5 Ways to Become Happier and Healthier
Updated: Mar 23, 2022
Happiness is an important concept in our daily lives. As everybody searches for purpose and fulfillment in life, many often wonder what it truly means to be happy.
The truth is, happiness to one person doesn’t mean the same to another. So how do you define happiness in your own life? And how does that affect your health and quality of life?
In this post we discuss the concept of happiness—what it is, why it is important, and what you can do to find more happiness in your own life.
What is happiness?
To understand why happiness is important, first we need to really understand what it means. The simplest definition of happiness as a pleasant mood or state of contentment actually devalues how critical happiness is to our very existence.
Psychology Today’s definition of happiness is one of the best, where they explain that happiness is “a state of well-being that encompasses living a good life, one with a sense of meaning and deep contentment”.
This means it is more than a fleeting feeling or current mood. Happiness is something that represents how fulfilled we are with our lives. And our perception of our happiness can have far-reaching effects on our mental, spiritual, and physical health.
How does health and happiness affect each other?
Research has shown that there is a two-way relationship between health and happiness.
For example, happier people have been shown to live considerably longer lives, to be less susceptible to illness or disease, and have improved immune systems. Happiness also seems to help mitigate pain and lower stress. And happier people tend to pick up positive habits, like exercising or eating healthier.
On the other end, better health is linked to experiencing more feelings of happiness. The act of participating in healthy practices such as exercise releases hormones (like endorphins and dopamine) which can help improve our mood and perception of happiness. And the practice to choose healthy habits connects with our sense of fulfillment.
How to become happier?
A famous quote from the Dalai Lama says that happiness is something that “comes from your own actions”. But what does that really mean? What can we do to create more genuine happiness in ourselves and our own lives?
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” —Dalai Lama XIV
Here are five of the best practices we recommend for creating a happier (and healthier) life:
Actively pursue happiness. Reflect on the things you have done or really want to do that create a warm and light feeling within—then make a firm plan to do them. Even the pursuit of happiness in and of itself can bring us joy.
Do something physical daily. Whether it’s yoga, exercise, or mindful walking, do something physical everyday. Take advantage of our natural chemistry to create joy just from the movement of our bodies.
Spend time with others. The longest study on happiness (spanning an almost 80-yr period) revealed that people who cultivate close relationships led happier and healthier lives. Every day, make a quality connection with someone in your life.
Practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude is a key part of pursuing happiness with intention. Take time in your day to show appreciation for and identify the positive things in your life, no matter how small it may seem at first.
Practice mindfulness. Practice being mindful as you go about your day. Learn how to be present, and appreciate the feeling of peace and contentment connected with doing so.
Knowing that happiness feeds into health and health contributes to happiness, you can see why it is important to actively support these areas in your life. So, what will you commit to doing to generate more happiness in your life? Comment below and let us know!