While many think of happiness as elusive or random, you can learn daily methods for optimizing your joy and improving your well-being. A growing body of research in the field of positive psychology supports using specific techniques to increase gladness and life satisfaction. Practices that can enhance your daily pleasure include the following:
Single-task. Avoid doing several things at once. Overstimulation dilutes your ability to savor what you’re doing.
“I’ve been active much of my life but have also struggled with depression from a young age,” says Kris Cameron, ACE- certified personal trainer and owner of ReNu Your Life— Mobile Personal Training & Wellness in Iowa City, Iowa. “I come from a family full of depression, abuse, even suicide. About 18 years ago I was put on a very low dose of Zoloft (25 milligrams). It helped, but I also continued to be active, to work out—and I started my training career.
For the treatment of depression in adults, exercise is as effective as medications or therapy, but not more so, according to a research review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2013; 9; doi: 10.1002/ 14651858.CD004366.pub6).
Scientists from five universities in the United Kingdom reviewed 39 studies with a total of 2,326 participants in order to update a 2010 review. The earlier review had suggested exercise could reduce depression symptoms, but had found the effect was small and seemed to end if participants stopped exercising.
What helps someone become happier depends on the person, says researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky. “However, when we research strategies, the two that are often at the top of the list are physical activity and acts of kindness,” she says. “They seem to work better because they’re more tangible.”
You have been recruited to change a life. A young man is out of shape and headed toward a life of obesity and health complications. But he desperately wants to change. Perhaps you saw him on television during the 2012 Summer Olympics. He appeared on a Nike® commercial shot in a rural area near London, Ohio.
Urge your clients to cultivate work-life balance. Working too long and too hard increases the risk of depression, according to a study conducted at the Kyoto University School of Public Health in Kyoto, Japan.
Among 218 clerical workers, those who worked more than 60 hours per week and had too much work were 15 times more likely to suffer from depression when reevaluated after 1-3 years than workers with less stressful schedules. The study authors suggested that feeling overworked combined with long works hours could be considered a risk factor for depression.
Do you think of yourself as being in the happiness business? Whether you know it or not, you are. Happiness and all its related positive emotions—optimism, purpose, life satisfaction and a sense of well-being, to name a few—are powerfully linked with health (as we reviewed in the June issue of IDEA Fitness Journal). One of the most valuable keys to sustainable happiness may be exercise—bingo!
Does looking at the world through rose-colored glasses improve your health? A growing body of evidence supports a correlation between outlook and the strength of the immune system. For example, studies suggest that people with a more positive attitude tend to have greater resi...
You’re boiling with rage. Even thinking about that witch of a co-worker is upsetting—and there she is, flaunting herself like a diva on American Idol. She’s been your nemesis from the moment she joined the staff, despite your best efforts to be cordial. Arrogant, unpleasant, underhanded—she’s lured away clients, and you know she’s the source of r...