Science has proven that you can take control of your own happiness, influence your brain, and hack into your happy neurochemicals. By understanding how these chemicals originate and function, you can work experiences into your daily life to increase them which can up your happiness, productivity, and peace of mind. Of course, depression, mood, and behavior are the products of more than just your neurochemicals, but understanding and consciously altering them is one step closer to a happier you and a better life.
7 ways science says you can get a happier brain
You can purposefully choose lifestyle habits that help your brain stay happy. Some ways to do this are:
· Pursue meaning rather than happiness
Research shows that the stresses of having a high-paying job and maintaining a materialistic lifestyle can be detrimental to your health and happiness. Less stress, a stronger immune system, and higher life satisfaction have been associated with having more meaning in life rather than happiness.
· Smile and laugh more often
Simply smiling can make you happier. When you smile, your brain releases mood-boosting dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Dopamine works on the reward-pleasure circuits in the brain. Serotonin produces an anti-anxiety effect and helps relieve stress and improve mood. Endorphins relieve pain and elevate mood. Even a fake smile can trick your brain into thinking it’s happy. A good laugh causes a similar chemical reaction in your brain that can instantly raise your spirits, reduce pain and stress, and strengthen your immune system.
· Stop comparing yourself to others
Comparing yourself to others can cause you to experience greater stress, anxiety, depression, and make self-defeating choices. Try to humanize, rather than idealize others, and unplug from social media occasionally. One study determined that simply logging off Facebook for a week boosted happiness levels, reduced stress, and improved the ability to feel present in the moment.
· Lower your expectations
The gap between our expectations and reality is filled with pain and struggle. When we let go of what we think “should be,” let life unfold, and work with whatever presents itself for our best outcome, life gets easier. When you lower your expectations, it’s more likely that you will be pleasantly surprised with an outcome instead of disappointed.
· Be mindful of the present
Research found that almost half of our thoughts aren’t related to what we’re doing at that time. A wandering mind is generally an unhappy mind, especially if it’s ruminating about past hurts. You can teach your mind to wander less by coming into the present and practicing mindfulness and meditation.
· Recall positive memories
Even if it does sound a lot like “just think happy thoughts,” science shows it works. Recalling a positive memory allows you to re-experience the good feelings associated with it. Having more positive feelings support resilience and mental health while decreasing negative feelings and anxiety. When remembering good times or practicing visualization, neurons fire in your brain and happy neurochemicals are released.
· Practice gratitude
Gratitude is good for your brain. Being thankful on-the-spot floods your brain with rewarding neurochemicals for an instant boost. Practicing gratitude regularly strengthens your immune system, may lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression, makes you more resistant to stress, and gives your brain a more positive slant overall.https://thebestbrainpossible.com/happy-brain-mental-health-depression/