Expert-Approved Ways To Increase Well-Being – Forbes Health

Although happiness is a subjective experience, some general activities and practices can help cultivate more happiness in your life. Below are eight ways to do just that.

Get and stay active

Exercise is not only good for your physical health, but also for your mental health. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise can help improve mood and reduce stress. It can also increase endorphins — hormones that have natural pain-relieving and mood-elevating effects.

Depending on your current activity level, there are several ways to get more active. If you’re not used to exercising, start slowly with light activities like walking or swimming. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and try different types of exercises – you never know what you might find fun.

Prioritize sleep

Sleep is important to your physical and mental health. When your body isn’t getting the rest it needs, you’re more likely to feel tired, irritable, and stressed. They may also have trouble concentrating and making decisions.

If you’re not getting enough rest, try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society, those who regularly get fewer than seven hours of sleep have a higher risk of health consequences, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Invest in a healthy diet

Research is beginning to uncover a strong link between diet and mood, particularly when it comes to the detrimental effects that a diet high in sugar and fat can have on brain health over time. On the other hand, a diet rich in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins has been linked to improved mental well-being.

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Small changes to your diet can have an impact on your well-being. For example, try adding an extra serving of vegetables to your meals for a week and see how you feel. Are you happier after eating? Does your digestion feel better? Mixing them with other foods like rice dishes can make them tastier and easier to eat. As you get used to eating more nutrient-dense foods, you can experiment with increasing your portion sizes and variety.

Find your comfortable level of sociability

Humans are social creatures and need meaningful personal connections to thrive and avoid loneliness. Research shows that people who report strong social relationships have significantly less anxiety and depression — and may even benefit from immune system support.

“It’s not just about the time you spend with others. How that time is spent, whether it’s satisfying, and whether the experience feels fruitful can determine whether socializing leads to happiness,” said Robert Pate, Psy.D., director of clinical education at California Baptist University and clinical psychologist at Greenline Psychological Services.

Because social satisfaction is different for everyone, it’s important to find the type of socializing that feels good to you. Perhaps spending time with family or friends, joining a club or social group, or even volunteering are all valid ways to connect, explains Dr. godfather

Discover gratitude

“There is a growing body of research that suggests that practicing gratitude can help people not only experience greater happiness, but even overcome mental health symptoms after various traumatic experiences,” says Dr. godfather

Journaling can be a way to explore gratitude, explains Dr. forman. “I tell my patients that happiness is an inside job. One tool I give them is to keep a happiness journal,” she notes. “Each night before you go to sleep, ask them to think about a moment in the day when they felt ‘good’ inside. Because our brains have a strong tendency toward negativity, the purpose of this exercise is to train the mind to notice it and feel good when it happens.”

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practice mindfulness

Mindful meditation is a form of mindfulness that has been shown to help reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. In addition, meditation can help improve focus and concentration, as well as boost self-esteem, positive states of mind, and well-being.

If you are new to meditation, there are many online resources available to help you get started. There are also apps like Headspace and Calm that offer guided meditation.

Do you feel anxious or stressed?

Explore the massive library of content on mindfulness, sleep, and insights to live life more mindfully. In just a few minutes each day, you can increase your resilience to stress and anxiety.

Find a hobby

One of the quickest ways to increase happiness is by doing things you enjoy. Find hobbies that make you happy and make time for them regularly.

Hobbies can include reading, hiking, playing a musical instrument, or gardening. When you do things you enjoy, your levels of cortisol (aka your “stress hormone”) drop and you feel happier and more relaxed.

spread kindness

Not only will helping others most likely increase their happiness, but it can also make you feel more fulfilled. When you help others, your brain releases oxytocin and endorphins, both of which help create a rewarding, self-reinforcing habit — meaning acts of kindness become easier over time.

Try giving an unexpected compliment or helping someone carry their grocery bags. Even small gestures can brighten someone’s day.

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