How Do You Make Yourself Feel Better – Happiness is interesting because we all have different ideas about what it is and how to get it. If you see our blog about it, it’s no wonder it’s the number one cultural asset. So naturally, we’re obsessed with it.
I want to be happier, as I’m sure many people do, so I thought it would be fun to find ways to become a happier person with the support of science. Here are ten of the best I’ve found.
How Do You Make Yourself Feel Better
You may have seen some talk in the New York Times recently about the scientific seven-minute workout. If you thought exercise was something you didn’t have time for, you probably are.
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Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it has been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In a study cited in Sean Ecor’s book,
, three groups of patients treated their depression with medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. The results of this study really surprised me. Although all three groups showed similar improvements in happiness, the follow-up assessments appeared to be significantly different:
The groups were examined six months later to assess their relapse rates. Of those who took the drug alone, 38 percent relapsed into depression. Participants in the combination group fared only slightly better, with a relapse rate of 31%. The exercise group had the biggest hit: their relapse rate was only 9%!
You don’t have to be depressed to benefit from exercise. Even if you don’t lose weight, it can help you relax, improve brain function, and even improve your body image.
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Body weight, body shape and body image were assessed in 16 men and 18 women before and after 6 x 40 minutes of exercise and 6 x 40 minutes of reading. Body weight and shape did not change in any condition. All aspects of body image improved post-exercise compared to before.
We previously explored exercise in depth and looked at how it affects our brain, such as releasing proteins and endorphins that make us happier, as seen in the image below.
We know that sleep helps our bodies recover and regenerate after the day, and helps us focus and be more productive. It turns out that it’s also important for our happiness.
Negative stimuli are processed by the amygdala, and positive or neutral memories are processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation affects the hippocampus more strongly than the amygdala. As a result, people who are sleep-deprived cannot remember happy memories, but remember sad ones. In one of Walker’s experiments, sleep-deprived college students tried to memorize lists of words. They were able to recall 81% of words with negative connotations, such as “cancer.” But they could only remember 31% of words with a positive or neutral meaning, such as “sun” or “basket”.
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Evidence shows that sleep affects our sensitivity to negative emotions. Using a facial recognition task during the day, the researchers studied how sensitive the participants were to positive and negative emotions. Those who worked without sleep during the day were more sensitive to negative emotions such as fear and anger at night.
Using a face recognition task, we demonstrate increased activation of anger and fear during daytime sleep deprivation. However, intermittent sleep inhibited and even reversed these negative emotional responses to anger and fear, while increasing levels of positive (happy) expressions.
Of course, how much sleep you get (and how much) can affect how you feel when you sleep, which can change your entire day. In particular, this graph of how your brain declines is a great example of how important getting enough sleep is to productivity and happiness:
Researchers have found that the mood of employees during an hour tends to affect how they feel for the rest of the day. Initial sentiment is related to their perception of the customer and how they perceive the customer’s sentiment. Most importantly for managers, employee mood clearly affects performance, including how much and how well employees work.
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Sleep Another topic we’ve covered before is exploring how much sleep we need.
Our commute to the office has a surprisingly powerful effect on our happiness. We tend to do it twice a day, five days a week, and its effects compound over time, making us more or less happy.
… While many random circumstances don’t affect our happiness in the long run because we get used to them, people never get used to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, because sometimes the traffic is terrible and sometimes it’s not. Or as Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert says, “Daily commuting is another hell.”
We try to compensate by getting a bigger house or a better job, but these compensations don’t work:
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Two Swiss economists who studied the effects of travel on happiness found that such factors do not compensate for the suffering caused by long trips.
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. If you want more proof that it’s good for you, I found some research that shows it can actually make you happier.
Even for introverts, social time is invaluable in increasing our happiness. Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family has a significant impact on our happiness.
Make Yourself Feel Great. Positive Emotions Keep Change Ongoing…
We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends, and almost everything else that makes us happy is just a way to get more family and friends.
In a March 2008 interview with the Journal on Grant Study, Vaillant was asked, “What have you learned from the Grant Study staff?” asked. Vaillant’s response: “What really matters in life is your relationships with other people.”
He found that male relationships at age 47 predicted late adjustment more than any other variable except defensiveness. Good fraternal ties seem particularly strong: 93 percent of men who flourished at age 65 had close siblings when they were younger.
In researching a panel of British households, I found that increased levels of community involvement are worth £85,000 a year in life satisfaction. Real changes in income rarely bring happiness.
Ways To Make Yourself Feel Good
. So we can increase our annual income by hundreds of thousands of dollars and still not be as happy as we are by increasing the strength of our social relationships.
We found that if a Terman participant honestly felt that they had friends and family when they were going through a tough time, that person would be healthier. We hypothesized that those who felt the most loved and cared for lived the longest. Surprise: our hypothesis was wrong. Outside of social networks, the most obvious benefits of social relationships come from helping others. Those who helped, advised and cared for their friends and neighbors tended to live to a ripe old age. Go outside – the maximum temperature will be 13.9 °C
Spending time outside on a nice day also has great benefits. One study found that spending 20 minutes in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but also broadened thinking and improved working memory.
That’s pretty good news for those of us who worry about fitting new habits into our already busy schedules. Twenty minutes is a short enough time to spend outside that you can fit it into your commute or even your lunch break.
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Outside, near the sea, is the perfect place for most people on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon. In fact, participants were found to be happier in all outdoor environments than in urban environments.
A study published in 2011 found that the current temperature has a greater impact on our happiness than variables such as wind speed and humidity, or even the average temperature during the day. It also revealed that the maximum happy temperature is 13.9°C, so check the weather forecast before heading out for 20 minutes of fresh air.
The relationship between productivity and temperature is another topic we’ve talked about a lot here. It’s fascinating what small changes in temperature can do.
One of the most counterintuitive ideas I’ve come across is that in order to feel happier, you need to help others. In fact, 100 hours a year (or two hours a week) is the perfect amount of time to devote to helping others enrich our lives.
How To Make Yourself Feel Comfortable
… When researchers surveyed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that the money was spent on events such as concerts.
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