Your natural disposition and situational factors, such as your academic achievements, aren't the only elements that determine your level of happiness. A large portion of a person’s happiness depends on daily actions and activities, claims an article from Stanford Graduate School of Business entitled "The Psychology of Happiness." With this in mind, even when you're feeling sad, there are various activities and habits you can adopt to cheer yourself, regardless of your situation or natural disposition.
Get Physically Active
Physical exercise releases endorphins, chemicals in your body that hinder stressful feelings, in turn increasing your sense of well-being. Even an exercise as light as a 20-minute walk can boost your mood and brain activity, so try to squeeze in some physical activity each day. "6 x 40 Mins Exercise Improves Body Image, Even Though Body Weight and Shape Do Not Change," a study from Queen's University published in the "Journal of Health Psychology," also revealed that people tend to hold a more positive self-image after working out, even if no major changes in weight or shape occur.
Acknowledge Positive Points
Many people find themselves in emotional slumps simply because they focus on the negative side of life, rather than giving credit to all the positive situations. Train yourself to focus on the positive. Every day, create a list of three or more things that you are thankful. Be specific. For example, rather than writing “I’m thankful for my family,” write “I’m thankful I could spend time with my brothers today and that they are in good health.” Soon you will begin to habitually acknowledge life’s positive points and express gratitude.
Find a Purpose
Give your life a meaning, or several overarching goals that can direct your actions. This might seem a daunting task, but simply start by creating a list of things that matter the most to you. Aim for things outside of material possessions and, if possible, aim for goals that involve other people. For example, you could write “Making people laugh is important to me because it eases their minds in a stressful world.” From that, you could set your purpose to entertaining those around you whenever possible. Other examples of goals include helping those who are less fortunate and resolving conflicts between groups.
Show Your Teeth
Forcing a smile while backing it up with negative thoughts can worsen your mood, suggests "A Multilevel Field Investigation of Emotional Labor, Affect, Work Withdrawal, and Gender," a study from Michigan State University published by the "Academy of Management Journal." This could be due to dissonance between your false outward gestures and your true inner feelings. However, the study reveals that a smile coupled with positive thoughts can boost your mood. To cultivate positive thoughts, think back to a happy moment in your life or envision yourself in a happy situation. For example, you can picture yourself lying in a hammock on a tropical island or cozy in bed on a rainy morning. Remember to pair this thought with a smile.
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