Habits to Boost Your Happy Meter
We live in a world of abundance. Anything we desire is at our fingertips and we can get it now; gratification is instant and we should want for nothing. So why is it that over 1 million people in Australia have depression and over 2 million suffer with anxiety? Is it possible that we are searching for happiness and fulfillment in the wrong places?
In todays write up I will give you my thoughts on why your happy meter might be at an all time low and how simple daily habits to boost that baby back up again.
social media mayhem
“Being famous on Instagram is pretty much the same thing as being rich in monopoly” ~ Unknown
The average Aussie spends 12.5 hours on social media every week. That’s a whole day lost in a virtual black hole. This can take away time from real life connection, which can lead to feelings of emptiness. Now I love social media, I will be the first to say it. However there have been times where I have definitely overindulged and felt the effects it has had on my mental health and mood (and the mood of others around me).
Social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are full of beautiful people, doing beautiful things, in beautiful locations, with their beautiful dogs, eating beautiful food. And it makes sense. No one is going to post a photo of themselves straight out of bed with last nights ice cream stains over their T-shirt on the first day of their period. Social media platforms are designed to show the BEST version of yourself. A snap shot in time. Be careful not to compare their seemingly perfect life with your own, it’s simply a recipe for stinkin’ thinkin’.
Happy meter habit: Disconnect to reconnect. Put boundaries around when you do and don’t use social media
the dangers of the gap
“Happiness is here and now” ~ Unknown
We touched on comparing yourself to others, but what about comparing yourself to yourself? I once heard a interesting phrase by Lao Tzu “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present” and it reminded me of a lesson my good friend Dr Laurence Tham taught me. The dangers of the gap.
Say you envision yourself with the perfect figure, the new house, the promotion. Spending time visualizing yourself there and manifesting your outcomes is brilliant and I am all for it. But it is possible to fall into a trap. When you spend too much time thinking about the person you will become, the things you will have and achieve, we will find yourself in something called the gap. It’s the comparison of the person you are now with the person you want to be. The problem for many people is that as soon as they get close to that future self, they then make the goal bigger before they reach it, which leads to an endless chase. This can cause mental exhaustion, self doubt and a restless, anxious mind.
Happy Meter Habit: Take time to celebrate your daily wins.
live in the sunshine
“Keep your face towards the sunshine and the shadows will fall behind you” ~ Unknown
There is a reason why after spending time in the sun you feel instantly happy, brighter and lighter. It’s as though the sun literally recharges and invigorates you from outside, in. This is because when you spend a moderate amount of time in the sun it produces a happy hormone called serotonin. Low serotonin levels in the brain have been said to be one of the culprits for depression.
Sun light directly into the eyes also helps the regulation of melatonin through the pineal gland. Melatonin is produced at night to help you get a restful sleep, which is why you feel sleepy after having a day at the beach in the sun. And we all know that a poor nights sleep can put anyone in a bad mood.
Happy meter habit: Spend 20 minutes in the sunlight without sun glasses
“Healing is movement. Disease is inertia. If you put the body in motion, you will change” ~ Gabrielle R.
Did you know that sitting for 6 hours or more a day has the equivalent negative health effects of smoking? But not to worry, a 30 minute brisk walk counter balances those negative effects. Not only that, but physical activity and movement in our joints stimulates our central nervous system to produce ‘mood lifting’ endorphins. Movement literally changes your brain and the way you perceive the world.
And that is not even the best part. In 1999, a randomized controlled trial showed that depressed adults who took part in aerobic exercise improved as much as those treated with Zoloft (A powerful antidepressant medication).
Happy Meter Habit: Go for a brisk walk in the evening for 30 minutes