When you’re smiling,’ keep on smilin’-
The whole world smiles with you.
And when you’re laughin,’ oh when youre laughin’-
The sun comes shinin’ through.
But when you’re cryin,’ you bring on the rain,
So stop your sighin’ – be happy again.
- “When You’re Smiling”
Light attracts light – and happy people attract more happiness, not just in the emotional sense but in health benefits such as a healthier immune system, a lower chance of chronic disease, and a reduced production of cortisol. If pessimism is a problem for you, then here are some ways to brighten your outlook and reap the health benefits of happiness:
- Appreciate aesthetics – Did you know that viewing art produces the same reaction in your brain as falling in love? According to The Telegraph, researchers have found that the brain releases dopamine, the “feel-good chemical,” into the orbito-frontal cortex of the brain when looking at art, leaving the viewer feeling intense pleasure normally associated with romantic love. This finding comes after other research had shown that art led to increased recovery times and reduced suffering in the hospital. To reap these benefits, make time to stroll a local art gallery or take in some beautiful local architecture. If no such options are available locally, turn to the Internet and take advantage of the virtual exhibits some museums feature. Connecting with aesthetic beauty enriches the soul and helps you appreciate all the natural and manmade beauty in the world.
- Nurture yourself – Diet, exercise, and sleep have an immense influence on happiness, and the three are more intertwined than most realize. Dr. Eve Van Cauter of University of Chicago showed that people who don’t get enough sleep have lower levels of the appetite-regulating hormone leptin, leading to larger appetites. Additionally, hunger and fatigue feel similar, driving you to snack when you should sleep. Exercise releases all sorts of chemicals that stimulate happiness, help induce a better night’s sleep, and boost the immune system, among a myriad of other benefits.
- Laugh and love – Laughter really is the best medicine! It not only relaxes your muscles, thereby relieving tension and stress, but it also decreases stress hormones while releasing endorphins, simultaneously boosting the immune system and relieving pain. The best laughter is shared with those you love, so make time to celebrate the healthy relationships in your life. Sharing laughter adds joy, vitality, and resilience to relationships as you release inhibitions and open up to express true feelings. Human connectedness brings more joy and healing than all the money and power in the world, so make it a priority, and you will feel more alive and happy.
Here’s to a happier you!