When was the last time you observed the beauty of the tree next to your house? Or plants in your lawn with those lovely colours and incredible flowers? Or how long has it been when you watched the sunrise or sunset with a cup of tea without any stress or tension about what you need to do next?
In our everyday life, we are blessed with nature’s miracle and great opportunities to stay happy, yet most of us tend to ignore them in a mad rush of ever changing professional achievements, assignments, pending bills, hours of wait in daily’s traffic and what not. There is an old saying in Sanskrit, which could be translated into “life is happy and joyful when you take it slowly and have time to do nothing”.
With thousands of years of struggle and tendency of fighting for survival, the human brain enjoys the adrenaline rush, which has become a new normal for our brain instead of being relaxed, calm and content. However, most of the scientific and ancient text concludes that our brain is most efficient and productive, when it stays in its natural state, which is being calm, clear and tranquil.
Here are some simple hacks to stay happy and enjoy the beauty of the world around us.
1) Social connection
Humans are designed to live in society and having people around them. Our lifestyle has a huge impact on physical and mental development. Social cohesion has a positive impact on our longevity and happiness. The Ted Talk by Susan Pinker, a developmental psychologist reveals how in-person social interactions are not only necessary for human happiness but also could be a key to health and longevity. Hence, our happiness greatly depends on quality and quantity of time spent with others.
2) Being generous
Generosity is one of the basic human characters and by default, we all feel happy while doing a simple act of kindness and generosity. An experimental study by researchers at the University of Zurich explored the connection between generosity and happiness, providing behavioural and neural evidence that supports the link between generosity and happiness. So, believe it or not, you feel happy when making the decision to give.
3) Practicing gratitude
Saying thank you is one of the simplest ways to make someone happy. The small doses of gratitude have huge impact on chemical reaction in our brains and they make us happier and more joyful. We have a lot to be grateful for in our lives, starting from having a good meal, being healthy, waking up smiling for another day, being surrounded by good friends, family and a lot more. So, if you want to be happy, start expressing your gratitude to them. Want to know more about science behind it? Check this Harvard medical school publication on a research done by two psychologists.
4) Power of mindfulness
Sitting idly, trying to relax, doing nothing and focusing on one thought at a time. This is the key to happiness. Huge amount of ancient text from Eastern world says that happiness depends on ourselves, and a practice of mindfulness is one way to ensure it. Several scientific studies have shown that meditation increases grey matter of the brain. In simple terms, meditation helps grow the happy mind. It is the best stress buster available for free. Moreover, researchers have found out that with regular mediation, brain tends to have noticeably thicker tissue in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for attention and control functions of the brain.
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5) Spend time with nature and stay physically active
Nature has a power to rejuvenate us quickly with full of positive energy. Results showed that those who have done 30 minutes of light exercise including jogging in forests had significantly lower heart rates, they were more relaxed and had less cortisol level leading to less stress and anxiety and better moods than others. The researchers concluded that there’s something about being in the nature that had a beneficial effect on stress reduction. For instance, researchers from Stanford University found that those who walked in nature experienced less anxiety, rumination, as well as more positive emotions in comparison to the urban walkers. They also improved their memory, creativity and liveliness.
Lastly, although it comes from our modern lifestyle, staying away from phone and computer for a day in a week and focusing on building a connection with you own self is another way to make yourself happy and relaxed.
Kuldeep Singh can be reached out at twitter @Kuldeep_lko