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Whether it’s genetic or my millennial showing, I prefer to be happy.
Somedays it’s easier to achieve than others, but I have a few free happiness hacks that ensure I’m a 9 out of 10 on the happiness scale.
One is the worst, somewhere around sleeping in the mud, when it’s raining, on an empty stomach, with explosive diarrhea. Ten is where everything is ideal, from a job and finances to love and friendship.
As a default, my happiness hovers around 9. I have a wonderful job, husband, house, friends, and I’m always an icy door away from a sweet confection. The only thing that pulls from the magical 10 is finances; I would like to be closer to robust instead of mediocre.
It’s easy to stay at the top of the happiness scale when there are happiness hacks to chip away at gloom and doom days.
Starting with Sleep
Sleep is a divine activity.
Sleep is when my entire body, including my brain, gets a chance to reboot. If done correctly with 8+ hours, I wake up feeling like Wonder Woman, ready to tackle challenges and whip all the ails into minor details.
When I don’t put sleep as a priority and short-change snooze time, I feel tired more than when I fell asleep. The day is starting rocky when my immediate thought at 5:30 is it too soon to take a nap?
While one night of poor sleep can make you feel zombie like the next day, years of tossing and turning can lead to weight gain, chronic stress, fatigue and an unhealthy life.Be More with Less
On days that I don’t get enough sleep, it takes more energy to do basic things like making good choices including avoiding breakroom baked goods.
No matter what is going on in the world, it is always more manageable with a full slate of sleep.
Plus, it’s a way to save money. No electricity, food, or running water needed! Saving money and sanity, this may be the perfect happiness hack.
Mediate or Frustrate
Meditation has been the newest addition to the happiness hacks, but it has a powerful punch. I find it hard to express in words, but I don’t have to because research tells a tale that is way more impressive than any anecdote.
Research done by Wake Forest Baptist University found that meditation has the power to decrease the intensity of pain by 40% and the general unpleasantness of pain by a whopping 57%. Comparatively, morphine and similar painkillers reduce pain only about 25% […] This study found that those who practiced mindful meditation reported a higher pain tolerance than those who did not meditate.Online Psychology Degree Guide
Similar to its cousin (sleep), meditation is always free 99. There is no fancy gear, memberships, or even a postage stamp needed.
I meditate for 30 minutes, 15 in the morning, and during lunch. I break it into chunks since it is easier to find smaller bits of time in the hustle, bustle, and muscle of the day.
If I skip a round, I can tell. After I meditate, I have more control over thoughts which helps emotions from running amuck.
Without the meditation buffer, feelings become quick with extremes from smoldering anger to a tearful down pour. Often over minor things like being interrupted or listening to a sorrowful Sarah McLachlan song during an animal adoption commercial.
Meditation is a minty balm to heated emotional upheavals. It brings focus back to what’s important: this moment and this breath. Sometimes, when struggling to focus during mediation, I count how many breaths I can take before my mind wanders off to hang out with Mad Max.
Nature is Happiness
Nature brings the rain of happiness.
Scientists are beginning to find evidence that being in nature has a profound impact on our brains and our behavior, helping us to reduce anxiety, brooding, and stress, and increase our attention capacity, creativity, and our ability to connect with other people.University of California, Berkeley
There once was a children’s movie that was deeply disturbing yet relevant. It began in the future, where our planet was a giant landfill. Humanity had to leave because it no longer had trees, food, or grizzly bears to cuddle with.
It did have cockroaches.
It was a distressing movie right up there with the crazy lady who prized Dalmatians a little too much.
Wall E may have been the stuff of animated nightmares, but it did give insight into how hollow humans become when we aren’t grounded in nature.
Nature is the best place to find all the good things like fast-running streams, dirt trails to open meadows, and mountains that are so tall, they steal our breath.
Nature can be as petite as a potted plant or as big as a barrier reef. Either way, it pours sugar on our happy place.
Visiting nature doesn’t need to include a cross-country trip to Glacier. Though, it’s cheaper than anything starting with Disney and ending with Land. Even a trip to the local park or pond can cause endorphins to dump drugs of happiness.
On weekends, I try to ensure at least one day I go somewhere where trees outnumber humans. I may not be able to spend an entire day but even a few hours is worth the effort.
Life is meant to be happy.
On average, happy people are more successful than unhappy people at both work and love. Happy people also tend to be healthier and live longer.University of California, Berkeley
I find it ironic that happiness is also free. It takes time and planning, but the effort is rewarded with a better, healthier, and saner human.