We live in a society where a lot of people don’t seem to be all that happy, but they can’t put their finger on the reason for their unhappiness. If you fit into the unhappy category, give yourself a mental defrag, reboot your happiness centre by doing some of the things happy people do.
1. Increase the amount of physical activity you do – get your heart rate up.
Aerobic activity resets your metabolism, including the metabolism within your brain.
Once you start exercising you get more oxygen into your brain. It starts releasing ‘feel-good’ endorphins. You give the limbic centre of your brain a boost. The limbic centre is one of the parts of you brain that automatically controls a host of metabolic functions. When it comes to elevating your mood, a year’s supply of regular vigorous aerobic activity trumps a year’s supply of Prozac.
You get out of your body the waste products of your metabolism and the waste products of a toxic environment that you can do better without. You burn up and wash out of your system chemicals like adrenalin and cortisol that are firing you up.
As a result, your mood changes, you feel happier.
In short what aerobic exercise does is give you a total metabolic defrag. It takes about a week to kick in. Think of it as the exercise-led recovery.
Start slowly, ease into it, don’t bust your boiler. Walking is a good place to start. It’s pretty hard to injure yourself just by walking. But then build the walk into a shuffle and the shuffle into a jog. If you’re wobbly on the pins take up swimming or cycling.
2. Change your diet
An enriched supply of omega 3 fats will give the limbic centre in your brain a boost as well.
For some people laying off wheat flour makes a huge difference to the way they feel. If you have an intolerance to wheat flour, you could feel tired, get frequent headaches, find it easy to put on fat around your body, have elevated blood pressure. You become sluggish. You feel dreadful. It’s hard to feel happy when you feel dreadful!
Conduct the experiment and go without anything with wheat in it for a week – no bread, no biscuits, no pasta, no cake. Now I know that along with nicotine, panadeine, caffeine and alcohol these are the four major food groups in our society (!), but you won’t die if you don’t eat them! On the contrary, there’s still plenty to eat, meat, fish, chicken, vegetables and fruit. This could really make a big difference to your metabolism – and the way you feel.
3. Go for a holiday.
Leonardo Da Vinci said:
‘Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.’
Paul Pearsal in his book, ‘Superimmunity’ said you need a 21 day away from home holiday each year to really reap the benefits of a good holiday.
4. Get yourself into the right job.
Your job is meant to give life to you, not suck life out of you. If you’re in the wrong job it can suck all the vitality out of you. It can make you desperately unhappy.
Find a job that suits your personality and your intelligence strengths.
The Buddha said, ‘Find the job you’d like to do and you don’t have to do another day’s work in your life.’ If you love maths get a job doing maths. If you’re a show-off get a job where you can perform in front of other people. Teaching might just be the shot. If you’re good with your hands and like working outdoors I’m sure there’s a job out there just waiting for you.
5. Read a book
Turn off the TV and read a book. In some of my seminars I ask people, ‘Who here hasn’t read a novel in the last 12 months.?’ About a third of those present put their hand up.
I tell them to, ‘Get lost, get lost in a book.’
Well, there’s much more to happiness that that, but it will have to wait for future articles.
In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned, and in the next week, make a point of doing some of the things happy people do to keep themselves happy.
Why not explore some Relaxation Techniques with Mp3