The Ultimate Happiness Cheat Sheet

Staying happy can take a bit of effort. The good news is that it’s not that difficult with a few tricks up your sleeve. Here are some proven tips to help.

Breathe

Taking a couple of minutes to close your eyes while taking a few rounds of deep

inhales and exhales can allow the body to relax and calm down the busy and active mind. Your breath is a powerful and simple way to anchor yourself in the present moment and raise your overall mood.

Open Your Shades

Our bodies need the right amount of light at the right intensity and at the right time of day to act as cues for our internal body clock. Light in the morning helps us wake up and feel alert and energized, while dimmer light at night cues us to go to sleep and stay asleep. Light is critical for our health and wellbeing. Ensuring that we receive adequate light levels at the appropriate time of day benefits our alertness, mood, productivity, sleep patterns and many aspects of our physiology.

Meditate

Meditation is an underutilized tool to optimize mental health. Not only is it helpful for stress relief and gaining greater self-awareness, but it has also been shown to alter the structures of your brain for the better, including reducing activity in the “me” centers of your brain. Meditation is also linked to decreased anxiety and depression and improved psychological well-being. It takes discipline to be mindful, but the rewards are peace and happiness.

Smile

Simply thinking about something positive, and smiling as a result, can make you happier and more upbeat (more so than simply fake smiling, which is actually linked to worsened mood). A genuine smile includes the facial muscles around your eyes, and can actually prompt brain changes linked to increased mood.

Practice Gratitude

Happy people recognize that they always have something to be grateful for. Research in the field of Positive Psychology has shown that people who practice gratitude are happier, less stressed and less depressed. The magical thing about gratitude is that it can work even when things aren’t going so well. That’s because you don’t actually have to feel spontaneous gratitude in order to produce chemical changes in your brain; you just have to focus on something in your life that you appreciate. This train of thought activates your brain to make you feel happier.

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