Happiness is defined by two key components: life satisfaction and the balance of emotions. How satisfied you feel about the different areas of your life such as work, achievements, relationships and so on can greatly impact your happiness and confidence. Every single person experiences negative and positive emotions, moods and feelings, however happiness is when those positive feelings outweigh the negative most of the time.
What happiness looks like
Ask yourself this: do I have a healthy balance of emotions? Many people struggle to balance their emotions, so if you answered no, you’re certainly not alone. Fortunately, you can always find ways to boost your mood, but most of the time it’s only temporary. If you’re looking for new ways to improve your happiness that will actually stick, look no further.
Eat foods that make your brain happy
You’ve probably heard the term “you are what you eat” well, it might be true after all. The foods you eat can impact your cognitive health for better or for worse, that’s why it’s number one on the list!
Our brains function best when we consume high-quality, whole foods full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and the vital nutrient to happiness: fatty acids. Think – eating the colors of the rainbow when grocery shopping for fruits and veggies, the brighter the better and of course, lots of leafy greens! In addition to the usual suspects, you want to include omega-3-fatty-acids into your daily brain diet such as fish, olive oil, nuts (especially walnuts) and seeds. As a Nutritionist I always like to recommend using some of these ingredients in a smoothie for a tasty and quick snack or even breakfast to ensure you’re consuming these foods on a regular basis.
Consuming nutritious foods help protect the brain from oxidative stress as they are anti-inflammatory and according to multiple studies certain whole foods such as dark berries have neuroprotective benefits on the brain and can prevent age-related neurodegenerative disease all while improving motor and cognitive functions. The best part about eating foods for your brain is that you're in complete control, therefore it’s a simple and effective way to maintain and sustain optimal brain health!
Brain powered smoothie recipe
Define your purpose
Having a sense of purpose is proven to boost happiness, many studies suggest people who feel they have purpose in life are more likely to feel both mentally and physically better on a daily basis. It's been shown that having purpose is a sustainable way to enhance mood long-term, as dopamine (our happy hormone) is perfectly increased and maintained as a result keeping us motivated and happy while living out our purpose. UCLA researchers recently found that happiness derived from a purpose in life has a healthier genetic effect than pleasure-seeking. Additional studies suggest purpose is correlated with other positive behaviors like increased exercise, healthy diet, lower incidence of chronic diseases, anxiety and stress – it's been said that purposeful people live longer too! So you see, living out your purpose will not only keep your spirits high, but improve healthy habits so you can live your best life!
Do it for the greater good
There’s a thing called temporary happiness, which comes from things that give us momentary pleasure like shopping, indulging in sweets, or going to a concert (the things that don't make you happy forever), but true sustainable happiness comes from within, it’s what we give, not what we receive. Research has shown that helping others is directly linked to psychological changes in the brain associated with happiness. Think back to different times in your life when you helped someone in need and how good that felt? The age old saying “it’s better to give than receive” still stands true, especially when it comes to your own happiness. Try to carve out specific time whether it’s daily, or weekly to lend a helping hand. This doesn’t have to be time consuming, it can take up as much or as little time as you can offer, just stick to it – consistency is key! Think of small acts of kindness, paying it forward, volunteering, maybe call your grandparents, donate your clothes, whatever it may be that is helping others will in turn help you too.
“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
- Chinese Proverb