Few Habits That Will Make You a Happier Person
Lot's of the popular culture today is overly materialistic. We all have big dream these days. Somewhere along the way "Dream Big" turns into 'Be Greedy". We have to be careful of these things. Contrary to popular belief, some material goods are not the greatest source of happiness, it's rather, how we react to the life that happens to us because our interpretations are actually creating how we feel in the end.
Every action or reaction that we engage in, starts off as a signal in the brain than the brain releases neurotransmitters which tell the body how to function, so in a way, most of the behavior is driven by different types of hormones. That is a way to program the body, to do more of what is good and to avoid bad, dangerous and destructive situations. When we eat something tasty, some feel-good chemicals are produced in the body, teaching us to ask for more next time, on the other hand, when we got scared and stressed in a certain situation, we try to avoid similar situations in the future.
What Is Happiness Made Of
You would really need to get very scientific to precisely identify what neurochemicals are actually making the feeling of happiness, but it is quite wide known that Dopamine and Serotonin are part of the Mix, that creates feel-good states of being. Some people are certainly already thinking "let's hack the system" and create drugs that will make us always happy. But we have to think deeper than that, the human body has evolved in such a way, that it rewards actions that are more likely to help us survive longer and better. Tricking the scenes is not wise in the long run. However, just getting more of these feel-good chemicals that are naturally being produced inside the body will change so much of your life. It's also explaining lots of behaviors and practices that people have been developing trough centuries-old traditions and beliefs.
Where Is Evolution Pointing to?
At a biological level, what nature rewarding the most is growth and change. Since the surrounding elements have the ability to drastically change, in order for a species to survive is to adapt and grow. That being said, exercise and learning are most inherently rewarding activities, meaning they will provide lots of feel-good chemicals to encourage you to do more of those. However, that is not the only way to boost Serotonin and Dopamine, the way your mind works, your thinking patterns can also seriously affect the production of these neurochemicals. Generally, a sense of achievement and realization triggers a release of happiness neurotransmitters. So, be careful, if you are managing your ambitions in the wrong way, you will get very little realization and consequently low amounts of serotonin. And we're talking about psychology here, not objective measures of success, but how you feel. Do you notice improvement and success often?
You may have noticed that many schools of thought and religions promote "Gratitude". Psychology also supports that, because it's a way of instant realization. Often we go a long way to achieve our goals, and at the end, we receive the price and we are very grateful and happy. But you can practice gratitude every day, for very simple things that you have, and to the mind, that is like you are achieving something every day and it produces more feel-good hormones.
"Achieve definition: to bring to a successful end; carry through; accomplish."
People that have too high expectations for a situation, can be very disappointed when thing don't go as they have wished for. But being grateful for what already is can not go wrong. So if you are more frustrated than usual it's perfectly reasonable to practice more gratitude to remain sane and healthy.
Another way to get an instant reward in the form of good neurochemicals is to savor. This can be taken to a much broader context than food and drink. When you enjoy certain activity consciously, paying attention to what it feels like you are savoring. That is giving new stimuli to the brain, and new experiences are a kind of learning. You can enjoy music or a nice nature walk, you can enjoy drawing and painting, reading or writing, contemplating or just observing.
Pause the Ego For a Moment
Many people refer to the Ego as a purely negative concept, but if you take it in it's more broad meaning, your personality is your Ego. Doesn't have to be all bad or all good. But it's kind of a structure and mechanism of how you go on with your life, and how you react to stimuli. But with the more complex and elaborate the Ego becomes, often it demands more resources, more engagement to sustain it. Just by sitting, your psychological structure demands of your body to engage, to worry, to strive, to analyze, to get prepared. You need a deeper rest, and it's best to disengage from the ego for a while to get deeper relaxation and give some space to the body to recover from daily stress. A simple exercise is to allow yourself to have no personality and no engagement whatsoever at least for a short while every day. Ask yourself "Who am I?" to get a more clear view of your personality. "What should I do at this moment?" is another useful question. In the moments of deep rest, you should be "nobody" and you should be doing "nothing". So, when you notice a personality or engagement, remember that you are a much bigger organism than your thoughts, and even when you have no thoughts or personality, the body still works. Whenever you get a definition like "I'm a lazy person..." remember, it's all concepts, and at those moments of deep rest, you are not smart, not lazy, not successful, not sad, not worrying - you are nobody. And the job of nobody is ... you've guessed it "nothing". You don't have to do anything at all when you get your daily deep rest. Some people call this meditation.