Along with ten valuable ways to live a happier life, Dr. Jeff Logue shares how getting connected, doing things for others and taking care of yourself will change your life.
1. Do things for others
When I’m working with clients with low to moderate depression, I usually encourage them to reach out to others who are less fortunate than they are. There is something very powerful about helping those that are in greater need than yourself. It helps put our situation in perspective and allows us to see that things aren’t as bad as we first thought.
While helping others, we are reminded that even in the midst of our sadness and disappointment, we are still useful and can benefit another person in a meaningful way. There is a great satisfaction in knowing you’ve helped another person along the way. Doing things for others is just as beneficial to them as it is to you. What can you do for someone today?
2. Get connected
We are designed for relationships and the happiest people are those that develop their lifestyle to incorporate a deep and long lasting connected-ness with others. A close and meaningful relationship with family, peers, and God lead to a healthier and longer life that is filled with greater self-esteem and deeper levels of love and appreciation. The happiest people are those that broaden their social networks, expand their support system, and open their arms to those around them.
3. Take care of yourself
A holistic understanding of the body, mind, and spirit help explain the relationship between physical health and emotional health. Physical and emotional health are so interwoven that they intimately effect each other. Physical activity stimulates emotional activity. Next time you’re feeling sad or blue, take a short walk around the block. Exercise releases norepinephrine that reduces stress and endorphins that produce feelings of happiness and euphoria. Tank up on fish, fruits and vegetables to improve your mood. Salmon is very high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Carbohydrates provide the primary source of energy (glucose) for the brain while green leafy vegetables provide vitamin B to fight off depression, fatigue and insomnia. Happy people are intentional about their health and take care of themselves. When you are feeling discouraged or down, take a walk, breathe deeply and enjoy nature.
4. Notice those around you
If you’re dissatisfied with life, stop and smell the roses. Most of us are so busy we flit and fly from one meeting to another without ever noticing those little miracles all around us. Be mindful of what is around you. Research indicates that resting the mind routinely on even the small joys of life allows the brain to become more resilient to disease. Mindfulness improves symptoms of anxiety and depression even when these symptoms are associated with medical problems. Actively search for things to appreciate. After all, we tend to see what we look for.
5. Keep learning
You’re never too old to learn something new about life. One of the many benefits of learning is that it has a positive effect on our wellbeing. When you open yourself up to new experiences and ideas it keeps us curious and excited about life. For some of you it might mean going back to school and finishing that degree. For others, it might be getting a certification needed for that promotion. For a different group. it could be simply learning a new skill or a second language. Whatever it is, reactivate your brain and discover a whole new world of opportunities.
6. Let your goals direct you
If your life feels like a dead end, evaluate your goals. What do you want to do this year? This decade? A life without direction and purpose is a life that is planning to founder! Meaningful goals are motivating, inspiring, and come from deep within you. They often have their genesis in our childhood and tend to show up in our lives as themes. Challenging goals stretch us. They are daring, courageous and may even be audacious. These kinds of goals don’t just direct your life – they pull you toward greatness. Remember, if it doesn’t challenge you,it won’t change you.
7. Bounce back
We all fall flat from time to time. Failure is a part of life but, has never prevented one’s success. What does short circuit success and happiness is a failure to bounce back. How well an individual bounces back from adversity is considered resiliency. Based on strengths, resources, and skills, being resilient is away of coping that allows you to benefit from past situations you have lived through.
In addition to being considered a consequence of stress and crisis, resilience is seen as protective because hardy individuals seem to be less vulnerable to stress. People who are resilient tend to be protected by their response to failure as well as by their social and problem-solving skills. Prevent the “splat” – bounce back!
8. Be positive
Positive thoughts bread positive emotions. Feelings such as confidence, pride, contentment, gratitude and joy actually trigger a physiological response in the brain that creates an upward spiral in our mood. Seeing the glass half full may take some practice, but the results are well worth the effort. I’m not suggesting that we live in denial about life’s situation, but it’s a good idea to accentuate the positive if you hope to eliminate the negative.
9. Be yourself
There is no substitute for the original, so stop trying to be someone you’re not. How many times do you compare your worst to your neighbor’s best? We pine for what we’re not, while ignoring what we’ve got. The best advice I can give you is to accept yourself just as you are. If there’s something you want to improve on, refer back to #6.
People who have learned to accept themselves are happier, more resilient, and in overall better health than those who don’t. Learning to accept yourself, and all your flaws, contribute to your ability to accept others and all their imperfections. George Orwell once said, “Happiness can exist only in acceptance.”
10. Live for something bigger
What are you living for? What gets you up in the morning? If it’s your job, then that explains why you’re reading this blog. Happy people live for something much bigger than themselves. For some, it’s their faith or their children, and for others, it may be world peace. Whatever it is, these people have a bigger meaning and purpose to live for.
Those that have tapped into their real meaning and purpose for life experience less anxiety, depression and stress. If you’re lost on the road to happiness, find something bigger than you and live purposefully toward it.
For more information visit Life Nub. Your life. Wear it well.
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