How to be Happier – Part 1

Everyone wants to be happy, right? What are you doing to make your and your family as happy as possible? Studies have found that there are just a handful of things (10, to be precise) that pretty much anyone can implement to make their lives happier. Here are the first 5…

1) Exercise! Not surprising, sure. Exercising helps us relax, boosts brain activity, and makes us feel better about ourselves in general. So not only is exercise making you physically healthier in your bones and muscles, but your brain and emotions see benefits from the physical activity.

2) Get more sleep! A good night’s rest helps your body restore and recover, and helps you feel wide awake in the morning. Not only that, but sleep deprivation actually leads us to process and remember more negative memories than positive ones. So get some rest and stay positive!

3) Reduce your commute . We all know how this feels. You wake up, everything is going fine. You get into your car and head out for work, to find more traffic than usual – and your day is shot. Even the most even-keeled of us can get frustrated with our daily commute sometimes. If there’s any feasible way to shorten our commute to and from work, our happiness may benefit big time. Or, perhaps try carpooling and help save your mood and the environment!

4) Spend more time with friends and family. Spending time with the ones we care about makes us happier both in the present and the future. Studies in England have even shown that while an increase in income seems to have no effect on life satisfaction, an increase in social involvement counts for a lot. This tip may go hand-in-hand with tip #3 above if you’re able to carpool to work with a good friend regularly!

5) Get outside!! We all know how good it feels to get some outside time into our day – so do it on a regular basis! Walk during your lunch hour, or find a buddy and walk around the neighborhood! This time of year is perfect for skiing, snowshoeing and other fun winter activities. Studies have shown that just 20 minutes spent outside can do wonders for our mood and overall outlook. Studies have also found that happiness is maximized at 13.9 degrees C (that’s 57 F) but if you bundle up during the colder months, no one can argue that fresh air beats stagnant indoor air any day!


Karen Southwick