This is easier said than done, especially if you truly enjoy your work. However, as we mentioned in our previous blog, working more hours doesn’t result in more productivity. As a matter of fact, your productivity goes down after a certain point, and you are more prone to making mistakes. Taking the time to unwind will actually make you better at your job.
A good life balance is essential for happiness. You need to allocate enough time not only for your career, but also for hobbies, health, social life and family. If the balance isn’t there, all aspects of your life will suffer.
2. Take a walk in the park
Or even better, in a forest. Spending time in the nature helps reduce stress levels and decrease blood pressure. Another added benefit of spending time outside is vitamin D. Vitamin D helps maximize calcium absorption which is essential for our health. Natural light also helps regulate your melatonin levels which in turn helps you sleep better.
3. Get enough sleep
Most of us aren’t getting the recommended 7-9 hours a day. We let work, house chores, going out for dinner, or watching Netflix cut into our sleep hours. People often underestimate the importance of sleep. However, a survey by the National Centre for Social Research has shown that sleep has the strongest association with well-being.
A well-rested brain is a happy brain. We can all relate to this. After a poor night’s sleep, we feel grumpy and become easily agitated, whereas a good night’s sleep makes us feel refreshed and energized.
You’ve probably heard that exercising causes a release of endorphins. The main function of endorphins is to fight stress and pain. So why are endorphins released during exercise? Exercise actually tricks our brain into believing that we are in a stressful situation, because it increases our heart-rate and blood pressure. In response, the brain produces endorphins which can make you feel euphoric.
However, endorphins aren’t the only feel-good chemicals released when you exercise. Your body also produces serotonin, BDNF, norepinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals boost your mood, lower your stress levels and help fight depression.
Exercise also helps reduce levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which in high amounts can make you feel more stressed. Reducing negative chemicals and increasing positive ones results in an overall feeling of happiness.
5. Eat well
We tend to think that high carb, processed foods like chocolate, ice cream, and chips can make us feel good. We often reward ourselves with these foods or eat them in an attempt to deal with stress or pain. However, these foods trick us into feeling happy by producing a short-term feeling of gratification.
A study from the University of Queensland and the University of Warwick has shown that eating vegetables and fruits, and staying away from processed, high-sugar foods can increase the feeling of happiness in the long-run. It is important that we get enough nutrients for both physical and mental well-being.
6. Spend more on experiences
While buying a new iPhone can make you feel good, the feeling will be short-lived. Do you ever wonder why you are never truly satisfied with the number of things you own? The excitement of that new iPhone quickly fades as the novelty wears off and it becomes part of your daily life.
Instead of buying more things, spend money on experiences. Book a city trip or go to a concert. Experiences enrich your life and create long-lasting memories. The happiest, most memorable moments of your life are linked to experiences rather than possessions.
Donating money isn’t the only way to give back. Giving up some of your free time to volunteer has a similar positive effect on your brain. In addition, people who volunteer often feel a sense of belonging to a community which helps reduce the feeling of loneliness and isolation.
The continuous flow of emails, text messages, Instagram notifications, advertisements on TV and radio causes your brain to constantly be on high-alert, in anticipation of a new piece of information. This can lead to a feeling of anxiety.
For your brain to truly relax, you need to unplug. Next time you eat dinner with friends or family, turn off your phone and be present in the moment. Even better, block out tech-free hours in your day. For example, make it as a rule that you don’t check your phone or watch TV between 7-9pm.
Clutter has a negative effect on your stress levels. People function better in organized, clean environments. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people also sleep better when their bedroom is organized and clutter-free.
When it comes to decluttering, we can all learn something from the minimalist movement. Namely, if an item brings you joy, keep it. However, if it doesn’t, throw it away or donate it. If all items in your home bring you joy, you will automatically feel happier.
Decluttering at work is also important. A clean desk will boost your concentration levels and help you focus. Employees with clean desks experience their work environment as being more pleasant than those with desk clutter. The same applies to your PC. Work PCs are often disorganized, with floating files that haven’t found their forever home in the complex folder structures we use. This causes unnecessary stress.