5 things that will make you happier

the asian age

Life, Health

We list ways a person can become happier, more focused and positive in a few simple ways.

According to science, gratitude boosts levels of two important chemicals in the body, serotonin and dopamine. (Photo: Pixabay)

Everyone in the modern world is looking for ways to profress further in life, be it a student or a working professional. However, perhaps, somewhere along the way, they forget to dwell on the little things in life. The rat race to excel often leaves a person fatigued and unhappy. This in turn affects them psychologically and their health as well.

We list ways a person can become happier, more focused and positive in a few simple ways.

Gratitude is a catalyst for happiness: According to science, gratitude boosts levels of two important chemicals in the body, serotonin and dopamine. These are the brain’s happy chemicals and work like antidepressant medications. The best thing about gratitude is one does not necessarily have to have everything going in his/her way for it to work, you don’t actually have to feel spontaneous gratitude in order to produce chemical changes in your brain; you just have to force yourself to think about something in your life that you appreciate. This train of thought activates your brain to make you feel happier.

Labeling negative feelings helps dilute their power: In a study, participants underwent fMRI scans of their brains while they labeled negative emotions. When they named these emotions, the brain’s prefrontal cortex took over and the amygdala (where emotions are generated) calmed down.

Making decisions feels good: Researchers say that making decisions engages the prefrontal cortex, which calms the amygdala and the rest of the limbic system. The important thing to remember is, it is not about making the perfect decision (which might cause stress) but rather a ‘good enough’ decision.

Making a “good enough” decision activates the dorsolateral prefrontal areas of the brain, calming emotions down and helping you feel more in control.

Lending a hand: Taking the time to help your colleagues not only makes them happy but also makes you happy. Helping other people gives you a surge of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, all of which create good feelings. In a Harvard study, employees who helped others were 10 times more likely to be focused at work and 40 per cent more likely to get a promotion.

Our brains are wired for touch: Humans are social animals, to the point that our brains react to social exclusion in the same way that they react to physical pain, with activity in the anterior cingulate and insula. Similarly, our brains are hardwired to interpret touch as social acceptance. Touch is one of the primary stimuli for releasing oxytocin, which calms the amygdala and, in turn, calms emotions. There are even studies that show that holding hands with a loved one actually reduces the brain’s response to pain.

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