Laurie Santos, a professor of psychology at Yale University, believes that most people have no idea what they need to be happy. Many believe they will start living a better life as soon as they become rich or get a new job. But they will be disappointed. In fact, research shows that happiness is a skill that everyone can learn. Here are a few techniques and attitudes to help you experience more positive emotions every day.
Share pleasurable experiences with others
A lot of scientific work confirms: when people do something together, it gives them more pleasure. In one study, volunteers were asked to eat chocolate. If they could share it with a stranger neighbor, it seemed to taste better.
To get the most out of travel and walks, going to restaurants, exhibitions and concerts, take your friends with you. Also, try to take fewer pictures. This process engages the vision and related parts of the brain. Other senses are dulled and emotions become less vivid
🙏 Don't pass up opportunities to help others
Researchers from Oxford found out: helping others on a regular basis increases happiness. Saving lives isn't necessary for this. Even small actions - pointing the right way, helping to carry a heavy bag, transferring R100 to a charity, holding the elevator door - will improve psychological well-being.
By doing something for others, people feel included in the human community. The brain finds this behavior helpful and, to reinforce it, releases a dose of mood-enhancing dopamine
🎲 Make choices less often in everyday life
Making a decision is stressful. The brain is forced to evaluate and compare a huge number of factors in a matter of minutes. And later, it may turn out that the decision it makes is not the best one. This will lead to stress again.
It's good to reduce the number of decisions to be happy. Try eating the same thing for breakfast every day. Or, for example, buy five sets of casual clothes to go to work. This will save time and energy for more important decisions and keep from destructive doubts
🐶 Get a pet.
If you have the energy and resources for a pet, it's worth getting one. According to research, dog owners are less likely to feel lonely and their lives seem full of meaning. Dog owners tend to have higher socialization levels and lower anxiety levels. Daily walks give them the exercise they need.
All in all, a dog makes life better on several fronts at once, helps them improve their physical and mental health and makes every day a little more joyful.
😬 Don't devalue achievements.
People often devalue their successes. It's enough to compare them with the achievements of other people: there is always someone more successful.
This is especially noticeable among winners of sports competitions. Silver medalists often feel unhappy because they compare themselves to gold medalists. Meanwhile, the bronze medalists experience an emotional lift: they have managed to take a place on the podium, unlike the majority. It is the same in ordinary life: our mood depends on who we compare ourselves to.
You can fight this with the help of negative visualization. When analyzing your successes, it is important not to look for what someone else did better, but to visualize in color what could have prevented you
🙋♂️ Talk to strangers
Try not to avoid conversations with people you don't know or don't know at all: fellow travelers, neighbors, concierges and store cashiers. A couple of friendly phrases will be enough to improve your mood.
It's critical for people to feel connected to others. It reduces stress and anxiety, boosts confidence and is simply enjoyable. And it also helps combat feelings of loneliness, the main enemy of happiness
😭 Don't suppress painful memories and thoughts.
Strong and unpleasant emotions don't go away on their own, and painful memories are rarely forgotten. They usually live on the edge of consciousness, forcing the brain to expend energy suppressing them and causing chronic stress.
If something unpleasant happened, you need to find a way to talk about it. Better with someone who is supportive, such as a friend. This will help to put your thoughts and feelings in order, to look at the situation in a new way and so lessen the stress reaction. You can also try describing an unpleasant situation on paper - this is called writing therapy
🧠 Imagine possible problems.
The brain doesn't care if we are experiencing an event in reality or imagining it. You can use this by preparing for events that make you anxious - like tackling a difficult task or having an unpleasant conversation. The method is called mental contrasting.
Before the event, imagine in as much detail as possible what could go wrong during it - and how you will deal with it. This will help your brain gain experience for dealing with possible problems. As a result, if trouble does happen, it will be easier to deal with
🤟 Switch to a growth mindset.
This term was coined by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck. Growth mindset is an approach to life where failure is seen only as a workout. Just because something fails now doesn't mean it never will. Especially with new knowledge and experience.
In practice, this means that you should not give up on yourself if it seems that you can not make a lot of money, run a business or speak English. Determine what skills you lack - and work on acquiring and improving them
Smile more often.
Even if you don't feel like it. Scientists have found that it has a beneficial effect on your inner state.
Smiling makes your facial muscles work the way they do during happy moments. It tricks the brain: it decides that something very good is going on in its owner's life right now, and turns on the production of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters.