Are you happy? No, truly. Are you excited to get up in the morning and conquer the world with your 101 goals and dreams to fulfill? Yes? No? Perhaps?
Here's the thing: people's perceptions of what happiness is, differs just as much as people's levels of happiness. They're just so diverse.
So what does it mean to be happy?
The latest scientific research into the state of happiness, has focused on the characteristics that shape this so called sense of happiness. These primary factors are: overall level of satisfaction, social connections, family upbringing, health and then the external factors like career, wealth and marital status. From this, researchers have concluded that happiness is not what you might think it to be. It's not the idea of being overjoyed or pleased all of the time. Happiness is not to be considered a fleeting, short term phenomenon, although much of Western society's' conception of happiness is based on just that: materialism, career, having a long term partner.
This will burst your bubble: only 10% of the external factors like these, contribute to your overall sense of happiness.
Perhaps we need to broaden our approach to happiness to mean overall content, as this is where the research is pointing.
So how can you boost your happiness, right here, right now?
The first step is to realise that pursuing this notion of perpetual happiness is a false and lost cause. It's impossible. Our humanity itself calls for us to experience a broad spectrum of emotions: joy, sadness, anger, frustration, love and excitement. What scientists have pointed out through their extensive study across people who report high levels of happiness, is their understanding of this concept. The ability to put things into perspective, to acknowledge that we have our ups and downs, and to be resilient to an overarching doom and gloom
Mentality when times are tough, greatly shape a happier, healthier person.
What about diet and nutrition? This can be beneficial, but a balanced and nourishing eating regime alone won't result in high levels of happiness. Considering all areas of your life is the key. Here are some helpful tips to boost your happiness:
1. Meditate daily. This will enable you to better handle your emotions and shape a sense of mindfulness in all that you do.
2. Nourish your body. Whole foods should make up 80% or more of your diet. Don't be afraid to indulge. It's important not to restrict, but to find the balance that works best for you.
3. Socialise. Social connections are one of the greatest contributing factors to your happiness, which you can control. Lonely people aren't happy people!
4. Find a sense of purpose in what you do. Have goals. Share them with others, especially like-minded people. Excitement is the seed for long term happiness.
5. Be grateful. Practicing expressing gratitude will help you see the rose amongst the weeds. It will nourish your spiritual side and leave you feeling happy to be alive. This is best done through writing in a gratitude journal, for a mere 5 minutes a day!
Tell me below what you do to shape a sense of happiness, and whether or not you've tried any of the techniques noted above!
Thomas Grainger: www.thomasgrainger.info
Eating Disorder Recovery Book: www.eatingdisorderbook.info
Photography by: Patrick Lim
Presented by Thomas Grainger