Ways to Increase Our Overall Long-term Happiness
The key word here is “long-term”. We live in a world of instant gratification. When we want something, we want it NOW! Our happiness is no exception. Unfortunately, many of the ways we go about finding this “instant happiness” are unhealthy and actually bring us long-term misery. Long-term happiness may not be so instant and may require some work, but it is well worth it. YOU are well worth it! Take a look.
- Nurture your spirituality: Research shows that people who believe in something larger than themselves and actively work on, rather than neglect, their spirituality live longer happier lives.
- Exercise daily: Thirty to sixty minutes of daily exercise is not just good for your physical body, it also improves your mood.
- Eat healthy foods: Like exercise, healthy foods boost your mood. Sugary fatty foods may make you feel better for the moment, but if you want to improve your overall long-term happiness, go for something healthy.
- Give to others: Get outside of yourself and go make the world a better place. Bring flowers to the residents living in a retirement facility, read to children at the public library, plant flowers in your community- there are many ways to volunteer.
- Practice habitual gratitude: Rather than focusing and ruminating on how tough you have it, ALWAYS find something to be thankful for.
- Allow yourself to make mistakes: If you always demand perfection, you will never feel good enough. Do your best, learn from your mistakes, and celebrate your progress.
- Take baby steps: Goal achievement is a large piece of the happiness puzzle, however, some goals are so large that they overwhelm us, and we shut down. To avoid shutting down and doing nothing, break goals down into small manageable steps and celebrate each small success.
- Keep life balanced: Too much of one thing often means neglect of another. List the things that are important to you in your life, and work to keep these things balanced.
- Cultivate connection: We are social beings, creatures of connection. Love and belonging are two of our most basic needs. Find supportive others who allow you to be yourself. People suffering from depression often want to be alone and isolate themselves, but this does not lead to happiness. Isolation makes depression worse. No matter how bad you feel, find ways to connect.