Updated: May 6, 2020
People need to be happy in order to build a satisfying world and thrive in it. Our own nature will then reward us with its best—inner peace, pleasure, and joy. But unfortunately, what human nature gives, it also takes back rather quickly. After our moments of bliss, back we go to our previous level of happiness, our set point. This appears to be the way of life, but a more enduring state of happiness is possible if we persist in helping our positive emotions to prevail.
Science has shown again and again that being happy is good for your mind and your body. Happy people are more confident, optimistic, energetic, and sociable. They are also better prepared to deal with difficult and traumatic situations, are more enjoyable to live and to work with, and have a higher capacity for pursuing their aims and acquiring the means to achieve them.
In addition, happy people appear to be healthier and live longer. Studies confirm that people who are happy or exhibit other positive emotions are less likely to become ill when they are exposed to a cold virus and, when they do catch a cold, they have fewer symptoms.
For much of humankind, getting enough sustenance for physiological needs, survival, and safety is a constant battle, which many, unfortunately, lose. Research has shown repeatedly that the ability to regulate one’s emotions is essential for a happy life.
The great personal search, then, is how to defeat our inner enemies, and how to achieve control over our negative emotions.
We can retrain our brain for Happiness
The impact of practicing and retaining a more positive thinking pattern, especially on our well-being and happiness, can be even more powerful. Slowly a track forms and becomes very clear and easier to walk every time. We can train our brains just like an athlete trains the body.
Here are some of the top ways that scientists identified to rewire your brain for happiness:
Scan for the 3 daily positives. At the end of each day, make a list of three specific good things that happened that day and reflect on what caused them to happen (cooking a beautiful meal, a positive remark from someone you love, a pretty sunset).
Celebrating small wins. Has a proven effect of motivation and igniting joy. As you record or recall your good things daily in your journal, the better you will get and feel.
Give one shout-out to someone (daily). Take a minute to say thanks or recognize someone for their efforts. A great way to go about this is by sending 1 daily email or Whatsapp to someone you appreciate.
Do something nice. Acts of kindness boost happiness levels. Something as small and simple as making someone smile works. Pausing to do something thoughtful has the power to get you out of that negativity loop.
Mind your mind. Mindfulness is paying attention to and enjoying the present moment without judgment.
Being Grateful has also been shown to affect the brain’s plasticity, increasing gray matter in the hippocampus, an area of the brain important for learning, memory, and emotion, and reducing gray matter in the amygdala, an area of the brain associated with stress and anxiety.