The happiness level is declining day by day. What makes us happy?
Here you will find 4 tips on how to be happy and this article does not make you happy but it can surely teach you how to become happy and fulfilled. Psychological researchers have suggested the followings ways to become happier.
First, we should know where we are standing: Close your eyes and think about things which you think make you happy. Most of us find Money, high-paid job, good relationships, and luxury items. Let’s find out one by one, do they actually make us happy?
We are always in the hope to get lots of money.
But does bigger income increases life satisfaction?
Interestingly people spend more money to buy lottery tickets than they spend on books, sports, movies, etc. Research shown us when our basic needs like food, shelter, clothes are not met life satisfaction increases with income. There is a strong correlation between income and life satisfaction. But what happens when our basic needs are fulfilled.
In World value survey, which surveys adults across many different countries try to find out any relation between income and life satisfaction. In India, the survey found a correlation between income and life satisfaction is 0.17 only. This means once you get your basic needs, getting extra income is not going to make us happy.
2 Luxury items
Do things and luxury items make us happy?
Does it increase our subjective well-being?
Do you think luxury kinds of stuff going to make us happy?
A survey was conducted in the years 1940 and 2015 to measure happiness. In the year 1940 people rated 7.5 out of 10 on the happiness scale and in the year 2015 people rated 7.2 out of 10 in the happiness index. In 1940 we had fewer luxury things as compared to 2015, despite this fact they scored higher on the happiness scale.
Nickerson and colleagues conducted a survey in the year 1976 on 12000 subjects and asked about materialist attitudes. Twenty years later they again asked about life satisfaction to same 12000 subjects and found those subjects who had high materialists reported less life satisfaction as compared to those who low materialists. Materialists also had more mental health disorders.
Before explaining this I want to share the honeymoon effect phenomenon. The honeymoon effect is like energy and passion state resulting from love feeling.
Most humans feel this effect early in their relationships. Our happiness is up because of the honeymoon effect but research has shown after two years happiness levels just come back to baseline.
When we enter into a relationship we presumed our self happy and on top of the world due to the honeymoon effect but after a two-year level return to baseline.
So what actually makes us happy?
Before knowing tips on how to be happy we should understand our brain. Sixty million years ago primates’ brain emerged and 2.5 million years ago humans began making tools and living in groups. Our ancient history influenced us till today, so for understanding today’s humans, we must understand our ancestors and their routine.
Stone Age men live in groups and hunt together. They helped each other in need and their social ties were strong. The whole day ancient manhunt in the jungle and sleep in the night.
The modern human is the modification of Stone Age man. Their basic behavior deeply rooted in our genes and we cannot change our genetics. We have seen rapid growth and transformation in the 19th century. It takes 60 million years to make modern humans, so deeply rooted behavior cannot be modified so early.
Tips on how to be happy
When we do something good for others we feel connected and proud. We find consistently happier people are thinking about doing more and more kind things and are motivated to do them.
When we just only think about our kind actions, we become happy. This is not the happiness of people who receive the act of kindness, it is just our own happiness and we should seeking out and doing more of these kinds of stuff.
Social connectedness does matter much more than we think. Researcher Seligman and Ed Diener conducted research in which subjects were divided into two groups.
The first group includes people who were happy and the second group consists of people who were unhappy, and when they tried to look at those people’s rating of their own quality of social relationships.
They find people who were unhappy have fewer close friends and weak family ties than happy people. We feel comfortable in an adverse situation by just only taking with someone.
Exercise can boost not just our mental health wellbeing but also our brain function and our cognitive function with it. A sedentary lifestyle makes us sad and lethargic.
A sedentary lifestyle defined as less than 5000 steps per day and an active lifestyle is more than 7500 steps per day. There is a sharp drop in physical activities since 1990 and it is projected to continue till 2030.
So actually what happens when we exercise: The human body is trying to maintain homeostasis, maintaining a basic level of body temperature, PH value and glucose. In normal conditions, glucose is released by the liver equal to glucose uptake by the body.
During exercise muscles need more fuel in that case glucose shifts from blood to muscle to satisfy the metabolism required of working muscle. When we are very hungry even normal food becomes so tasty, the same applies to the body when we do exercise. Energy demand increases, our muscle needs more energy and our happiness level increased.
Human brain is like a machine, as wear and tear happen when the machine is working. In the same way, when the brain is working continuously a day, its muscles break and tired.
Repair of damaged tissues and muscles carried out by the body when we sleep. Sleep plays an important role in our well-being. Sleeping about 7 to eight hours a night can make us happier.
There is no one in this world who can make you happy. Your happiness depends on your choices, lifestyle, and satisfaction factor. We can change our mindset, our belief,s, and lifestyle any time when we want to.
The human brain is plastic as others muscle, nutrition, sleep, exercise help it to change. For changing behavior, we need to change habits.
Nickerson et al. (2003). Zeroing on the dark side of the American dream: A closer look at the negative consequences of the goal for financial success. Psychological science, 14,531-536
Seligman et al (2005). Positive psychology Progress : Empirical validation of interventions. Amercian Psychologist, 60(5):410-421