You want to feel happy, right? Doesn’t everybody?
Research has shown that once you get past providing for your basic needs, additional money doesn’t materially increase your happiness level. Are there any other strategies that can move the needle on our happiness scale?
A recent article online in Forbes looked at some research and found a few tricks and habits that might induce more happiness in our lives. The first is exercise. Cardiovascular exercise (that is, a strenuous workout) functions almost like a wonder drug with regard to a person’s overall well-being and has recently been associated with the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus, the part of the brain known to be affected by depression.
You probably already know that processed sugars can cause unhappy moods, but until recently the reasons have been unclear. A growing body of evidence indicates that our gut microbes affect our mental health in significant ways, and the foods we eat can select for or reduce certain strains of bacteria. Eating a plant-based diet, low in sugar and processed foods, may help promote the body chemistry associated with happiness.
In addition, there is evidence that people who maintain a structured schedule are better at avoiding depression than their unstructured peers. A daily routine in itself is comforting when you’re down or depressed, and the habits you form ensure that you will get out and be social (and maybe get exercise) even if you don’t feel like it....