What are the scientific ways to become happy?
Happiness is, of course, something that most of us want to feel. But for some reason, it is elusive. Is it really hard to be happy?
Psychologists and philosophers have contending views on happiness. But neuroscience has enough evidence to show what people should do to be happy.
Fortunately, all of these tips are free. It’s just a matter of executing few behaviors correctly. In this article, Psych Lens presents some of the significant findings of neuroscience on how you can become happy in your daily life.
1. Say thank you.
When you thank someone for a favor, unconsciously you are focusing your attention on the positive outlook on life. And the best part of this is that, being positive triggers the release of serotonin in your brain. The serotonin is a brain chemical that is responsible for regulating emotion. In fact, it can reduce the level of depression.
2. Take one problem at a time.
The brain cannot handle multiple problems at a time. Although it does not stop to find solutions, it has limited capability and easily gets tired. The bad thing is that when your brain gets tired, you are now vulnerable to stress and anxiety.
But focusing on one problem at a time, however, helps your brain gain more focus. Thus, the problem can be solved easily. And more importantly, every problem solved successfully, the brain rewards itself with ample amount of neurotransmitters that make you assess your life positively.
3. Don’t keep negative feelings; talk about them.
Keeping bad feelings inside you can hurt you chronically. You’ll be prone to stress and depression. What you want to do instead is share them with the world. Doing this triggers your brain to release more serotonin that helps you to have positive insights in life.
4. Touch and be touched.
We are having fun communicating with others. And part of these wonderful social interaction tendencies is physical touches.
Touching or hugging is essential to our emotional need. If you remove tactile relationship with others, your brain perceives it the way it perceives pain. Therefore, it then produces negative feelings that could potentially lead to stress and depression.
Constant learning ignites the brain to produce more dopamine – a neurotransmitter that produces happy feelings. So if you want to be happy, grab a book, or learn a new skill.
6. Remain physically active.
Physical activities like running or playing basketball in your backyard can be tiring. But after that, your brain will produce an increased amount of endorphins. Endorphins are natural painkillers inside the body that reduces the pain and boosts happy feelings.
Physical activities do not require you to do heavy exercise. A simple walk is enough to initiate the same effect. It refreshes your mind and emotional state.
7. Have enough sleep.
You may have difficulty sleeping in well-lighted areas. This is because the light triggers the brain to produce stress hormones to awaken the body. Thus, it is hard to sleep when the light is on.
However, if you sleep in the dark room, the body will produce melatonin hormone that slows down the body’s systems and increases the serotonin level.
8. Expect pleasant experiences.
The brain is having pleasure when we imagine good things to happen. It is a similar learned response found in Pavlov’s experiments. This is the reason why we feel excited when special moments are about to arrive. We feel happy when the payday or Friday is approaching. This would mean that the long work weekdays are about to end.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.