Welcome to Today’s Thoughts on how to be happy in life. If you’re here then you’re most likely feeling sad, low, depressed or just plain’ol not happy. Well just let me tell you that felling this way is fine and many if not all people go through stretches or periods of time being unhappy, but why does this happen and what do we do to fix it? First the why, there can be many different things that can cause us to be unhappy like a break-up, divorce, death or sometimes its just the little things like you’re having a bad day, the sky seems gray, or you’ve bleached a colored shirt. Sometimes you don’t even have to have a reason but however big or small the feeling of sadness is, there are things that can be done to help us cope and feel better especially when used for prolonged periods of time. These exercises and practices lead us to a happier mood and that is something all of us can use a little more of. Here is Today’s Thoughts Fav 5 on Becoming Happier.
5. Heal past traumas. If you find yourself consistently feeling down or upset, you might have some underlying issues from your past holding you back in the present. In the United States a report of child abuse is made about every 10 seconds. This is only accounting for reports of abuse. A lot of abuse and other traumatic childhood experiences go unreported to authorities. Trauma from the past or even just painful circumstances such as the death of a loved one or a bad break-up can cause mild to severe depression. If you have tried everything you can think of to make yourself happier, there is a chance you could be dealing with something along these lines. If you have the resources available to you, consider seeking counseling from a licensed professional. The counselor can help you work through the past trauma or painful memories in healthy and safe ways. A counselor can also make referrals for you if you or the counselor feels an anti-depressant medication (for use temporarily or long term depending on your situation) is appropriate for your case. There is nothing wrong with seeking help! If you are feeling really embarrassed or self-conscious about seeing a counselor, you should know they are bound by very strict privacy and confidentiality laws. No one has to know you are receiving therapy except you and your counselor or doctor. Working through past traumas with a counselor may be difficult at the time, but it will greatly increase your quality of life in the long run. Many communities and universities offer therapy through low-cost public clinics. Check in your area to see if this is an option. Common treatments for trauma include cognitive-behavioral therapy, talk therapy, exposure therapy, and pharmacotherapy. These therapies can help you learn new ways of thinking and responding to situations and process your feelings. If you don’t have access to professional counseling services, you could try using self-help books at your local library or talking to someone you trust about your feelings. Religious ministers and support groups are often places to go for free support. Often just the act of talking things out with someone you love and trust and who will support is a healing act in itself. Healing past trauma is an important step in how to be happy.
4. Treat your body like it deserves to be happy. Your brain isn’t the only organ in your body that deserves to be happy. Assure vigorous exercise, a healthy diet, and regular sleep — key factors in how to be happy and to stay that way. Achieve high levels of life satisfaction, better physical health, for improved longevity. People who are physically active have higher enthusiasm and excitement. Scientists hypothesize that exercise causes the brain to release chemicals called endorphin’s that elevate our mood. Eat right. Eating healthy foods — fruits and vegetables, lean meats and proteins, whole grains, nuts, and seeds — gives your body and brain the energy it needs to be healthy. Research indicates that unhealthy diets, especially those rich in processed carbohydrates, sugars, and industrial vegetable fats are responsible for some cell death, brain shrinkage and contributes to certain diseases like depression and dementia. Get enough restful sleep. Study after study confirms it: the more sleep you get, the happier you tend to be. Getting just a single extra hour of sleep per night makes the average person happier than making $60,000 more in annual income, astoundingly enough. Research has also showed that employees who get enough rest are more productive and successful. So if you’re middle-aged, shoot to get at least eight hours of sleep per night; the young and elderly should shoot for 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night.
3. Be optimistic. Why does winning the lottery not make people happy? In the 1970s, researchers followed people who’d won the lottery and found that a year afterward, they were no happier than people who hadn’t. This is called hedonic adaptation, which suggests that we each have a “baseline” of happiness to which we return. No matter what events occur, good or bad, the effect on our happiness is temporary, and happiness tends to quickly revert to the baseline level. Some people have a higher baseline happiness level than others, and that is due in part to genetics, but it’s also largely influenced by how you think. There is power in intentions, having a purpose: Positive thinking is an important component of how to be happy, self-esteem and overall life satisfaction. Optimism also tends to make your personal and work relationships better. Optimism is more than just positive expectations. It’s a way of interpreting everything that happens to you. Pessimism tends to explain the world in global, unchangeable, internal terms: “Everything sucks,” “I can’t do anything to change this,” “It’s all my fault.” Developing an optimistic outlook means thinking about yourself and your world in limited, flexible terms. For example, a pessimistic outlook might say “I’m terrible at math. I’m going to fail that test tomorrow. I might as well just watch TV.” This statement suggests that your math skills are inherent and unchangeable, rather than a skill you can develop with work. Such an outlook could lead you to study less because you feel like there’s no point to it — you’re just an inherently bad mathematics student. This isn’t helpful. An optimistic outlook would say something like “I’m concerned about doing well on that test tomorrow, but I’m going to study as well as I can and do my best.” Optimism doesn’t deny the reality of challenges, but it interprets how you approach them differently. “Blind optimism” isn’t any healthier than pessimism. To go skydiving on your own without any preparation or training because you’re optimistic about your abilities is obviously a bad idea that could lead you to injury. True optimism acknowledges the reality of situations and equips you to face them.