This is the seventh installment of our “Be A Better You” series, which provides in-depth healthy living tips on the first Thursday of each month. This series will run through 2017. It’s like a New Year Resolution, but better!
Throughout our lives, we are faced with many choices, and you might be surprised to learn that happiness is not always a factor in those decisions. In fact, it’s often forgotten is the fact that happiness itself is a choice.
Each and every day, we have the opportunity to use the power of positive thinking to live happier lives, but doing so can unfortunately be difficult. We literally have to train ourselves to be happy, as years of doing things for other reasons, whether financial or familial, often pushes our own desire for happiness to the back burner. And after a lifetime of putting happiness second, it might not come naturally as we age. From financial worries to the fear of experiencing limited mobility, there could be many stressors keeping you from rediscovering how to find happiness in your daily life.
But just like anything else, practice makes perfect when it comes to happiness, and there are plenty of things you can do that will lead to both happy and healthy aging.
Why Focus on Positivity?
A positive attitude does much more than simply direct your outlook on life. Recent research from the Mayo Clinic has proven the connection between the power of positive thinking and healthy aging, the benefits of which include:
- Longer life span
- Decreased rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Stronger immune system and resistance to the common cold
- Improved psychological and physical well-being
- Better heart health and lower risk of death from heart disease
- Stronger coping skills during times of stress and hardships
Once you start using the power of positive thinking to your advantage, knowing how to find happiness in your life becomes much easier, and that starts by making small changes to your lifestyle that will have a big impact on your overall happiness and your physical well-being.
How to Find Happiness In Your Everyday Life
While it’s true that not every day will be full of smiles and sunshine, the good news is that there are several simple things you can do that will help you become happier, regardless of the stressors you may be dealing with.
Start a Gratitude Journal
If you tend to have a ‘glass half-empty’ outlook on life, starting a gratitude journal will be one of the best ways for you to break that habit. Simply write one thing a day that you are grateful for, whether it’s a family member or a friendly conversation with a neighbor. That way whenever you're feeling down, you have an entire collection of inspiring things to remind you of everything you have to be grateful for.
Not only is regular exercise one of the key components of healthy aging, but it can also help you become happier. That's because when you exercise, your body releases endorphins, chemicals which trigger a positive feeling and help fight stress.
If you're not sure where to begin, exercises like yoga, tai chi and nature walks have been proven to boost mental health as they allow you to escape from all other distractions and meditate on what is really important in your life.
Cut out the Junk Food
Junk food is not only detrimental to your health as it increases the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes, but it also affects your mood. According to a recent article, research has found that junk food is linked to a higher risk of depression.
Luckily, there are plenty of swaps for common cravings that will keep you healthy and happier. Plus, a balanced diet filled with fruits and vegetables has also been proven to reduce your risk of chronic conditions.
Practice Random Acts of Kindness
As you’re going about your daily routine, take advantage of any opportunity to help others. Whether you assist someone at a supermarket, visit a lonely neighbor or volunteer at a local charity, it doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone else’s life. In addition to learning how to find happiness while helping others, giving back also comes with many benefits, such as decreasing the risk of depression and increasing your lifespan.
Stay in Touch with Friends
Socialization is a key component to healthy aging, as it decreases the risk of depression and cognitive decline, but spending time with loved ones also makes you happier. If you have family and friends in the area, organize a weekly dinner or game night to ensure that you see them regularly.
Or if they live farther away, you can still keep in touch with your friends thanks to social media. Just be sure to practice online safety so you can stay protected while maintaining friendships on the web.
Try New Things
The best part about the power of positive thinking is that it can give you the courage to try new hobbies. From gardening, to painting, to creating your own bucket list, there are plenty of activities to choose from that will allow you to enjoy life in new ways.
Learning a new hobby takes time, however, so be patient with yourself and laugh off any mistakes you make along the way. Plus, you never know -- you may just end up finding a hobby that makes you even happier than you were before.
The Role of Positivity in Healthy Aging
When it comes to finding happiness in your daily life, there really is no right or wrong way to do so. No matter how you use the power of positive thinking, the golden years really can be some of the best years of your life simply by choosing happiness each and every day.