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How to be happy: Train your brain to be happier

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Happiness often translates to a healthy life. Clearly, if you let go of all the negativity, you can enjoy a peaceful life. You can even train your brain to focus on all things positive. Seek out the good things in your life and don’t look for errors or flaws in everything you do or come across. Also, be optimistic about the future as much as possible. This will ultimately make you happier and healthier. Read on to find out how to be happy in your daily life.

HealthShots consulted Dr Rishi Gautam, a US-based mental health expert and a specialist of psychiatry, to talk all about happiness.

Effects of happiness on health

Positive psychology focuses on your inner strength and character traits that promote happiness and health, says Dr Gautam. Exercising, laughing, bonding, having social contacts, loving and caring for someone are activities that all increase the release of endorphins in the brain. They are endogenous neurotransmitters promoting happiness. You would know them as the happy hormones.

Having an optimistic outlook in life, being joyful and happy may help to improve heart health, decrease risk of stroke and heart attacks, improve sleep, prevent early onset of memory loss, promote healthier eating, prevent obesity and issues of chronic pain, and arthritis amongst other things.

train your brain for happiness
Train your brain for happiness to be healthy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Happiness promotes a problem-solving approach, increases motivation to complete goals, helps in connecting with like-minded people, improves the immune functioning and overall leads to longer life spans.

Ways to inculcate happiness and positive psychology in your daily life

1. Focus on your strengths

The first step to this is in identification of your character traits which are protective. For example, if being creative is a strength of yours then dedicate a few minutes each or a few days each week into channeling that in a goal-directed way. You can paint, draw, learn music, cook something new or interesting.

2. Be appreciative

Practising gratitude and being appreciative can be a very soothing experience for your mind. Make an intentional effort every day to identify things or people in your life you are truly grateful for and let them know. Share the gratitude, suggests the expert.

3. Journal your thoughts

It is a great way to be focused and find an avenue to increase your emotional quotient.

4. Develop positive skills

The good thing about positive psychology is that it can be learnt. Train your mind to cultivate mindfulness, reflective listening, perspective taking and then use this awareness in a problem-solving way that improves collaboration between people at work or home.

train your brain for happiness
Journaling can feel good. Try it! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Practise kindness

Positive psychology interventions focusing on compassion can be simple acts like buying someone a small token of love, volunteering for a noble cause, donating something, or helping a stranger in need. Kindness reinforces happiness and positivity and being kind can make you healthier).

6. Seek meaning in your life and engage in meaningful experiences

It helps in understanding what is meaningful to us in life and why, and what we can do to achieve the things that matter in life. A person who has clarity of goals and expectations is more likely to feel happier and content.

7. Believe in the power of positive imagery

Close your eyes and imagine a beautiful day. Think about where you would want to be, with whom, what you might want to be doing and then imagine doing that, says the expert. These kind of brief thought experiments promote a happy outlook.

For more happiness hacks, click here!

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