There are specific techniques one can implement to bring more happiness to his life and to modify his thinking to respond differently to life. Researchers in positive psychology are reporting that a significant part of your happiness comes from what is subjective. This means that a major part of your happiness comes from your internal world -- the way you feel about, interpret, think about and respond to your surroundings.
Here are some specific techniques to plant the seed of happiness. Do these for a period of three weeks on a consistent, structured, and continues base and check for the results. If you see they are benefiting you, make them a part of your daily life. Evidence indicates that in order for you to see any effects, you have to stick to them for at least three weeks.
- Do a gratitude check. Write a list of two to four things you are happy about; these can be new things and should be done on a daily basis. This could be something simple or complex. For example: I am grateful for meeting such and such today, for having a great piece of chocolate, for having this fresh flower and being able to smell it, etc. Being able to focus on the positive of life is your brain's best friend and a nourishing element to its functioning.
- Journal and write about your thought and feelings. Find a time every day to write your thoughts and feelings and let them flow without any specific judgment. Use this time to self-reflect but in a positive, loving and supportive way. Just let these thoughts and feelings move through you freely and write them down. Then within the upcoming days, do a comparison and see what changes are happening. Many times, you will be surprised as how the flow of emotions and thoughts in your body and mind can unleash many repressed feelings and memories and liberate you.
- Exercise regularly. The effect of exercising on your mental well-being is as solid as on your physical body. Regular exercise is a close associate of happiness and it affects serotonin level, which is one of the happy neurotransmitters.
- Meditate on a regular basis. The effect of meditation on the brain is to calm it down and let it go to a neutral state where you can take it to a place you want to, rather than your brain taking you to places you don't want to go. Remember, you are supposed to be in charge of your mind, and meditation helps you do that rather than being a slave to your own thoughts.
- Random acts of kindness for no specific reason or expectation. When you act in kindness and you are not looking for a return, the positive effects are much more intense. Do something kind for someone and let go of any specific expectation as to the outcome.
- Connect to nature. Nature, including sunshine and plants, has been linked to happiness. One of the reasons some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder -- which is an intense sadness -- may be due to the lack of outdoor activities and exposure to sunshine.
Remember, being happy in some ways is a skill and like any other skill, you have to know why you want it, how to get there, and then be determined to accomplish it. Research is overwhelmingly supportive of the fact that even for the people who have had a significant number of hardships, being happy is a task that can be accomplished.
Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD
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