Happiness is a fleeting emotion for most of us. It comes and goes and often feels like something we can’t quite grasp or control.
This is especially true when we’re going through hard times; it feels impossible to be happy in the midst of stress, fear, anxiety, or sadness. The fact that happiness is so difficult for so many people leads some to conclude that it’s simply not possible to be happy all the time.
Those who believe this usually subscribe to the idea that happiness has a ceiling—no matter how positive or optimistic you are, there are natural limits on your ability to be happy. Everything from our genes to our parents and where we live can also have an impact on our levels of happiness. There are many things in life that make us unhappy. However, being unhappy doesn’t mean you can’t change and find joy again; it just means you need some guidance to get there. Here are a few ways you can become happier regardless of your circumstance:
The Psychology of Happiness
There are a few different factors that determine whether or not you’ll be happy. First, you have to identify if you have the ability to be happy. In other words, are you able to recognize the positive things in your life and experience joy? These are the basics of being happy. The next step is taking control of your emotions. Too often we let our negative feelings get the best of us. We’re impatient and impulsive, and we get stuck in our heads. When you’re in this depressed or anxious state, it’s hard to see the good stuff in your life. And though you may be able to recognize the positive emotions, they’re not strong enough to pull you out of your funk.
Why are we Happy?
There’s a lot of research being done to try and answer this question. But many scientists believe that being happy can help you live longer, be more productive, and achieve more in life. One study found that people who are happy tend to be healthier. They studied people for over 50 years and found that those who were happy were less likely to develop health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Another study found that people who are happy are more likely to be successful. Researchers looked at students’ levels of happiness and found that those who were happy were more likely to do well in school and go on to make more money in their careers. For many, being happy is associated with feeling appreciated and loved. But other feelings like gratitude, compassion, and optimism can also lead you to the happiness you’re after.
3 Ways to be Happier Right Now
– Be present.
One of the main reasons we’re unhappy is because we’re stuck in our heads. We’re thinking about the past or worrying about the future. So many people are so focused on the things they don’t have, who they can’t be, or what has gone wrong that they miss out on the good stuff that’s happening right now. When you notice you’re stuck in your head, try to let go of those thoughts and bring your attention back to the present moment.
– Convert your negative thoughts into gratitude.
When you’re stuck in negative, pessimistic thoughts, it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of unhappiness. Instead of letting that happen, try flipping those thoughts into something more positive. Instead of dwelling on the fact that you don’t have enough money in your bank account, turn that thought into gratitude for the job (or career) that allows you to make enough money to support your loved ones.
-Convert your negative feelings into positive ones.
If you’re feeling anxious, impulsive, or impatient, try to turn that into something positive. If impatience is holding you back, try converting that into curiosity. If anxiety is taking over your life, try turning that into gratitude. And if you’re feeling negative, turn that into positive action.
How Your Brain Makes You Happy
Your brain is capable of making you happy, but it’s also responsible for your sad moods. It’s a complicated organ that’s been evolving since the first humans walked the earth. Your brain is made up of billions of neurons (brain cells) that are connected through trillions of connections called synapses. All of these cells and connections help you to process information, store memories and make decisions. Neurons are constantly sending messages to one another through chemicals called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters tell your neurons how to respond to certain situations.
For example, when you experience stress, your neurons release a chemical called cortisol. This chemical is designed to help you react quickly to dangerous situations. When everything goes back to normal, your neurons tell each other to stop producing cortisol. But for some people, the “everything’s back to normal” moment never comes. Instead of stopping the production of cortisol, their neurons remain “on alert” and keep pumping the hormone into the system.
The science of happiness
Scientists have found that the more positive experiences you have, the happier you are. This means you don’t have to be constantly ecstatic to be happy; you just have to be present for the good things happening in your life. You don’t have to have everything you want to be happy right now, either. In fact, you can be grateful for what you have, even if you don’t have everything you desire.
3 Strategies to Build Longterm Happiness
– Nurture relationships.
One of the best ways to feel happy is to spend time with the people you love. Studies show that having strong relationships can help prevent anxiety, improve your immune system, and reduce stress. Even if you’re not currently in a romantic relationship, you can still benefit from having good friends. You can nurture your relationships by spending time with the people you care about. When you spend time with loved ones, you’re not just helping them. You’re also helping yourself.
– Manage stress.
There are many things in life that cause stress. You can’t avoid it completely, but you can manage stress to prevent it from holding you back. Manage stress by setting realistic goals, accepting that not everything will go as planned, and finding a healthy outlet for your energy.
– Be grateful.
Being grateful has proven to be one of the best ways to build long-term happiness. When you’re grateful for what you have, you’re less likely to obsess about what you don’t have.
Happiness is a subjective and abstract concept and one that everyone needs to define for themselves. It is a concept that can be broken down into three major areas of life: physical, mental, and social. To be happy, all three of these areas must be in line with one another. Life is full of ups and downs, but with the right perspective, it is possible to come out on top no matter what life throws your way.
If you’re looking to improve your life, then start by working on your happiness. It takes time, but it’s the best way to improve everything in your life.