Act Happy Week

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Happy Wednesday! Every day most of us strive to be happy but how do we really find happiness? Sometimes I struggle to maintain a positive outlook and happy mood when things do not go my way. But, is happiness more than our results? Some people are naturally happy whether they are having the worst of days or getting the best news. I don’t know about you but, traffic jam does not make me a happy woman.  To understand more about the subject and in commemoration of “International Day of Happiness” I have collaborated with Whitney from donttellmetochill.com  to ask her few questions about happiness and how we can enjoy our lives a little bit more.

1. Define happiness and what does it mean to you?                                               Happiness to me is the overall satisfaction with your life. This does not mean that you will be happy all the time, it is physically impossible! But rather, you will be able to look at your life, as a whole, and feel personally satisfied and fulfilled even after moments of extreme distress. Happiness is also extremely subjective; what makes you happy may not be fulfilling to me. This makes the concept increasingly more intangible and difficult to understand. Often times finding happiness is about trying out new activities, new ways of interacting with the world, and new ways of thinking until you find a combination that is satisfying and fulfilling over time.
2. Is happiness in the genes or environmental?                                                               The psychological community tends to be very split on this issue. There is a great deal of research indicating that happiness may be tied to one single gene, however researchers have not been able to confirm the location of this specific “happiness gene.” Overall, studies indicate that genetics is responsible for about 50% of our happiness level, the rest is due to our circumstances and the choices that we make. Temperament, the aspects of our personality that are believed to be predetermined, and personality also play a role in our happiness levels and the way that we look at the world. In my opinion, happiness can always be augmented. Our environment and our genes will play a strong role in our daily levels of happiness, but these levels can be absolutely be changed through self care practices.
3. Tell us five things we can do to improve happiness.                                                        It has been shown time and time again that things like money and material possessions have little effect on our happiness. However, there are several activities and practices that we can engage in to elevate happiness levels over time.

1) Exercise: exercise releases proteins and endorphins that make the brain happy.
2) Surround yourself with people you enjoy: one of the highest contributors to well being and happiness is feeling a sense of community. Find people that share similar interests to you and spend time with them regularly!
3) Get Some Dopamine: Dopamine is found in the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, it also helps with movement and emotional response. Dopamine can be found in many natural sources such as chicken, fish, milk, and bananas.
4) Sleep: Sleep is essential to happiness. Just think about how you feel with you don’t get a good night sleep, 6-8 hours should do the trick.
5) Help Others: Doing good for others has been strongly associated with increased well being. Find a local charity that interests you and dedicate some of your time and resources; your mood will thank you.

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