Be hap­pier

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Wellbeing -

Around 50% of our mood is con­trolled by ge­net­ics. A fur­ther 10% is de­ter­mined by life ex­pe­ri­ences but the re­main­ing 40 is af­fected by our re­sponse to those ex­pe­ri­ences.

stop neg­a­tive think­ing

this is key, but not easy. an in­stant way to do it is with this sim­ple trick: When you no­tice you’re ob­sess­ing over a thought, shout loudly in your head ‘stoP!’ hold the thought for four sec­onds while you pic­ture some­thing rel­e­vant like a stop sign. try to think of some­thing more con­struc­tive to dwell on, or fo­cus on a theme tune or poem – any­thing to dis­tract you from ob­ses­sive/neg­a­tive thoughts, which, once they take hold, are dif­fi­cult to shake.

learn to breathe deeply

Fo­cus on your breath­ing, too – it’s a great dis­trac­tion tech­nique for con­trol­ling emo­tions.

Make a list of things that in­spire you and re­fer to it of­ten.

be­ing grate­ful is prob­a­bly the biggest com­po­nent of hap­pi­ness, be­cause it’s one of the most ef­fec­tive meth­ods of in­creas­ing long-term feel­ings of sat­is­fac­tion with your life.

stay con­nected with peo­ple

It doesn’t mat­ter if it’s chat­ting to strangers on the bus or at the su­per­mar­ket, or if it’s stay­ing in touch with peo­ple you know – be­ing part of so­ci­ety has been proven to make for a happy brain.

a study at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan showed that a lack of so­cial con­nec­tions had a greater neg­a­tive im­pact on health than obe­sity, smok­ing and high blood pres­sure.

spend money wisely

there are only so many new and up­graded gad­gets we can have – and be­cause of what psy­chol­o­gists call ‘he­do­nic ha­bit­u­a­tion’, the nov­elty wears off. In­vest in spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ences in­stead, as they’re un­af­fected by he­do­nic ha­bit­u­a­tion. We tend to re­mem­ber pleas­ant emo­tions we feel at the time they hap­pen.

re­search also shows that there’s a lot of pleasure in the build-up to ex­pe­ri­ences. Last-minute get­aways are great, but plan­ning ahead gives us some­thing to look for­ward to.

be­hav­iour has a huge im­pact on well­be­ing

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