Happiness is, like all emotions, not a permanent state. It’s instead one that we enjoy when we’re in the flux of it, and spend the rest of our time trying to get there when we’re not.
There are a whole range of activities, foods, situations and experiences that can bring it all on a little quicker. So if today is a bit bluer than you were expecting, give these very simple things a try and see if they work.
We mean, obviously. But actually, the consumption of chocolate releases serotonin, the feel-good hormone associated with wellbeing and contentedness. Opt for darker chocolate lower in sugar, as dramatic changes in blood sugar levels can have a negative affect on the stability of your mood.
Move Your Butt
See also exercising. That spin class might feel like you’ve entered the seventh circle of hell for the first half an hour, but afterwards, that serotonin injection you get from working out is going to hit you harder than any amount of booze ever will.
Whack Some Perfume On
Sounds strange, but honestly – floral scents are the way forward. A study conducted by Jeannette Haviland-Jones at Rutgers University in New Jersey found that when asked to write about three different life experiences, people in rooms filled with floral perfume – rather than classic fragrances like Chanel No. 5 and baby power – used three times as many happiness-related words. Haviland-Jones concluded that floral smells increase social interaction and approachable behaviours, therefore increasing happiness. Which brings us to…
Give Your Pals A Call
It goes without saying that making time to socialise with friends – even to speak to them on the phone – is the stress-relieving social interaction we need to stay on top form.
Give More Hugs
Which actually boils down to “touch people more”. But that didn’t feel like an overly appropriate subject headline. Any physical interaction with others is processed by a reward system in the central nervous system. This means that the more we touch or are touched by others – be it a handshake, a pat on the bag, or a proper full-on hug – the more connected we feel to others and the happier we are. According to Paul Zak, a leader in the field of neuroeconomics, we need at least eight hugs a day to feel happier and flood our brains with love and trust hormone oxytocin.
Buy Someone A Present
Not just anyone, someone you know. Giving gifts is another thing that encourages social connections and happiness. Its true that friendship can’t be bought – and nor can smiles – but the odd present certainly helps. Michael Norton, Harvard Marketing Professor and author of ‘Happy Money: The Science Of Smarter Spending’, explains this theory.”If you have a nice car and a big house on an island by yourself, you’re not going to be happy because we need people to be happy. But by giving to another person, you’re… Creating a connection and a conversation with that person, and those things are really good for happiness.”
Go To Bed
Be under the duvet as early as you can to increase the likelihood being happier tomorrow. A number of recent studies over the past ten years indicate that getting an extra hour of sleep can regulate mood and help to manage challenging emotions when they arise. Being deprived of an hour’s sleep, however, has the opposite, negative effect.