By Darren Croft

If you Google “What is happiness,” you’ll find you are bombarded with results from university studies on the subject, such is the intricacy of the subject matter. 

It sounds easy enough to answer, but if you ask a group of people, you’re likely to come up with a different answer each time. To some, it might be winning the lottery; for others, it might be falling in love; and for some, it might be getting their ideal job. 

The psychology of happiness is a personal question that can delve deeply into one’s soul.  Defining happiness and trying to measure happiness can be harder than it sounds.

Can you put a price on happiness? 

A global study in 2018 by Purdue University found that the ideal income point for an individual is $95,000 for life satisfaction and between $60,000 to $75,000 for emotional well-being. If this is correct, it could be argued that any monies earned beyond those figures would be surplus to requirements regarding happiness. 

The recipe for happiness is a feeling of well-being and contentment without added extras such as stress. Whatever happiness means to you, and however you’re feeling right now, we’ve got some ideas for turning that frown upside down and returning to the happy zone.

Make yourself a playlist

“Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast. To soften rocks, or bend the knotted oak, ” said William Congreve many years ago, and it’s as accurate today as it was then. 

Making a playlist of songs that make you feel good is a great way to lift your spirits, especially when you need a boost.

Make a ‘Happy’ playlist from songs you can relate to or that remind you of happy times you can use as your go-to whenever you feel down or need a pick-me-up. You might not feel like it’s working initially, but before you know it, you’ll sing along to your favorite Slipknot tune without even realizing it.

Keep stress to a minimum

One of the big lessons in life is that there’s no point in getting stressed about things that are beyond your control, and let’s face it, most things are. Whether you’re stuck in traffic, walking in the pouring rain or having a bad hair day, there’s little point in letting it get you down. 

Life throws curveballs at us occasionally, but the feelings always pass- usually after a short time. Accept that things won’t always go to plan, and you’ll find life a lot easier to deal with.

Always take time out to do something you enjoy

The pace of life can sometimes make us forget about essential things such as looking out for ourselves. Even simple things like watching your favorite TV show or relaxing in the bath can uplift your mood. 

Meeting with friends, walking, and trying out a new hobby (especially one you’ve been putting off for a while) are great ways to take your mind off the day-to-day chores and give you a sense of well-being.

Avoid comfort eating

One way we try to make ourselves feel happier is to eat sugary foods and other unhealthy options.

Yes, for a brief moment, you’ll feel a bit of a high, but the following slump is likely to negate that happy feeling. It will make you feel even worse if you follow a strict diet and go over your daily calorie limit.

 Exercise

It doesn’t sound exciting to many, but exercise has been scientifically proven to lift your mood. Even moderate exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel happier. 

The high can also last for some time after exercising, as your heart rate and heart race increase. Choose something you enjoy, such as running, walking, cycling, a game of tennis or whatever your choice of sport is.

Keep on top of your self-esteem

The way you feel about yourself can also affect how happy you are. Avoid putting yourself down too much and respect yourself like a best friend. We all tend to beat ourselves up about things occasionally but try not to dwell on things. 

Kicking yourself when you’re feeling down isn’t always the best way to deal with things, and it can be difficult sometimes to bring yourself back up again. Try some more positive thoughts and mantras to ensure you don’t fall too low.

Don’t spend too much time on your phone

We can all fall into the trap of glancing at our phones too often. It can often leave you with negative emotions.

Giving yourself some phone-free time is an excellent opportunity to remind yourself that other fun things could occupy your time better. 

Instead of falling into bad habits, why not try some new exciting habits?

Don’t neglect social relationships

Socializing is a big factor when it comes to feelings of well-being. Talking things through with people helps you to release tension rather than keeping it inside. It helps strengthen your relationships and enables you to connect with people. Chatting about old stories and new plans is a great way to lift your spirits and give you a positive mindset. 

 Live a healthy lifestyle

If you lead a particularly unhealthy lifestyle, it can have a negative effect on your emotions and leave you feeling sluggish and having low self-esteem. Alcohol can briefly make you feel good, but it is labeled as a depressant and will have the reverse effect if you want to feel happy. Eating and maintaining a healthy diet will leave you with positive emotions, and with a healthy body comes a healthy mind.

Feeling happy is all about your values in life, but if you don’t neglect your well-being and health, live a meaningful life and keep yourself active and surrounded by loved ones, you’ll be well on the road to happiness.

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