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Building happiness to counter depression

Written by on February 14, 2019

External factors in our lives have little influence on our happiness. Promotions, new relationships and lucky monetary gains give only a temporary boost to our happiness before we return to a biological baseline. Sustained happiness takes work. Listed below are exercises that, when practiced regularly, can build habits to reinforce happiness. Choose a few exercises that fit well within your lifestyle and make a point to practice them every day.

Gratitudes

Write down three things for which you are grateful for each day. Don’t worry if they seem simple or mundane, just get something down on paper. Writing down things you are grateful for will help you identify positive aspects of even the worst days.

Acts of kindness

Make a conscious effort to do something nice for no reason other than to help. You might be surprised how a simple act of kindness can turn around the day for both you and the recipient of your action.

Exercise

The positive effects of exercise can be outstanding. Physically active people have increased energy, superior immune systems and a frequent sense of accomplishment. Exercise can reduce insomnia, stimulate brain growth and even act as an anti-depressant. If jogging or going to the gym fills you (like me) with a sense of dread, don’t be afraid to start with a short walk or a slow bike ride. try to increase the length of walks or rides each week.

Meditation

Research has linked meditation with reduced anxiety and more positive emotions.Those who meditate regularly may even permanently restructure their brains to create sustained happiness.

Positive journaling

Take some time out of your day to write about any positive events in your life. Write about a fun day spent with friends, a good movie, or inactivity you enjoyed. If a journal seems like too much, write down something good that happened to you on any given day, it can be as simple as stroking a dog that you met. When you have written this down on a slip of paper, fold it and put it in a jar. Every month, or whichever length of time you feel like, empty the jar and read all of the good things that have happened to you over the course of that time. Positive journaling or chronicling will get you into the habit of focussing on the positive and ignoring the negative.

Fostering relationships

Strong social connections are thought to be one of the most powerful influences on our mood. Those who are dedicated to spending time with friends and/or family show the highest levels of happiness, if you can’t see your loved ones every day you can still send an email, make a phone call, send a text or interact with them on social media. if it feels like you never see your loved ones, schedule time that can be dedicated to them.

“My friends look out for me like family” – H2O – 5 Year Plan.


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