MARVELOUS Morning Squad!
“Happiness is not a goal. It is a byproduct of a life well lived.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
As promised, here are the final 3 insights into the science of happiness from Dr. Laurie Santos’ talk last week:
- Be in the present moment (Even if it sucks): Being in the present moment can be really hard if it is uncertain and anxiety-inducing, but data suggests that that by grounding ourselves down in the present moment, we are better equipped to deescalate the anxiety and stress we feel. This might seem counterintuitive, but the more we sit, undistracted, with an uncomfortable feeling or emotion, the quicker that negative feeling or emotion will dissipate. A study was recently released indicating that people self-reported mind wandering 46.9% of the day and unpleasant mind wandering can have a detrimental effect to our well-being. The practice of mindfulness and meditation are tools we can utilize to transport us back to the present moment, where peace resides.
- Healthy practices matter more than we expect: Studies have shown that ½ hour of cardio exercise is as helpful at reducing depression as taking a serving of Zoloft! Sleep is equally as powerful for our mental health. Don’t look at scary news and all the awful stuff of the world right before bed. This will negatively alter your sleep cycle. Power down your phone at least an hour before bed. Hydrate throughout the day. These tools are here to give us the resilience we need to show up as our highest, happiest selves.
- Helping others makes us happier than we expect: This is counter to what we might believe because in times of stress, we always hear about the importance of self-care. While self-care is important, happiness comes from focusing on other people. There was a study done at Harvard where researchers handed envelopes of money to students on campus. The recipients were told they should spend the money (either $5 or $20) by the end of that day either on themselves — to cover a bill or expense or get themselves a gift — or on others, a gift for someone or a donation to charity. The results showed that people who spent the money on themselves that day weren’t happier that evening, but people who spent it on others were. The amount of money, $5 or $20, didn’t matter at all. It was only how people spent it that made them happier. Given the results of this study, you might be happier if you spend an hour volunteering or checking in on an elderly family member as opposed to binge-watching Netflix all weekend. Happier people donate more and spend more time doing nice things for other people and by prioritizing being nice and doing nice things for others, you can feel a bit happier yourself!
The quality of our lives is directly correlated to the decisions we make. Happiness is a choice. Choose to take care of your body and mind. Choose to be present. Choose to surround yourself around the right people. Choose to smile more often. Choose honesty. Choose love. It is up to each one of us to intentionally make the choices that elevate the quality of our lives every.single.day.
Enjoy what comes of today!