According to the Declaration of Independence, one of our inalienable rights is the pursuit of happiness. The key word is “pursuit.” Happiness and health aren’t just going to show up at your door with a bouquet of flowers; you’re going to have to go to the florist yourself. Luckily, this is easy to do. Here are nine simple tips to show you how:
1. KEEP LEARNING
Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young...” Engage in activities that are new and challenging. As your brain adjusts to these new activities and they become routine, challenge it with newer ones. This causes your synaptic density to increase, lowering your susceptibility to neurodegenerative diseases.
2. HAVE LOTS OF SEX
See? We told you that these suggestions were easy to follow! Sex is an exercise, and exercises burn calories. Exercise also combats premature aging. Sex decreases blood pressure and may even safeguard against strokes. The release from orgasm is very calming and aids with sleep, whether you have a co-pilot or are flying solo.
3. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Sleep profoundly affects our health and should be taken seriously. Yet according to a 2016 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only one three adults gets enough sleep. Most adults should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation can adversely affect everything from the nervous system to the endocrine system.
4. CULTIVATE POSITIVITY
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” This expression was coined by Abraham Lincoln, and it’s true -- happiness is a choice. It’s a choice that will not only dramatically improve your quality of life but may even ward off major conditions like high blood pressure. Try dropping grudges, accepting yourself and practicing gratitude to cultivate positivity.
5. STOP SMOKING
It bears repeating: if you smoke, stop. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Smoking causes emphysema, heart disease, and lung cancer. The habit can also elevate the possibility of blindness, Alzheimer’s and lupus. According to a 2010 study by Brown University, smoking cessation actually made quitters feel happier, contrary to conventional wisdom of the opposite.
6. STEER CLEAR OF TOXIC PEOPLE
When you have toxic friends you don’t need enemies! They pick fights and criticize. They blame and hold grudges. You dread being around them; you feel like you’re tiptoeing around landmines in their company. The emotional, mental and physical toll isn’t worth it. Cut them loose and make way for healthier relationships.
7. SPEND TIME IN NATURE
There’s something about nature that stirs the spirit and nourishes the soul. Positive emotion is stimulated by natural beauty. “We are seeing changes in the body and changes in the brain,” says researcher David Strayer of the University of Utah, “that suggest we are physically and mentally more healthy when we are interacting with nature.”
8. LIVE IN THE MOMENT
You’re at the beach, worrying about the bills. When paying the bills you’re fantasizing about the beach. And where does the present go? Poof! Mindfulness is a practice that can help you actively and deliberately tune in to the moment, relishing it without trying to control or judge it. It’s a great practice to incorporate into your life to gain peace and presence.
9. CONSIDER A KETO DIET
The keto, or ketogenic diet, reduces carbs while increasing fats to train your body to utilize fat as energy. It causes your body goes into ketosis, a state triggered by a deficit of carbs -- and begins burning fat. It can help you maintain a healthy weight, and keto delivery is available if you don’t feel like fussing in the kitchen.
Happiness isn’t genetic or something you can buy (think twice about purchasing that red Ferrari). It’s very real and available to anyone, anywhere, right now. These nine tips will point you in the right direction.