Top 5 ways to be happy

Top 5 ways to be happy

Did you know ... We can actually re-wire our brain to be happy. While medications may sometimes be necessary and are certainly helpful, it is possible to create change in your brain, heart and attitude by paying attention to these top five ways to be happy.

Top 5 ways to be happy

Keep a gratitude journal. No matter how desolate your life may be, you can always find something to be grateful for. Every day add something to your gratitude journal and phrase it in the positive. For example, "I am grateful for my health." Or, "I am grateful for my beautiful children." And, don't forget all the little things that make your day special: "I am grateful for my iced, quad, venti, one-pump mocha, soy latte and for the wonderful barista that understands my order every day on the first try!"

By developing a consistent and genuine attitude of gratitude, it is actually possibly to re-wire your brain and create life-saving change at the cellular level. And, you will have more friends because your attitude will be respected and appreciated.

Enjoy a dark kiss. A study conducted at the Mind Lab in England monitored six couples hooked up to heart and brain monitors while they ate a piece of dark chocolate prior to kissing. Both activities were stimulating for the heart and brain, but the chocolate actually doubled the excitation rates in the brain's pleasure center. Women seemed to reap the neurological benefits more than men, Doctors recommend savoring a piece of dark chocolate by letting it melt in your mouth, thereby extending the exciting benefits.

Laugh with your loved one. Raise your blood flow by 22% by enjoying a good, hardy 15-minute laugh. Psychologists at the Appalachian State University asked 52 couples to spend time recalling memories of shared laughter. They found that the couples that laughed together had a stronger bond and more solid relationship. "When people laugh at the same thing, they validate each other's opinions," says lead author Doris Bazzini, PhD.

See yourself as a socialite. People who see themselves as socially prestigious often enjoy the benefits of a longer and healthier life than their less social counterparts. Nancy Adler, PhD, director of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health says, "People who perceive themselves as high on the social ladder--regardless of their actual educational degree or size of their paycheck--are less likely to suffer from a range of health problems, including depression, insomnia, and certain risk factors for heart disease."

Keep your glass half-full. People with an optimistic attitude enjoy healthier lives. Martin Seligman, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia calls this phenomenon "explanatory style." Explanatory style is a person's unique interpretation of events in which he experiences. Explanatory style is how a person assesses, interprets, and perceive her own reality. Seligman recommends asking these three important questions when encountering a situation that sparks a negative reaction:

  1. Is the incident your fault?
  2. Is it temporary or long lasting?
  3. Does the cause affect one or many aspects of your life?

By keeping a "glass-half full" attitude, optimistic people are able to significantly reduce the number of colds, flus and other illnesses that compromise one's quality of life.

So, don't worry ... Be happy!

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