How to be happy: Train your brain to be happier

Happiness often translates into a healthy life. Clearly, if you let go of all the negativity, you can enjoy a peaceful life. You can even train your brain to focus on all the positive things. Look for the good things in your life and don’t look for mistakes or flaws in everything you do or encounter. Also, be optimistic about the future as much as possible. This will ultimately make you happier and healthier. Read on to find out how to be happy in your daily life.

HealthShots caught up with Dr. Rishi Gautam, a US-based mental health expert and specialist in psychiatry, to talk about happiness.

Effects of happiness on health

Positive psychology focuses on your inner strength and character traits that promote happiness and health, says Dr. Gautam. Exercising, laughing, bonding, socializing, loving and caring for someone are activities that increase the release of endorphins in the brain. They are endogenous neurotransmitters that promote happiness. You would know them as the happy hormones.

Having an optimistic outlook on life, being cheerful and happy can help improve heart health, lower the risk of stroke and heart attack, improve sleep, prevent early onset memory loss, promote healthier eating, prevent obesity and chronic pain problems and arthritis among other things.

Train your brain so that happiness is healthy. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Happiness promotes a problem-solving approach, increases motivation to complete goals, helps connect with like-minded people, improves immune functioning, and generally leads to a longer life.

Ways to instill happiness and positive psychology in your daily life

1. Focus on your strengths

The first step to this is to identify your character traits that are protective. For example, if being creative is one of your strengths, spend a few minutes each or a few days each week channeling that in a goal-directed way. You can paint, draw, learn music, cook something new or interesting.

2. Be grateful

Practicing gratitude and being thankful can be a very relaxing experience for your mind. Make an intentional effort every day to identify things or people in your life that you are truly grateful for and let them know. Share the gratitude, suggests the expert.

3. Write your thoughts in a journal

It’s a great way to focus and find a way to increase your emotional quotient.

4. Develop positive skills

The good thing about positive psychology is that it can be learned. Train your mind to cultivate mindfulness, reflective listening, perspective taking, and then use this awareness in a problem-solving way that enhances collaboration between people at work or at home.

train your brain for happiness
Journaling can feel good. Try it! Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Practice kindness

Positive psychology interventions that focus on compassion can be simple acts like buying someone a small token of love, volunteering for a worthy cause, donating something, or helping a stranger in need. Kindness reinforces happiness and positivity and being kind can make you healthier.)

6. Find meaning in your life and participate in meaningful experiences

It helps to understand what is significant to us in life and why, and what we can do to achieve the things that matter in life. A person who has clarity of goals and expectations is more likely to feel happier and more content.

7. Believe in the power of positive images.

Close your eyes and imagine a beautiful day. Think about where you would like to be, with whom, what you would like to be doing and then imagine yourself doing that, says the expert. These kinds of brief thought experiments promote a happy outlook.

For more happiness hacks, click here!

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