From the Simple to the Complex
You happiness has less to do with what you’re experiencing, and more to do with how your brain views those experiences. This can be tricky to understand, as many of us focus on our experiences and efforts, rather than how they make us feel. But with the proper training, your brain could make you a lot happier than you are now. From the simple to the slightly more complex, here are five habits for a truly happy brain.
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1. Seek Out Other Happy Brains
Happiness is infectious, and one of the quickest and easiest ways to boost poor perception is to spend quality time with happy, optimistic people. In fact, according to a study in Framington, Massachusetts, you can boost your happiness by 15.3 percent just by surrounding yourself with positive people. So think about your friends, family, or coworkers—the ones who always have a smile on their faces or who laugh all the time, and make a date for some quality time with them.
2. Smile, Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
When you smile or laugh, your brain releases various happy chemicals. If you’re feeling unhappy, the quickest way to change your mood is to have a few laughs. And if you can’t call up an entertaining loved one, watch a funny movie. Not only will it get you out of your negative headspace, it will also reduce the stress that comes with feeling unhappy.
3. Treat A Happy Brain Like Any Other Muscle
As I’ve mentioned before, happiness starts with your brain and you need to exercise your brain with happy thoughts instead of dwelling on your failures or shortcomings. It’s just like exercising to get your ideal body. If you want to improve the look and strength of a particular muscle, you need to focus on it by doing certain exercises. And you need to watch your diet too. A happy brain is just like any other muscle—you need to exercise it with happy thoughts and control your environment by distancing yourself from negative people.
4. Monitor What You Give Your Attention to
You could experience 100 good things and one bad thing in a single day, and guess what you are going to focus your attention on? The one bad thing. That’s not going to get you closer to your goal of a happy brain. Instead, focus on the 100 good things. If you give your attention to them, the good things will continue to grow. So enjoy the parking space up front, the last muffin at the coffee shop or the revenue boost your hard work brought the company, and brush off the rude taxi driver at the airport, the teacher who gave you a bad grade in middle school, or the soggy newspaper at your front door this morning.
5. Let Go of Your Past
Remind yourself that you are a different person now. You are different and better than who you used to be in high school, 10 years ago or even last month. Embrace the fact that you are always changing and improving, and don’t continue to punish yourself for your past. If you remember your negative experiences forever, you won’t achieve a happy brain.
You have more control over your happy brain than you realize. It starts with being aware of what you give your thoughts and your energy to. And it also starts with gratitude. If you can remember to be happy for what you already have, and focus on the things that will bring your even more happiness down the road, you will begin to build the muscle that is your happy brain.