Happy Living

4 Things Science Says You Can Do to Be Happy

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People spend years chasing happiness, only to learn the hard way that it wasn’t where they thought it was. They assume career success, riches, retirement or the “perfect relationship” will bring the happiness they’ve always wanted. In the process, they miss the enjoyable moments all around them.

But what will make you happy? To find out, we turned to one of the best resources available today. Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education has devoted considerable effort to studying “the positive qualities of the human mind.” In the process, the team at Stanford regularly releases studies that quantify happiness. Here are a few things Stanford researchers have learned over the past few years.

1. Be compassionate.

Stanford has a longstanding research interest in the connection between practicing compassion and achieving happiness. The medical school offers an eight-week course called Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT), that teaches attendees how to develop a more compassionate attitude. In a study to determine the program’s usefulness, they found that it led to an increase in both mindfulness and happiness. The training, the study authors said, emphasizes the benefits of connecting with fellow human beings to a person’s overall well-being.

You don’t have to spend every weekend doing charity work to achieve happiness, however. Simply find ways in your everyday life to be more compassionate. Listen to others when they’re speaking and truly work to see things from other people’s perspectives.

2. Spend time in nature.

When was the last time you took a walk through the park or spent the afternoon by the pool? While it’s important to minimize sun exposure, Mother Nature brings many benefits, both physical and emotional. One of those benefits is an improved affect, according to a study led by Stanford University’s Gregory N. Bratman.

The study separated participants into one group that spent their outdoor time in urban settings and a second that took nature walks. Those who took the nature walk showed a marked improvement in overall well-being, including a decrease in anxiety and worry. If you don’t have easy access to a hiking area, consider taking your lunch to a nearby park or waterfront area.

3. Disconnect from social media.

People are constantly connected to other people through social media, even when they’re trying to enjoy “alone time.” Stanford University psychology researchers set out to determine just how contagious negativity is. Unfortunately, people aren’t as good at guessing the moods of others as we might think they are. The researchers discovered that people overestimate how happy other people are, leading them to assume that other people’s lives are better than they actually are.

Social media is especially dangerous to happiness. Time spent on social media has been connected to prevalence of depression and anxiety. Make a concerted effort to stay off social media, especially if you find yourself unfavorably comparing yourself to others. As a test, try to stay away for a few days and see if your mood begins to improve.

read more: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/299692

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