Categories
Feel-good and Motivation Self-Help

Four Ways to Increase Your Happiness According to Science

Who doesn’t want happiness? 

Aside from the Grinch, or a rock, probably no one. Masochists perhaps? Kidding aside though, humans naturally want to be happy. We are creatures of comfort. We follow the path of least resistance. 

Happiness is subjective, you already know this. But, are there statistically and scientifically proven ways to increase your level of happiness? Good news, there are, and here are some of them:

 

Mindfulness

There are hundreds of scientific, specifically neurological studies linking meditation practices to healthier brain matter. Mindfulness techniques also have been shown to reduce anxiety and stress levels. 

Source:

themindfulnesssummit.com

 

 

Healthy Relationships

Longitudinal studies of Blue Zone locations(areas with high concentration of octogenarian and centenarians, for example, Okinawa, Japan) have shown that it’s actually relationships and human connections which contributed to their overall health and happiness. 

Source:

www.pursuit-of-happiness.org

 

 

Exercise

Physical exercise changes the structure of the brain. It actually literally makes the brain mass bigger. Exercise also helps reduce depression and anxiety. 

Source: record.umich.edu

 

 

Gratitude / Contentment

Synthetic happiness pertains to the ability of the human mind to alter its perception of what makes itself happy. Several experiments have actually proven this phenomena. In one experiment, patients with retrograde amnesia were asked to rate several paintings. Then they were asked to pick 2. Of those 2, they were informed that they can take home, and own, one painting. When they were asked to rate the complete set of paintings again, the data showed that participants were rating the one they chose higher on the beauty or aesthetic scale. How do we know they are not biased? Because they have repeated this process and produced the same results in retrograde amnesia patients. Retrograde amnesia patients lose memory of prior iterations because of their condition, and thus, any form of bias is removed. What does this mean? It means “synthetic happiness” or happiness about the choice we’ve made, and our explicit choice to be happy about our situation, actually changes our brain’s definition of what makes us happy, simply by making that choice.

Source:

Dan Gilbert – The surprising science of happiness, TED Talk

Photo courtesy: https://unsplash.com/@catalinpop

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.