Happiness and Wellness are interelated They may even be used interchangeably. Are you happy because you are well? Or, are you well because you are happy? Not sure, but I do know that they seldom appear without one another.
Especially in these stressful pandemic times. When it seems that the whole world is stressed and anxious. Don’t seem to be that many happy people out there. What can we do? How can we be happier in life? Here are 5 simple things that we can do on an everyday basis to help us to be happier.
Spend Time with Loved Ones
I’ve always found that I’m happiest when I’m around the people I love. Friends and family always seem to be able to cheer me up. This might seem obvious to many but sometimes we take these people for granted. They are always there. Often times we are so caught up in our own lives that we forget.
Simple. If you are feeling down now, think of who would make you feel better. Not everyone might be available but I’m sure you would be able to find at least one person. Make time to spend with them! If it’s one thing this Covid 19 has taught me is that life is finite. We do not have unlimited time on this planet. What time we do have should be spent being happy. Not stressed, anxious, sad etc. It’s the most important thing!
If you can’t physically be with someone, technology can help. There are so many ways now to both talk to and see the other person that there is no excuse not to. I know that Zoom and WhatsApp calls with friends and family have been a huge help to me. This is a win win situation as it makes both parties happier.
A recent study by the British Academy of Sound Therapy found that listening to music for 78 minutes a day helps maintain good mental health. We can all see that music is connected to our emotions so this seems perfectly sensible to me.
“There are certain properties of music that affect the mind and body. Dedicating time each day to listen to music that triggers different emotions can have a hugely beneficial impact on our well-being,” says Lyz Cooper, from the British Academy of Sound Therapy.
The researchers even came up with a Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) Guide, just like for food. Here is a look at their research.
* 14 minutes of uplifting music (user’s choice) to feel happy
(18% of your musical RDA)
* 16 minutes of calming music (user’s choice) to feel relaxed
(20.5% of your music RDA)
* 16 minutes of music (user’s choice) to overcome sadness
(20.5% of your music RDA)
* 15 minutes of motivating music (user’s choice) to aid concentration
(19% of your music RDA)
* 17 minutes of music (user’s choice) to help manage anger
(22% of your music RDA)
I notice that it’s the “user’s choice” which makes sense as my taste in music may not be yours. Or, worse still, your parents or children’s music!
I personally know that spending time in nature has a positive effect on my mood and happiness. Just going for a walk on a tree lined trail is beneficial to me. Now it seems there is science to back this up. The University of Vermont ran a study on peoples happiness by analyzing their Twitter feeds.
They scored people’s “happiness” by rating the words that they used in their tweets. Tweets made in parks contained fewer negative words and fewer first person pronouns like “I” and “me”. This analysis consisted of thousands of people and their tweets before, during and after park visits. It seems that being in nature makes people better and more happy.
Breathe and Smile
At first glance this seems to be obvious. But again it is something that we all take for granted. So much so that we are not even conscious of whether we are doing it or not. I mean, we know that we are breathing or if not, we would be dead.
What we do not realize, is how much we hold our breath subconsciously. Because I’m aware of it now, I’m regularly catching myself with my neck muscles tight and holding my breath. This happens more often when I’m stressed or anxious. Seems to be a more common occurrence in modern life. When I become aware, I literally make myself pause and take a few deep breaths. It’s amazing the difference this makes!
“When you smile, the whole world smiles with you” Can’t remember who said that but it rings true. I often catch myself frowning as I go about my daily business. My face muscles are all tense as if I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. Again, once I become aware I try to remember that I’m OK and smile. It’s tough at first but soon becomes a habit with a little practice. It’s amazing the effect these 2 little things can have on your mood.
Talk with Someone
Lots of us are private people or even introverts. So, we always try to deal with our problems or issues on our own. Most times we can get by with this. But sometimes it helps to talk to someone if things keep bothering you. It could be a good friend or relative. This normally is enough to get me back on track.
But sometimes it may not help or people are unavailable. Then it’s important to see a professional. I know that this is a big step. And, we feel that by doing this we have crossed a line and feel like we have “mental problems”. This could be dangerous for us. However, again technology comes to our aid as there are groups available to us online to chat or arrange telemedicine appointments. Won’t go into this anymore as it is a sensitive subject. Just be aware of the possibilities.
Amazingly these are simple steps that we can all use to deal with the complex problems of our time. How hard is it to make time to keep in contact with good friends or family? Or to spend time in a park or in nature? Everybody can remember to breathe, smile and talk to people. If we can get into these good habits, it will have a profound effect on our happiness. And also on the happiness of those around us. Win win situation.
OK so I’ll end here as I’m off for a walk on the bike trail with my son. I’m breathing and smiling and we will talk about whose music it’s our turn to listen to. Stay safe and happy.