March 20th is International Day of Happiness. With that in mind, we’ve been thinking of some of the things that we can do each day to make us a little bit happier.
We know how tough life as a caregiver can be. For those who have taken on the responsibility of caring for a loved one, it’s particularly important to ensure we are also taking the time to do things for ourselves. Happiness is infectious and benefits the people around us, so ensuring our own happiness is also good for the person in our care.
The following are some habits that we can incorporate into our daily lives to boost our mood and increase our happiness.
Everyone knows that we smile when we’re happy; but did you know that it works both ways? Smiling causes the brain to release dopamine, which naturally makes us feel happier. This doesn’t mean that you should force a fake smile all the time, but the next time you feel a bit down, try smiling about something and see if it helps!
2. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for our overall health, brain function, and wellbeing. For most adults, 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night is recommended. If you constantly feel tired throughout the day, you likely won’t be in a very happy mood. This is your body’s way of telling you that you need more sleep, and in order to feel generally better and happier, it’s important to listen to it and try to sleep a bit more.
3. Give Out Compliments
Carrying out acts of kindness is proven to help people feel more satisfied. As a caregiver, we’re not short of performing acts of kindness; however, these can often fade into our normal daily routine. Another quick and easy way to brighten someone else’s day is to give them a compliment. This will not only make them feel better but boost your own mood too.
4. Practice Deep Breathing
With all the things we have to get done in a day, it’s easy to start feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed. When we start feeling tense, we often feel like we need to take a deep breath. This can instantly make us feel better. We can also practice this at other times, as deep breathing can reduce stress and generally improve our mood.
5. Do Some Exercise
Exercise isn’t just good for the body, but also for the mind. Exercise can help reduce stress, anxiety, and even depression while improving self-confidence and happiness. If you don’t currently exercise, you don’t have to jump right in, as small amounts of activity can make a big difference. Going for a walk after dinner, stretching, or taking up an activity like golf or dancing are all great ways to incorporate exercise into our daily routine. We would also recommend trying an Ageless Grace class® for keeping the body and brain healthy.
6. Be Grateful
Taking time to appreciate the things that we are grateful for can have a huge impact on our happiness. This can be as simple as thinking of one thing we’re grateful for each day, for example as we brush our teeth in the morning we can remind ourselves of something in our lives that we are grateful for. As the day goes on, we should also be mindful of the good things that happen in life, from the big things such as doing well at work to the little things like a co-worker bringing us a cup of tea.
7. Eat Well
We have mentioned before how food choices can impact our body and brain. Some foods also affect our mood. For example, highly processed or deep-fried foods tend to make us feel down, and carbohydrates release a short energy surge that is often followed by a crash. Complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables, beans, and whole grains, are better for our mood, while lean meat, legumes, and dairy are high in protein and release dopamine, which boosts energy and concentration.
8. Recognise the Unhappy Times
While having a positive attitude and being happy is a good thing, it’s important to remember that bad things do happen and we don’t have to pretend we’re happy all the time. If we get some bad news, make a big mistake, or just feel down, it’s OK to acknowledge our unhappiness and let ourselves experience it. Once we have done this, we can then reflect on why we are feeling the way we are and how we can move forward and feel better.
We hope you enjoy International Day of Happiness on March 20th, and take some time to do the things, and think about the things that really make you happy! For more information on the content of this article, get in touch with Brain Sparks.