Science-backed Ways To Boost Happiness
Sometimes, it can be tough to keep up a happy state-of-mind. Here are some mood-boosters to get you back on track
People often ask: can I be happier?
What can I do to boost my happiness levels?
In life, there’ll always be good times and rough times. And then, there are those times when happiness feels far away, but if we choose to take the steps to be happier, some degree of it is always within reach.
Try these few-good suggestions and scientifically proven methods to increase your happiness levels and improve your wellbeing.
LISTEN TO UPBEAT MUSIC
It works as an instant “get happier” fix, with one caveat – while you’re listening to it, focus on the fact that the reason you’ve chosen that particular song, is because you’re trying to lift your mood. Researchers say that people who simply listen to the music without being aware of, or acknowledging why they’re doing it, won’t benefit.
Tip: Listening to music while you exercise will not just improve your mood, but also enable you to work out for longer periods too. Studies show that exercise endurance improves by 15 per cent when people listen to upbeat pop or rock music while training.
DO VOLUNTEER WORK
This is a tried-and-tested mood booster. People who engage in volunteer work regularly feel more satisfied with their lives and cut their risk of depression. According to Professor Martin Seligman, author of Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Wellbeing, scientists have found that doing an act of kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being (of any exercise ever tested). But to reap the rewards, bear in mind that the reason why you’re volunteering is just as important as whether you do it in the first place. Rather than do volunteer work just for the sake of boosting your health, make it count by finding a cause that you feel passionate about.
Tip: Studies have shown that people who spend about four hours a week volunteering, lower their risk of high blood pressure by around 40 per cent (this is also beneficial for your heart health as your risk of heart disease and stroke also decreases).
USE THE 5:4 RATIO
Eat five servings of fruit and four servings of vegetables every day – a University of Queensland study found that this combination and quantity made people (especially women), happiest, thanks to the complex carbohydrates in fresh fruit and vegetables, which increase levels of serotonin in the brain. In addition, individual mood-boosting nutrients like flavanols and omega-3 fatty acids also contribute. If you need a quick reference for what constitutes one serving, think a piece of fruit (like an orange or a pear), or a serve that’s the size of your palm for smaller-sized fruits (such as berries) and veggies.
Tip: Surveys show that during the weekends, we tend to eat up to 380 calories more than on weekdays, so keeping to this dietary ratio could also help you to fight the “weekend effect” on your weight.