Considering the hectic and stressful lives we lead, it's easy to get caught up in the negativity. However, we're championing how effective a positive attitude and mindset can be to your outlook, health and quality of life. Here are five easy ways to be happier:
1) Smile often
Smiling can make us feel better – it's a fact. And research indicates it can also reduce pain and improve memory and cognition. It's important to practice "real smiles" which reach your eyes, not just your mouth. So fake it until you feel it: think happy thoughts and smile a real smile for an instant mood-boost.
2) Do a good deed
This could include helping a neighbour with shopping, complimenting a colleague on some great work, making a donation to charity – do good to feel good. Scientists say that the "helpers high" that results from such acts of kindness have an effect on the brain and body, leading to happiness and health.
3) Get to know your neighbours
Research shows that connected communities equal happy individuals. Knowing your neighbours can boost mood, both in the short term (a cheery "good morning" from a neighbour when you leave your house for work can set you up for the day) and in the long term (knowing you can call on a neighbour for help, support and company provides a sense of comfort and security).
The act of clearing your mind through breathing exercises, has proven benefits for mood and stress levels, and is said by many to be the single most effective way to live a happier life. Incredibly we can actually change our brain structure with regular meditation, strengthening the connections associated with happy, calm thoughts. So 10 minutes a day will make you happy and keep you happy.
5) Take a walk outside
It isn't just fresh air that is responsible for the happy feeling that comes with taking a stroll on a fine day – research shows that the sunlight stimulates brain chemicals that improve mood. And the endorphins that are released when we walk briskly also help overcome sad feelings. So pull on your boots and walk your way to happiness.