Happiness during Challenging Times
Many studies have shown that happier people are the people who have the deepest and most fulfilling relationships, which includes helping others.
Even when it comes down to spending money, studies have shown that spending money on others creates a greater sense of satisfaction and happiness then spending on ourselves. The four ways that money can be used to create the greatest degree of happiness are:
Spending on others
Spending on meaningful or even fun experiences
Spending on learning and education
Spending on self -improvement with the goal of contributing to others
Spending money on the material things in our lives has a very short term happiness factor. So let’s look at these challenging times and discover for ourselves, how we want to spend our time and our money.
Time is also one of the most valued commodities. Watching TV has been shown to have a depressive effect on most human beings, while being out in nature, learning or socializing has a huge beneficial effect. Journaling, meditating and prayer, along with physical activity, stimulates positive responses in the brain. Dancing, singing and playing a musical instrument not only stimulates the positive centers of the brain, these activities have been shown to prevent dementia. Interestingly enough there are other ways to prevent dementia- with learning a new language or changing habits or the location of where you live. Even though these times are challenging at best, the changes required by all of us are creating new pathways in our brains as we try to navigate through an uncertain world.
Being present and mindful each moment also increases happiness. This means focusing on the moment and what is in front of you instead of worrying about the future or thinking about the past. If we can get out doors and walk barefoot in the grass or in the sand, our bodies will pick up the energy from the earth and create a greater sense of calm and connection, that grounds us to the moment.
Each day set a goal to increase any one of these ways to increase your happiness factor, while eliminating any habits or activities that waste your time or money. Let’s see how we can use this time of the pandemic to make life changing improvements in our lives and the lives of others.
-- Janet Whitney, MA, LMFT