5 things you can do right NOW to be happier

5 things you can do right NOW to be happier

Happiness may be less elusive than you think.

This is the first line of an article by Juliana Breines on the Psychology Today website. 

It's also what we've been saying here at The Happiness Institute for over a decade now. 

Happiness need not be overcomplicted; all that hard to achieve; or requiring of massive amounts of effort. 

Rather, achieving happiness takes little more than enacting a few simple activities each and every day; and here are 5 simple activities you can start right now…

Many factors influence happiness, and some of these factors are outside of our control—research suggests that around 50% of individual variation in happiness is based on genetics, and 10-20% is based on life circumstances like health status and income level. Happiness does come more easily to some people than to others.

But there is hope. Research conducted by Sonja Lyubomirsky and her colleagues has found that up to 40% of individual variation in happiness is shaped by intentional behaviors—the things we do every day, moment to moment. These behaviors have the potential to diminish or enhance our happiness.

What kinds of intentional behaviors are more likely to enhance happiness? Here are a few of them:

1. Do something active. Research suggests that physical activity is one of the more effective ways to increase happiness—so effective that some studies have found that it works just as well as antidepressant medications in alleviating depression and may have more lasting effects. The problem is, feeling down doesn’t generally lend itself to wanting to run around. To make exercise seem less daunting, keep in mind that you don’t need to join a gym or run a marathon to reap its benefits. Even walking around the block can make a difference, as can dancing around your living room, stretching in your office, or even cleaning.

2. Do something new. One of the biggest obstacles to improving happiness levels is hedonic adaptation, which refers to our tendency to get used to things when we’re exposed to them over and over. When it comes to positive things, this means we enjoy them less. So even if you already have a go-to mood-booster (like watching your favorite Saturday Night Live sketches on YouTube), you may find that it’s less effective the more often you use it. Interspersing new activities with the tried-and-true can add more variety and spontaneity to your routine, reducing the effects of hedonic adaptation…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE