So, what makes YOU happy?? Maybe it’s a hug, a friendly welcome from a friend, your pet, or your comfortable bed at the end of a long day. Science has studied the power of happiness and has found some pretty exciting results. It turns out that some pretty simple things make us all happy (or happier!).
The Power of A Smile
Everyone knows that smiles are infectious. If you are a skeptic, try NOT smiling when you pass a friend, neighbor or even a stranger who has looked and smiled at you. Your body automatically responds to that person with a matching smile! Smiling also releases endorphins in your body that allow you to feel joy or happiness. In addition to feeling happy, these endorphins being released in your body can have amazing positive health benefits like lower blood pressure, lower stress levels and lower heart rates. And, get this…the smile does not even have to be genuine. Even fake smiles have these positive effects!
Exercise Fuels Happiness
Exercise is another gateway to happiness. When you get your body moving, it also releases those powerful endorphins and has a positive impact on your mental health. One study compared the impact of exercise versus an antidepressant and found that they were equally as effective at improving your overall mood. That’s pretty incredible when you think about it! Exercise also has many other positive health benefits. One last note about exercise—even a little bit a day can make you happier!
Comfort Food Makes Us All Happy
Finally, we have all had the experience of tasting something that reminded us of being a kid or of a happy time. Well, eating that “comfort” food takes you back to a happy place and can make you feel happy. Other foods, like bananas, spinach and turkey aid in serotonin production and literally makes us feel happier.
Getting Help If You Need It
Happiness is an important component to your psychological health and may be more difficult for some to find than others. If you find that you are struggling and not able find ways to feel happy on a regular basis, you may find that you need some support. Laurie Grengs is a psychologist at the International Center for the Attainment of Love and Joy, serving the entire Minneapolis, MN area. She specializes in marriage therapy, couples counseling, anger management , spiritual counseling, and can consult psychological assessment and evaluation to determine if depression or anxiety may be playing a role for you. She can be reached for a consultation or appointment at 1-877-572-2326 or by email at .