Health and Happiness Tips: 5 ways to Happiness – Part 2
Welcome to the health and happiness blog.
Today’s start the week blog is all about how to be happy.
5 fabulous, fool-proof ways to feel happier- based on science- part 2
In the last blog I explored how important happiness is in terms of health and success. I presented the findings from an important study (Diener E. & Chan M.Y., 2011) that found that those with high happiness levels (measured as subjective well-being in psychological jargon) had, compared to their less happy friends, an average of an extra 10 years longevity.
5 ways to happiness
There are thousands of paths to true happiness, philosophers over the ages have been fascinated by this goal, but here I present 5 of the easiest, effective and evidenced-based ways to get your happy back.
Tip 1 was to increase your sense of gratitude by using the ‘3 good things’ strategy (see here for details)
Tip 2 is another simpler and often overlooked route to happiness- EXERCISE.
We are all well aware of the benefits to our health from exercising. It especially affects our cardiovascular health, helps avoid obesity, keeps joints supple and strong- it is even considered to be one of the major factors that will reduce your chance of getting dementia. But the other incredible benefit of it is that it improves our emotional well-being and happiness. And the mood benefits of 20 minutes of exercise can last for 12 hrs (Sibold & Berg, 2010).
It also has an anti-stress effect as it reduces the levels of the destructive stress hormone cortisol in your body and reduces the incidence of depression(Choi et al., 2019)
How much is enough
The evidence suggests that 30-60 mins 3 to 5 times a week is what is required for improving your mood (Chekroud et al., 2018), but it does depend on your current fitness levels and there is some debate if 30 minutes of exercise is better than 3 lots of 10 minutes.
An essential component of this is to do what you love doing not what you feel obligated to do- so find an activity you enjoy, whether it’s running, swimming, dancing the tango or rock climbing, as then you’re more likely to actually do it.
There’s also some fascinating research into how being in nature improves our health and happiness (see my blog on this), so if you can combine those two things you will reap additional benefits
So you know what to do…
For more details watch my video on the subject
And come back for the next of the five ways to happiness, next week
Chekroud, S. R., Gueorguieva, R., Zheutlin, A. B., Paulus, M., Krumholz, H. M., Krystal, J. H., & Chekroud, A. M. (2018). Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1·2 million individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: A cross-sectional study. The Lancet Psychiatry, 5(9), 739–746. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30227-X
Choi, K. W., Chen, C.-Y., Stein, M. B., Klimentidis, Y. C., Wang, M.-J., Koenen, K. C., Smoller, J. W., & for the Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. (2019). Assessment of Bidirectional Relationships Between Physical Activity and Depression Among Adults: A 2-Sample Mendelian Randomization Study. JAMA Psychiatry, 76(4), 399. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4175
Diener E. & Chan M.Y. (2011). Happy People Live Longer: Subjective Well-Being Contributes to Health and Longevity. Appl. Psychol: Health Well-Being Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3(1), 1–43. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1758-0854.2010.01045.x
Sibold, J. S., & Berg, K. M. (2010). Mood Enhancement Persists for up to 12 Hours following Aerobic Exercise: A Pilot Study. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 111(2), 333–342. https://doi.org/10.2466/02.06.13.15.PMS.111.5.333-342