If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands! If you’re happy and you know it shout hurray!
Remember the famous nursery rhyme that teaches kids how to be happy? Well, this is no rhymes session, but the point here is that even as kids, we are taught that happiness is one of the greatest positive emotions and that we must find and celebrate it. But finding it seems to be the toughest part for a simple Google search on ‘How can I be happy’ throws up 29,80,00,000 results! Clearly, the world is at a loss when it comes to recognizing the simplest emotion of all and looking for ways to achieve it. Dalai Lama once said – “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” Here’s what action you should be taking to find your own Zen state.
#1 Exercise: One Minute of All-Out Workout is All You Need
Yes, we are all hard pressed for time and that’s why the new one-minute workout is all the rage. According to the latest studies, one minute of arduous exercise has similar physiological effects as 45 minutes of gentler sweating. The workout in question here is ‘high-intensity interval training’ which refers to bursts of high-impact activity such as a sprint interspersed with light, low-impact activities such as jogging or even resting. For all those who claimed they had ‘no time to exercise’ this one quashes all your excuses!
#2 Sleep more: It equals less responsiveness to unhappy emotions
Not only is sound sleep vital for optimal productivity, it is also the key to achieve happiness. Not sleeping enough is linked to lower levels of optimism, more sensitivity to negative emotions, lower academic and workplace performance, and of course bad health. So how do you load up on quality sleep? Eat the right foods for stress-relief, try meditation or other relaxation techniques to soothe your frayed senses, and if all the common sleep-inducing methods fail, don’t hesitate to see the doctor – you might need a bit of medical help before you can doze off like a baby.
#3 De-clutter your mind to make room for positivity
Maintaining a healthy state of mind is key to flushing out the negative emotions. Keep your mind clutter-free by delegating extra work at hand to an assistant or team members, spend more time with family and friends, enjoy a sport or new hobby or just de-stress by listening to your favourite music.
#4 Just 20 minutes of fresh air could make you happier
In his book The Happiness Advantage author Shawn Achor cites a study that proved ‘spending 20 minutes outside in good weather boosts positive mood, improves working memory, and broadens thinking’. Exposure to sunlight also helps the body produce more vitamin D – a known depression-fighting nutrient. Isn’t 20 minutes short enough to be fit into a lunch break or a commute to and from office? If rejuvenating your energy and finding happiness is as easy as this – we think it’s a must-do folks!
#5 Money can’t buy you happiness but helping others can
Pro-social spending – the new trend of spending money on others to make yourself happy has solid science behind it. Research has found that a deed of kindness produces the single-highest momentary increase in the feeling of well-being as compared to any other exercise tested. Volunteering for a cause, giving food and shelter to the homeless, or just buying a loved one something they need is truly happiness at a higher level.
Final fact: Practice gratitude to find instant happiness
Maintain a gratitude journal where you jot down each day all the things, people, and situations you are grateful for. On days when you are happy, the journal will be easy to write but on days when you are not, looking back at the pages of the journal, you will be amazed to see how fortunate you are in spite of whatever you may have gone through that day. It works like magic to reinforce your faith in positivity and finding happiness.