiness. After all, you’ve accomplished something for the greater good. Start small and maybe prepare a meal for your elderly neighbors or volunteer to cook and serve dinner at a local soup kitchen. Bringing some life and light back into someone’s life and seeing their happiness and gratitude is contagious.

      6. Enjoy Friendship

      Laughter is one of the best prescriptions for daily happiness. Find a group of friends and enjoy a distraction-free evening reminiscing and talking about your lives together. Avoid gossip and venting about problems that plague you. Chances are that you’ve fixated enough on these problems and it’s time to let things go. Keep in mind that often your friends know you well enough to give you sound advice. Take it and then let the conversation shift to something more lighthearted.

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      7. Plan Your Day

      Having a set schedule can alleviate stress and tension throughout your day. Plan your meals a week in advance and cook ahead on the weekends. Each evening, set aside a few minutes to ready clothing and items that you need for the next day. Remember, it takes at least 30 days to make a habit, so try it for a month. Each day, schedule in some flexibility or “me” time to relax. Keeping your own needs in mind is a great way to stay organized and in control of your life so you can enjoy each moment.

      8. Eat Healthy

      Eating a well-balanced meal can keep your metabolism going strong all day long. This will give you enough energy to sustain your daily routines and feel great. Strive to eat as naturally as possible. Cutting corners by eating pre-packaged and processed foods can actually make you feel lethargic and cause problems such as gas and unpleasant digestive issues. Make sure to eat plenty of lean protein like chicken or fish paired with some green vegetables for brainpower and focus. Don’t forget that banana!

      9. Turn Off the TV

      The temptation to turn on the TV for “noise” or to relax can actually be harmful to your health and your happiness. Don’t turn on the TV  while you’re doing something pleasurable and relaxing, like cooking or spending time with your family. These activities deserve your focus and will reduce your stress levels, if you aren’t multitasking.  So much television programming is made up of negative reports about crime and accidents, violence, or chaos, even having it on in the background can actually boost your stress levels. Try turing on some classical or smooth jazz music to relax your body and mind. Turn off the TV and give yourself some reflective time to read a book or play a game with your family.

      10. Meditate

      Tap into your inner wisdom in the morning for an easier and happier start to your day. Through focusing on positive thoughts, you can train yourself to view your accomplishments, your body and your relationships in a positive light. This improves your confidence and self-worth. Breathe deeply.  Challenge yourself to try the Loving Kindness Meditation. Channeling all of your love and joy to others will bring happiness back to you, magnified.

      You don’t need to change your entire life to find happiness. Start with these simple habits that can help refocus your mind on what is important and increase the joy you find in everyday living.

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      Last Updated on December 9, 2019

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

      Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

      Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

      1. Get Rationally Optimistic

      Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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      This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

      In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

      The result: no more mental stress.

      2. Unplug

      Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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      How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

      It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

      Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

      3. Easy on the Caffeine

      Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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      Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

      4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

      That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

      How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

      • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
      • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
      • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

      While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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      5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

      This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

      The result: mental stress will be gone!

      So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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      Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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