7 Avenues to a Longer and Happier Life
We all want to be happy as the song goes “Don’t worry, be happy!” Have you tried looking at yourself in the mirror and ask if you are happy? Or you just turned around and sigh after seeing those big eye bags and wrinkles in your forehead?
Happiness isn’t just a state of emotion. It goes much deeper that what we think. As a matter of fact, a study shows people who are happy live longer and healthier lives. Achieving conditioned happiness or better bliss is something we can all do regardless of our environment or genetics and this is the good news!
First thing to do is change your attitude.
Set aside the pessimist in you. Those people who have positive outlook in life are protected against cardiovascular disease. Optimistic people are 50% less likely to suffer from heart disease, a heart attack or a stroke.
Learn from the people who are already happy.
Copenhagen is known as the world’s happiest city and overall Denmark ranked No. 1 as the happiest nation in the world according to research and has been on top on the European Commission’s “Eurobarometer” for well-being and happiness every year since 1973.
According to the U.N. World Happiness Report, Danes are more satisfied with their lives with things like life expectancy, gross domestic product and a low-corruption rate. Generosity among them adds to the level of happiness and that’s common among them and their freedom to make life choices and a strong social support system too.
Over work is a no, no.
Danes has the average workweek of 33 hours and only 2% work more than 40 hours a week. They have a great work-life balance, which contributes much to their happiness level.
Mothers in Denmark have good balance of work and family. According to research, almost 80% of mothers in Denmark return to work after having a child but they spend their free time between families, happy hour with their girlfriends and they get involved in community club programs.
Pay attention on experiences.
Building memories is important among Danes the reason why they pay less attention to gadgets and things.
Studies show that people who focus on experiences over “things” have higher levels of satisfaction and they feel a greater sense life during the experience and afterward. It also brings you mentally closer to the people around you, which may contribute to your happiness boost.
Paying much attention tp material stuff usually leads to debt, not to mention the time and stress associated with keeping up all those gadgets, cars, properties, clothes, etc.
Grow your social network.
Research shows that a strong social support system can lengthen our telomeres. Telomeres are the tiny caps on our DNA chromosomes that indicate our cellular age. Having no friends can equal shorter telomeres and, in turn, a shorter life. By simply being social, you could slow down your biological age.
Have at least one close friend to boost your happiness level and health. Remember loneliness leads to higher rates of depression, health problems and stress.
Join in volunteer activities.
“It is better to give than to receive.” Performing acts of kindness, volunteering time and donating money increases happiness by improving your sense of community, purpose and self-image.
The United Nations even credits volunteerism as one of the reasons Denmark is the happiest nation in the world – 43% of Danes regularly give back to their community, compared with 25% of Americans.
Just start laughing.
Go and get yourself some good laughs. Laughing is the best stress reliever and can help us cope with and survive a stressful lifestyle. Our stress hormones decrease and our endorphins rise when we laugh. Endorphins are the same brain chemicals associated with the “runner’s high” you get from exercise.
Laughing is also good for your heart so force yourself to laugh a few minutes every day. You can even fake it until you make it. Laugh in your car, in the shower and anywhere you want it.