Happiness is so interesting, because we all have different ideas about what it is and how to get it. I would love to be happier, as I'm sure most people would, so I thought it would be interesting to find some ways to become a happier person that are actually backed up by science. You might have seen some talk recently about the scientific 7 minute workout mentioned in The New York Times. Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it's actually been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression. Body weight, shape and body image were assessed in 16 males and 18 females before and after both 6 ? 40 mins exercise and 6 ? 40 mins reading. We've explored exercise in depth before, and looked at what it does to our brains, such as releasing proteins and endorphins that make us feel happier, as you can see in the image below. We know that sleep helps our bodies to recover from the day and repair themselves, and that it helps us focus and be more productive. Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus.
In one experiment by Walker, sleep-deprived college students tried to memorize a list of words. The BPS Research Digest explores another study that proves sleep affects our sensitivity to negative emotions. Using a face recognition task, here we demonstrate an amplified reactivity to anger and fear emotions across the day, without sleep. Of course, how well (and how long) you sleep will probably affect how you feel when you wake up, which can make a difference to your whole day. Another study tested how employees' moods when they started work in the morning affected their work day. Researchers found that employees' moods when they clocked in tended to affect how they felt the rest of the day. And most importantly to managers, employee mood had a clear impact on performance, including both how much work employees did and how well they did it. Sleep is another topic we've looked into before, exploring how much sleep we really need to be productive.
Two Swiss economists who studied the effect of commuting on happiness found that such factors could not make up for the misery created by a long commute.
Social time is highly valuable when it comes to improving our happiness, even for introverts. We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends. The men's relationships at age 47, he found, predicted late-life adjustment better than any other variable, except defenses.
Using the British Household Panel Survey, I find that an increase in the level of social involvements is worth up to an extra ?85,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction.
I think that last line is especially fascinating: Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness. We figured that if a Terman participant sincerely felt that he or she had friends and relatives to count on when having a hard time then that person would be healthier. This is pretty good news for those of us who are worried about fitting new habits into our already-busy schedules.
Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most.
The American Meteorological Society published research in 2011 that found current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity, or even the average temperature over the course of a day. The connection between productivity and temperature is another topic we've talked about more here. One of the most counterintuitive pieces of advice I found is that to make yourself feel happier, you should help others.
Participants recalled a previous purchase made for either themselves or someone else and then reported their happiness. A new study led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity.
Smiling makes us feel good which also increases our attentional flexibility and our ability to think holistically. As opposed to actually taking a holiday, it seems that planning a vacation or just a break from work can improve our happiness. One study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent. If you can't take the time for a vacation right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar--even if it's a month or a year down the road. Meditation is often touted as an important habit for improving focus, clarity and attention span, as well as helping to keep you calm. In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. Meditation literally clears your mind and calms you down, it's been often proven to be the single most effective way to live a happier live. Studies show that in the minutes right after meditating, we experience feelings of calm and contentment, as well as heightened awareness and empathy.
The fact that we can actually alter our brain structure through mediation is most surprising to me and somewhat reassuring that however we feel and think today isn't permanent.
This is a seemingly simple strategy, but I've personally found it to make a huge difference to my outlook.
The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. A few articles have been written before on this site about the various benefits of meditation.


Netflix enthusiast, horrible speller, jiujitsu hobbyist, weekend drinker, and occasional poker player. Relaxation Techniques as a Natural Remedy for Insomnia woman meditating.jpg This picture was found on Health and Lifestyle website.
A new study suggests that meditation may only provide mild relief from pain, depression, and anxiety but it does not really help in other issues such as eating problems, sleep problems, and weight management.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore led by assistant professor of general internal medicine Madhav Goyal did a meta-research of 47 existing studies and randomized clinical trials. The participants of the study were prescribed mindfulness meditation and mantra meditation. Results of the research showed that only patients who performed mindfulness mediation were able to report some benefits. Lukas Nelson, the son of Willie Nelson, has released a new album, "Something Real," with his roots rock band Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real. You don't have to be a booze hound to enjoy the travel adventures of Jack Maxwell, host of "Booze Traveler" on Travel Channel. Louise Harrison, the elder sister of George Harrison, had a front-row seat to musical history. We Millennials are killing the art of conversation and the desire to make our voices heard a€“ really heard a€“ one text message at a time. Meditation was first practiced by people in Asia as part of the Hindu and Buddhist religions.
There are several variants of meditation practices, which together are called the family of meditation practices. People who meditate regularly often say that they feel more compassionate toward others and have a happier outlook about life in general. By clearing the mind, meditation can help a person make more informed and better decisions. Some other positives of meditation are an increase in self-acceptance and learning how to forgive yourself for past mistakes. Meditative practices take many forms, but the fundamental idea is that the person who is meditating tries to go beyond the normal processes of thinking and logic in order to achieve a deeper, more relaxed state of mind.
Guided meditation CD’s for beginners are a good way to learn basic relaxation techniques. If you want to meditate at home, there is a beautiful guided meditation CD by Nithyananda that is often recommended for beginners.
Each step of the meditation will help you go deeper and calm the background noise in your mind.
For those who want to enjoy meditation with others, Zen meditation groups usually have group zazen sessions several times a week. The information on this website is for general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, or recommended treatments. It's also no surprise that it's the Nr.1 value for Buffer's culture, if you see our slidedeck about it. So if you thought exercise was something you didn't have time for, maybe you can fit it in after all. In a study cited in Shawn Achor's book, The Happiness Advantage, three groups of patients treated their depression with either medication, exercise, or a combination of the two.
It can help you to relax, increase your brain power and even improve your body image, even if you don't lose any weight.
Using a facial recognition task over the course of a day, the researchers studied how sensitive participants were to positive and negative emotions. However, an intervening nap blocked and even reversed this negative emotional reactivity to anger and fear while conversely enhancing ratings of positive (happy) expressions.
Early mood was linked to their perceptions of customers and to how they reacted to customers' moods. The fact that we tend to do this twice a day, five days a week, makes it unsurprising that its effect would build up over time and make us less and less happy.
If you want more evidence that it's beneficial for you, I've found some research that proves it can make you happier right now. Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family makes a big difference to how happy we feel, generally. Good sibling relationships seem especially powerful: 93 percent of the men who were thriving at age 65 had been close to a brother or sister when younger.
So we could increase our annual income by hundreds of thousands of dollars and still not be as happy as if we increased the strength of our social relationships. Beyond social network size, the clearest benefit of social relationships came from helping others.
Twenty minutes is a short enough time to spend outside that you could fit it into your commute or even your lunch break. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments. It also found that happiness is maximized at 13.9°C, so keep an eye on the weather forecast before heading outside for your 20 minutes of fresh air.
In fact, 100 hours per year (or two hours per week) is the optimal time we should dedicate to helping others in order to enrich our lives. Afterward, participants chose whether to spend a monetary windfall on themselves or someone else. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts - such as a tropical vacation or a child's recital - improve their mood and withdraw less. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants' brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.
And, research even shows that regular meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness.


There are lots of ways to practice gratitude, from keeping a journal of things you're grateful for, sharing three good things that happen each day with a friend or your partner, and going out of your way to show gratitude when others help you. Mindfulness meditation's key element is the present-focuses awareness while mantra meditation is a type of mediation wherein the patient is asked to say a phrase repeatedly.
In an example, a patient suffering from depression showed improvements similar to patients who were prescribed with antidepressants. Groll, a professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School-Massachusetts General Hospital who was not part of the study, commented that meditation is less effective in helping patients with stress-related problems. Groll also noted that the participants in the study were only given 30-40 hours of meditation, theorizing that perhaps "meditation is a skill that takes time to master." He also stated that there is a need for more evidence to be able to come up with more conclusions about the benefits of meditation. As our modern lifestyle becomes more and more stressful, many people want to know how meditation can help them find inner peace. The roots of meditation can be traced back as far as the 12th century when one of the first teachings was done by a monk named Guigo II. Those who meditate are taught to focus their minds until they achieve a higher state of consciousness. But it’s safe to say that meditation is a way to focus the mind in order to gain voluntary control over it. Through meditation, there is a heightened awareness of the nuances of life that allows people to be more optimistic and to find joy in the smallest of things.
Meditating regularly will help spur creativity, a helpful thing for people who require new ideas and inspiration to succeed at their jobs. By achieving your own inner peace, you may find that the people around you also become more accepting and loving. Meditations focusing on gratitude and forgiveness are often effective for individuals just learning how to meditate. The techniques for this meditation originate from Tibetan Buddhist, Vedanta, Zen Buddhism, Sufism, and ancient Christianity.
Typically these gatherings start with a video on life issues and higher consciousness, and end with Nithya Dhyan. These meetings normally involve silent meditation for ten to fifteen minutes at the start of the session, repeated again at the end. There are abundant resources in most communities to help you to find a supportive group of like-minded individuals. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate.
The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine.
Those who worked through the afternoon without taking a nap became more sensitive late in the day to negative emotions like fear and anger. Those who helped their friends and neighbors, advising and caring for others, tended to live to old age.
Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happier immediately after this recollection; most importantly, the happier participants felt, the more likely they were to choose to spend a windfall on someone else in the near future. Due to the shock of the reunion, a large portion of the infrastructure of volunteering (e.g. Even forcing a smile when we don't feel like it is enough to lift our mood slightly (this is one example of embodied cognition). Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits. The purpose of the study was to guide doctors in counselling their patients about the possible help that meditation can do.
However, the researchers also noted that only a few used mantra meditation which may account to lack of evidence for the benefits derived from this type of meditation. Meditation can have positive effects on heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, heart rate and breathing.
There will be a lot less friction in your relationships, both personally and professionally. Health benefits like stress reduction, lowered blood pressure and metabolism boost can come through practicing meditation. It can also improve your health by helping you to relax, reduce stress and promote natural healing. In the interim a video is shown related to higher consciousness and the benefits of silence.
The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent! If the answer is yes, let our soothing sleep meditation CD help you.Sleep deprivation is no joke, most of us experience it at some time or other, usually when we are going through some form of stress – it’s as if we forget how to fall asleep. Based on a comparison of the change in subjective well-being of these people and of people from the control group who had no change in their volunteer status, the hypothesis is supported that volunteering is rewarding in terms of higher life satisfaction.
Good, recuperative sleep is nature’s way of repairing and is essential for all-round health. Sleep meditation trains the body and mind how to fall asleep naturally.This meditation for sleep uses progressive relaxation techniques, hypnotic suggestion and state of the art music brainwave entrainment, (binaural tones to induce the delta ‘sleep state’) to help you get a good, recuperative night’s sleep. Dr Christopher Lloyd Clarke, the composer of the beautifully soothing music, has applied the scientific principles of psychoacoustics and music psychology to promote well-being and relaxation.Please note that brainwave entrainment music requires the use of headphones, so that each ear receives a specific frequency. I cannot tell you what a difference a good night's rest makes and how this has been helped by the CD.



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  1. 28.08.2013 at 12:18:23
    GOLDEN writes:
    Draw similar to that felt by a marathoner who.
  2. 28.08.2013 at 22:59:44
    HIP_HOP_E_MIR writes:
    These kinds of judgments the study showed that neural and rejuvenating therapies.