The Happy Mind, And Habits Of Extremely Happy People
Do you consider yourself happy right now? Are you constantly wishing you had more joyful moments?
To many people, happiness feels like an elusive feeling- something they always hear other people talk about but never experience. As doctors, we see some of our patients deep in the state of melancholy.
As a matter of fact, a lot of ailments can be traced back to depression. A study revealed that psoriatic patients diagnosed with depression were 37% more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis.
But happiness is subjective- what makes someone excited, will not automatically uplift another person’s spirits. However, from a psychological perspective, it is imperative to first measure this mental state before we can understand it.
When it comes to the subject of ‘happiness’, we often mean a person’s satisfaction levels or state of enjoyment. Sometimes, it may be fleeting, other times, it lasts a lifetime. We don’t need to express happiness to enjoy it. Think of it as an internalised experience, one that varies in quantity, from simple satisfaction to extreme bouts of euphoria.
Psychologists often regard happiness as a positive affect- that is an emotional state or mood caused mainly be positive thoughts and feelings. The positive affect contrasts with negativity and low moods, a mental state described as negative affect. Here, people have a more pessimistic perception of their achievements, life conditions and prospects for the future.
Can We Measure Happiness?
This is an interesting question, one which many experts have asked, and still ask. With the subjective nature of positive affect and its relative connection to the individual, it is hard not to be just as curious.
According to the United Nations, happiness can indeed be quantified. In its latest publication, the World Happiness Report, it ranks different countries according to the self-acclaimed happiness of their citizens.
Norway jumped from 4th to top other countries as the nation with the happiest citizens. Other countries in the top 10 include Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden.
In the World Happiness Report, happiness is measured by using the Cantril Ladder, a technique (scale) which was developed by American psychologist, Hadley Cantril. The subjects are usually asked to imagine a ladder, where 1 represents the worst life conceivable, going up towards a better situation until 10 which is the optimal life situation they can wish for.
The subjects are then asked to identify a number on the ladder that best represents their current life status, as well as the past and how they visualise it to be in the future. From this, they can determine how optimistic or ‘unhappy’ an individual is.
According to lead psychologists, a person’s ‘happiness state’ can affect other aspects of their daily life. This includes their work, relationship with people and even how they respond to loved ones. “An unhappy partner can be responsible for the strain in an otherwise healthy relationship,” she says.
As experts, we should be able to recognise the signs in our patients and provide some support. Even physicians are not immune to the effects of ‘negative’ feeling. But the good side is that breakthroughs have revealed positive ways one can improve their ‘ascension’ on the Cantrill ladder.
The following have been shown by research to increase ‘happiness levels’ in humans:
People with one or more close friendships tend to be happier. It doesn’t have to be romantic, and it does have to include a large network. The difference is in having someone to talk to; a friend you can share personal feelings and activities with. Solitude is a powerful enabler of depression and must be avoided at all costs.
2. Cultivate Kindness
Participate in some communal activity, be kind to a random stranger, or volunteer at a caregiver’s home. Research has proven that people who simply care for the wellbeing of others regularly, are happier and live longer. Whether you choose to volunteer as a group in your community or reach out to a colleague or friend who is struggling with something, the effect is the same.
3. Exercise Regularly And Eat Healthy
Immobility is a dangerous state that only fosters negative thought. You will feel happier when you eat properly and exercise on a consistent basis. Certain foods rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids like flax seed, walnuts and fatty have been known to stimulate the neurotransmitter pathways, which enhances our mood.
Exercise such as running and cardio, works up the secretion of serotonin to deliver that well-known “workout high”.
4. Find Your Flow
One highly acclaimed TV writer calls it her ‘hum’. A state of motivation the spurs you to carry on doing what you love doing. Whether you are a creative person, a healer or a sports athlete, the “flow” or “zone” helps declutter your mind, stay focused and gives you purpose to achieve greatness.
The more frequent you’re able to get into the “flow,” the more you tasks and projects you can complete more quickly and successfully -- whether in the short or long term. You just need to find what works best for you and explore it.
For some, it is about the tranquility of a natural garden; for others soothing music ushers them into that desired state. And there are people who rely or combine these with an enjoyable vaping experience, especially when it’s the great-tasting induction heat vaporizer.
It is when you are in this “happy” state of mind that you can defeat depression, stay optimistic and live longer.
Do you know anybody who could use an extra dose of happiness in their lives? Share this article with them.