Happiness is the ultimate goal. According to The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, happiness is described as a fleeting positive emotion that gives us a sense of purpose and meaning in life.
How, then, do we achieve happiness?
There are a lot of studies that link happiness with physical activities. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, for instance, found that exercise makes people happy. The center says it doesn’t matter what kind of physical activity you do; what matters is the total amount of physical activity you engage in.
The study further explains how physical activities improve a person’s overall well-being. One is by improving a person’s physical health; the second is by improving a person’s mental health.
Studies have proven that exercise decreases a person’s anxiety and depression. Harvard Health Publishing stresses that the more exercise a person does, the better it helps in treating anxiety. Harvard explains how physical activities help.
1. Exercising is a form of diversion. It distracts you from things that bring you anxiety.
2. When you move, muscle tension is decreased, and it relaxes your body.
3. Moving helps in releasing anti-anxiety neurochemicals. These chemicals produced from the brain include serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked to happiness and satisfaction.
4. Physical activities help in the practice of control and willpower; this kind of mental strength is necessary when facing adversities and negative emotions.
Ultimately, physical activities can help you control your reaction to your emotions. As exercise requires concentration and a certain level of discipline, it can also train your brain to react better when negative emotions come.
Hence, if you want your body and mind to become happy, it’s time to enroll in a personal training gym near you.
Once you have the sense of control you get from exercising regularly, you’re ready to train yourself to conquer negative thinking. This is our next step to the path of happiness.
Conquer Negative Thinking
When a person is having a panic attack, it becomes worse when the person tries to control their emotions. But to cure anxiety, it is not about shutting your emotions off. It is about acknowledging that negative emotions do exist. But like all other emotions, it’s fleeting; it’s not there to stay.
So instead of trying to tell your emotions to go away immediately, let it flow.
Also, instead of drowning yourself in negative thoughts, you can challenge them. Use Socratic questioning, probe your negative emotions, and prove them wrong. To do this, you can write your negative thoughts on a piece of paper first. Then, start asking questions that will disprove this statement.
For example, you can write, “I’m 30, and it seems that I still have no direction in life.” This is your negative thought; it’s time to challenge it and ask questions like:
- “What is the supporting evidence for this statement?”
- “What are the facts? Am I really not doing anything?”
- “How might other people view my situation?”
- “If someone else will be in my position, will I see it the same way?”
Once you start answering these questions, you’ll soon find out that there’s not enough evidence to support your claim. Facts prove that you are doing something in life. Yet, you’re just too hard on yourself.
Practice the Art of Meditation
An article posted by Forbes mentions that meditation increases a person’s happiness. Many studies support this. Some suggest that it does not matter how long you do the meditation session per day; what matters is if you consistently do it every day. Some even say that you can meditate each day for two minutes, but just be consistent 21 days in a row. This practice will already have a positive effect on your brain. You will notice that it will make you more optimistic in life.
To get you started with meditating and get on your way to becoming happier, there are several forms of meditation that you can do. These include the following:
In this form of meditation, you train your mind to concentrate on your thoughts and feelings at the moment. You do this to develop the skill of paying attention to your experiences. It also trains you to accept all life experiences and treat them with compassion.
Mindfulness is being aware without judgment. By paying close attention to what’s happening to you and around you, you become more present in your life. You also learn to appreciate things that happen before you.
This form of meditation teaches you to focus energy on giving love and kindness to you and other people. It comes from a selfless place—you give not because you want to receive it back, but because you want to send warmth to the universe. This kind of meditation is about softening your heart and breaking down walls that you have; it is about opening yourself up to other people.
By doing this kind of meditation, you learn to forgive easily. This is crucial in letting go of negative emotions that ultimately lead to anxiety.
Overall, the key to happiness is really about practicing optimism. It is about recognizing that bad things do happen in life. But just like positive feelings, negative feelings and situations are also fleeting. At the same time, being positive is thinking that negative situations may come, but we ultimately learn from them.
In the end, perhaps the key to happiness is accepting life as it comes.