Happiness is an integral part of the human experience. It drives us, worries us, and many of us live our life in pursuit of it. But is it really important?

Research says it is. According to Science Magazine, happy people live up to 14 percent longer (ranging from seven to 10 years) and are less likely to get into accidents. A recent study done by Harvard Medical School states that people who are more optimistic (aka happy) are up to 50 percent less likely to suffer from heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

So being happy does more for you than just putting a smile on your face. It’s time to start making it a priority. If you don’t know how, don’t worry. We’re going to show you.

Here are five easy ways to increase happiness and start looking on the bright side of life.

Exercise

We all know that exercise is good for us, but did you know it can have a huge impact on happiness levels too? According to a study published in Neuroscience, when we exercise, our brains produce more proteins and endorphins, which lift our mood and make us feel better emotionally as well as physically.

Laugh Often

Most people agree that laughing makes you feel better, but did you know it increases long-term happiness and has significant impacts on your health? Research shows that after a good laugh, not only does your body experience muscle relaxation, but it also decreases heart rate and blood pressure. Laughing also decreases stress and can have a positive impact on the psychological symptoms people experience when bad things happen. And laughing often has also been shown to improve mental health and increase self-esteem.

Give

According to the UN’s World Happiness Report, generosity is one of the major contributing factors to people’s happiness. People experience more happiness in giving to others then when they receive things from others. To take this even further, a research study completed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science showed that those who spent money on others had more happiness than those who spend money on themselves.

Meditate

Meditation does a body good, and a psyche too. Meditating can improve many areas of your life, and happiness is among them. When you meditate, your mind clears as you detach from emotions and clear your mind. As stress levels and anxiety decrease, you (and your mind) calm down. Meditation brings you to a point of contentment, which leads to happiness.

Smile

Just about everyone looks and feels better when they smile. And according to a recent study, genuine smiles improve mood and decreases stress. But when people fake smiles on a regular basis, especially women, it can have the opposite effect and lead to a decrease in moods and an increase in withdrawal rates.

 


Would you say you’re happy?┬áIs happiness a priority in your life? What do you do to stay happy? Share it in the comments.


Other Image Source: Flickr

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Molly Carter
Molly Carter
Molly is a freelance writer who talks about everything and anything from addiction, to sex. to skinning a deer. You can find her at MollyCarterWriter.com, or Facebook.