Ah, happiness. Even simply thinking about being truly happy can bring a smile to a person’s face and the feeling of pure joy. Some say happiness is learned while others believe happiness is innate. I venture to think happiness is a fundamental part of who we are — just consider an infant squealing with delight while reaching for a brightly colored toy. Within that young human being is the ability to experience happiness in its purest form, a happiness quotient off the scale.
Research conducted by Happiness expert Robert Holden found 65 out of 100 people valued happiness over health. The good news is that happiness and health are intertwined so we do not need to choose one over the other. If you focus daily on your happiness quotient, good health just may follow.
Focusing on happiness does not need to be a time-consuming process. A few minutes and five simple steps can fine tune how you interact with the world and up your happiness quotient in the process.
1. Practice Gratitude Daily
Consider counting your blessings before you even roll out of bed in the morning. Think of five things you are grateful for. Better yet, write them in a journal where you can have a collection of your grateful thoughts.
2. Take Time to Do Things You Love
Make an effort to do at least one thing every day that makes your heart happy and your soul dance. Read, paint, sew, take photographs, go for a run, slowly sip a cup of freshly brewed coffee, or sing in the shower.
3. Spend Time in Nature
Watch the sunset, sit by the river, spend time in the garden, or eat lunch outside. Park your car further away from the office door and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the great outdoors as you stroll in.
4. Focus on Managing Stress
Stretch, meditate, practice yoga, or get your groove on in water aerobics. Take a few slow deep breaths.
5. Practice Random Acts of Kindness
Buy coffee or pay the bridge toll for the person behind you. Leave a flower on a car windshield or a book at a bus or train station. Have more time? Spend time teaching someone to read, serve at a food bank, or deliver treats to public servants. No matter what you choose, do something meaningful for others. Making others feel good will help you feel good.
When all else fails, smile more even if you aren’t feeling in the mood. Yes, smiling puts happiness out into the world and tends to bring smiles back to us. Smiles fuel smiles.
Science has proven that leading a life of positive emotions can benefit our immune system, cardiovascular health, balance hormones, and ultimately lead to a healthier life and a longer lifespan. So, what are you waiting for? The choice is yours. The time is now. Spending even five minutes once or twice a day can be the difference in upping your happiness quotient and simultaneously reaping health benefits.