Courtesy of Jeff Haden @ Inc.com:
It’s easy to think of happiness as a result, but happiness is also a driver.
One example: While I’m definitely into finding ways to improve personal productivity (whether a one-day burst, or a lifetime, or things you should not do every day), probably the best way to be more productive is to just be happier. Happy people accomplish more.
Easier said than done though, right?
Actually, many changes are easy. Here are 10 science-based ways to be happier from Belle Beth Cooper, Content Crafter at Buffer, the social media management tool that lets you schedule, automate, and analyze social media updates.
1. Exercise: 7 Minutes Could Be Enough
Think exercise is something you don’t have time for? Think again. Check out the 7 minute workout mentioned in The New York Times. That’s a workout any of us can fit into our schedules.
Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it is an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In a study cited in Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage, three groups of patients treated their depression with medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. The results of this study are surprising: Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels early on, the follow-up assessments proved to be radically different:
The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had taken the medication alone, 38 percent had slipped back into depression. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate. The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent.
You don’t have to be depressed to benefit from exercise, though. Exercise can help you relax, increase your brain power, and even improve your body image, even if you don’t lose any weight.
We’ve explored exercise in depth before, and looked at what it does to our brains, such as releasing proteins and endorphins that make us feel happier.
A study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who exercised felt better about their bodies even when they saw no physical changes:
Body weight, shape and body image were assessed in 16 males and 18 females before and after both 6 × 40 minutes exercising and 6 × 40 minutes reading. Over both conditions, body weight and shape did not change. Various aspects of body image, however, improved after exercise compared to before.
Yep: Even if your actual appearance doesn’t change, how you feel about your body does change.
2. Sleep More: You’ll Be Less Sensitive to Negative Emotions
We know that sleep helps our body recover from the day and repair itself and that it helps us focus and be more productive. It turns out sleep is also important for happiness. Continue reading