Is your happiness level an unchangeable part of your personality, or can you influence it with your actions? Research says it’s the latter. While individuals have happiness “set points” that tend to stay fairly constant throughout life, happiness levels can change with the right effort.
Scientists have found that the happiest people engage in a number of different activities to stay happy every day.
- Spending time with loved ones
Nothing lifts mood for most people like being around friends and family members. A full three-quarters of Americans rank being with family as the most satisfying part of life, Inc. reports.
- Being in nature
Spending time in natural settings provides an enhanced sense of vitality and boosts both mental and physical health, the University of Rochester reports.
- Engaging in meaningful work
Work satisfaction — including using natural talent and gifts — plays a major role in happiness, Inc. reports. Happy people find purpose in their work even if it’s not their dream job.
- Practicing meditation
Several studies have found that regular meditation physically changes the brain and makes people happier and less stressed, ABC News reports.
- Enjoying warm weather
Spending time in warm sunshine — even if that involves traveling away from home — can boost mood and memory, according to the University of Michigan.
- Getting involved in the community
Happy people develop a sense of belonging by getting involved with community groups, including sports and social organizations, churches and others, Inc. notes.
- Sleeping enough
Harvard Medical School advises that lack of sleep has a negative impact on mental performance, including mood and focus.
- Having strong spiritual beliefs
A Harris Interactive poll found that three-quarters of people who describe themselves as very happy said spiritual beliefs had a strong influence in their lives.
- Participating in democracy
People who self-reported being very happy also were among the least likely to feel they didn’t have a voice in national political issues, the Harris Interactive poll notes.
- Eating a healthy diet
A strong connection exists between what people eat and how they feel, Fitness magazine notes. Eating small portions more frequently and sitting at a table to eat also are known mood-boosters.
Science backs the idea that exercising regularly causes changes in the body that boost happiness and help people experience more joy in their lives, Fitday reports.
- Engaging in hobbies
Hobbies can contribute to relaxation, boost mood and teach people to live in the moment, About.com notes.
- Spending time with pets
Individuals with animal companions are healthier and happier than those without, Psychology Today reports. Research has found that pets provide important social support for their owners.
- Feeling optimistic
More than 80 percent of people who described themselves as very happy felt optimistic about the future, the Harris Interactive poll found.
- Practicing kindness
Kindness, compassion and generosity — also known as altruism — are a vital component in happiness, PBS reports.
Happiness can sometimes seem fleeting as it waxes and wanes with normal human moods. But engaging in activities that joyful people practice every day — spending time with others, practicing kindness, enjoying nature and more — can permanently boost the baseline happiness level.
For most of us, feelings of unhappiness come and go. However, when sadness persists for more than two weeks and affects your ability to function, you may have clinical depression. In these cases it is critical to seek counseling and to develop a support system. If you suspect that you are depressed, please consult with a qualified mental health professional as soon as possible.
Pasadena Villa Psychiatric Residential Treatment Centers creates a comforting and therapeutic environment for those suffering from mental illness. We believe in treating all residents with compassion, and our programs are designed in ways that preserve and protect their dignity. We do common activities that many families do. Our staff and residents learn and model appropriate social and communication skills, from daily mealtimes, to many fun and relaxing social and recreational activities.
Our mental health professionals work directly with residents. They observe them in actual social situations and incorporate these observations directly into the resident’s ongoing treatment plan. This individual, real life personalized attention makes the Pasadena Villa treatment experience more appropriate and beneficial for each of our residents, especially when compared to any other available adult residential treatment mental health services.
The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. Our outpatient center is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. If you or someone you know may need counseling on mental health services, please contact us. Please call us at 407-574-5190 for more information.