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We all feel down at some time or another. Luckily, there are things we can do to improve our mood whenever we're feeling blue. Explained below are six effective ways to increase happiness.
The evidence that facial expressions affect our mood is abundant. Even Charles Darwin noted that the outward expression of an emotion intensifies that emotion, and we can use this to our advantage. When feeling down, it's still possible to crank our facial muscles into a smile and hold it there for a while, giving ourselves a biological mood boost.
Upturned lips are part of a biological feedback loop that reinforces a sense of happiness. There is no evidence that a halfhearted smile makes anyone feel worse, so go ahead and show the world a pretend happy face. Or, at the very least, relax the muscles in your face so that they do not indicate tension or a frown.
If you are around happy people (physically in their presence) you are more likely to be happy as well. Your increased happiness will in turn infect others. Research shows that spouses, partners, neighbors, and siblings or friends who live near by are those most likely to influence our happiness.
Psychotherapy is worth every penny spent if it brings you an increased sense of well-being and helps you enjoy your life. Individual or group therapy can improve your relationship with yourself, positively affecting your relationship with others as well.
If you are without insurance and low on funds, check to see what the community mental health resources are in your city or township. Many employers now utilize employee assistance programs that include mental health services. Health insurance is required to have provisions for mental health care.
Research indicates that people who are dedicated to mastering an ability or skill are also setting themselves up for greater long-term happiness and life satisfaction. This is true even though learning a skill sometimes involves temporary periods of increased stress. Whatever it is you have always wanted to learn, now is a good time to start.
People are happiest when they exercise self-direction and simultaneously have a sense of fellowship or belonging. If we can find fellowship while doing self-chosen fun or learning activities, it is likely to boost our store of happiness. If you have mastered a skill, consider teaching it to others.
Take action or do activities that are likely to increase happiness without expecting to become happier. Expectations often have a dampening effect on human beings. Our imagination can runaway with expectations that do not match the actual results of our endeavors.
You are better off smiling, learning, being with others, and maybe seeing a therapist without holding any expectation of becoming happier. Buddhists have been advising against holding onto expectations for centuries, and now many therapists recommend this too. People do best when they act to get what they desire, but do not set their heart on getting specific results.
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