We all know that happiness is a state of mind. However, not many people know that happiness can be controlled consciously via the working of your brain.
Let’s delve more into the details of how happiness stems from brain activity and what practical steps you can take to be happier more often.
What influences happiness and joy in your mind?
Your state of mind, happy or not, is largely governed by 4 major hormones- serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins.
This hormone is a regulator, 80% of which is present in the gut. The higher the serotonin levels, the happier you are, and vice versa. Serotonin is largely influenced by how hungry you are, which also explains the term ‘hangry’.
When you anticipate feeling happy or simply derive joy from an incident yet to occur, that is dopamine at work. It induces a striving emotion in people which culminates into happiness almost instantly.
Man is a social animal, thanks to the hormone oxytocin. People tend to feel each other’s happiness, pain, and discomfort due to oxytocin. It is the hormone that induces empathy in human beings that makes us the social creatures that we are.
Endorphins are released in your system when you gain pleasure by any activity that you like. For instance, a hobby that gives you pleasure, cooking, painting, drawing, or dancing may be your source for the release of endorphins. This, in turn, makes you happy.
Why is it important to be happy?
As we all know, happiness is a state of mind. However, the mind and body are not mutually exclusive of each other. A sad, depressed, worried, anxious, and agitated mind takes a toll on the physical health of the body too.
Similarly, being physically unwell reflects in your mood and mental energy too. Being happy ensures that you emit a positive vibe. It is scientifically proven that a cheerful mind leads to robust immunity, better gut health, smooth digestion, and a strong body.
Moreover, with a positive outlook, you tend to attract like-minded people towards you giving you the company of equal or happier minds.
How can you remain happier and more cheerful?
- Take action:
One of the primary differences between happy and stressed people is that the former group believes in taking action. Sadness and worry stem from want. We, as humans beings, always tend to have desires and needs. And when they aren’t met, we resort to sadness.
However, simply fretting over stuff we don’t have control over is not in our best interest. Instead, people who own up to their losses, take action, and strive to gain what they want to achieve are the happiest.
It gives your brain a sense of satisfaction, a relief, and something to celebrate. Watching your actions develop into results, good or bad, is enough for your mind to be happy and look forward to the next big win.
This process of taking action also trains your mental fitness. If it’s a loss, it gives your mind a reason to work harder. It is a continuous process of working upon your goals that only makes you happier with time.
- Watch your company:
The most important step to being happy is to pull yourself away from people who put you down and are not contributing to your happy state of mind.
Instead, put yourself in the company of happy, positive, and encouraging, and hardworking people that choose to see the brighter side of life rather than stressing on the negatives.
This attitude, in turn, will reflect in your habits as well making you a happier and optimistic person in the long run. In addition to that, listening to motivating speeches, podcasts, videos, and read books pertaining to optimism also helps to a large extent. Start to create an atmosphere and environment around positivity and happiness.
- Monitor your food habits:
Fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, and drinking plenty of water are known to have a considerable positive impact on your overall mood. Excess sugar, fats, and unhealthy junk food not only push your physical health down the drain but also drastically impact your mind and thoughts too.
With a junk diet, you feel less active, agitated, irritated, and more prone to mood swings than you do on a healthy well-balanced diet. Food is fuel and the brain needs the right nutrients to support your mental state and performance. Make sure you include omega 3 fatty acids from salmon fish, soya, and cod liver oil to boost your mood.
- Train your brain using Mental Edge Fitness SolutionsÆ neurofeedback:
Mental Edge Fitness SolutionsÆ Neurofeedback is a non-invasive, drug-free reward-based training system for your brain. It’s a process in which your brain learns what it needs to do to improve its performance. Research has shown engaging in neurofeedback training improves your overall health and wellness, making you calmer, more efficient, balanced and happier.
- Get active:
Exercising more often, staying active and energetic, and working out at least 5 days a week are all habits that play a huge role in uplifting your mood. In fact, exercising initiates a thorough blood circulation in your body while promoting a healthy vibe.
In addition to that, exercising releases happy hormones in your system serotonin and dopamine that induce happiness and excitement in your system.
Working out, above all, sends a direct message to your subconscious that a major goal has been accomplished which gives you the determination and drive to meet other goals you’ve set for the day.
- Make the decision and choose to be happy:
Last but not least, you need to strictly decide to be happy. Once you’re strong enough and determined to be joyful and cheerful emitting happy vibes, you’ll soon find plenty of reasons around you to be happier than stressed, anxious, or worried.
However, the most crucial aspect of this is to look at the positive side of things. It is important to learn from the failures but not hold on to them because they then become the root cause of sadness and worry.
Instead, look for the brighter side in daily happenings, keep an optimistic outlook, and hope for nothing but the best. This attitude alone is strong enough to keep you happy.
What ways can you use to combat negative emotions?
One of the most basic yet crucial aspects of happiness is to feed your mind with positive emotions and optimistic ideas. Yes, you do need to set positive and uplifting goals, but the manner of setting goals makes all the difference.
- Instead of aiming to “never be sad” set a goal like “being happy more often”
- Use “I will eat fresh fruits and veggies” instead of “No cake and fries”
The same rule can be applied to negative emotions as well. The best, safest, and the most effective way to combat negative emotions is to replace them with positive vibes.
Summing it up:
The working of your brain is pure science. And there is a direct correlation between brain functioning and happiness which you can use smartly to make your life happier.
The trick to being happy is simple: surround yourself with people who influence you positively, watch inspirational videos, listen to encouraging podcasts, and read books that exercise your mind in a practical manner.
Simply checking your daily habits and channeling them towards positivity will only make you an optimistic, joyful, and cheerful person in the long run.
I would love to hear your thoughts on happiness and the brain. Join our mental fitness matters community and join the conversation.