According to Professor Richard Davidson, the founder of the Center for Healthy Minds, “our brains are constantly being hacked, by the media and everything around us. At the end of the day, write down three good things that have happened to you. It’s a good way to hack your brain to make you happier, by forcing attention on positive things that tend to go unnoticed. Here are seven simple habits that will make you a happier man:
- Relieve stress
Stress simply means that the obligations you face (emotional, professional, etc.) are greater than your resources, your energy. Reduce the demands of everyday life by delegating tasks or simply taking them off your shoulders. Strengthen your resources by taking a walk or ordering a ridiculously expensive coffee.
- Stop being your own worst enemy
A couple of drinks at the end of the day may work to calm you down at the end of the day, but the next morning, even if you don’t have a hangover, you’ll be a little less alert than usual. The same goes for working all night and bingeing on junk food. You will always have to pay the toll for all forms of short-term relief.
- Remember: the world is unfair
If someone is being mean to you, obsessing over that person is only going to give them more power. What’s more, it’s a waste of time. Letting it go may feel like surrender, but it actually gives you that power back. It gives you back all that time you would have wasted. Use it for something else.
- Be kind, feel better
It sounds contradictory, but you need to focus on someone else. Anyone you pass on the street is fine. In your head, silently wish them happiness and relief from suffering. That’s all there is to it. Now try it with the next person you pass. And the next one. Feel the heat? It’s corny, but it works.
- Get up 15 minutes earlier
Allow yourself some unscheduled time to move slowly in the morning. Starting the day rushing to get out of the house predisposes you to be more stressed for the rest of the day. Also, leaving 15 minutes earlier reduces your chances of getting road rage. It’s pure science.
- Use an emotional colour wheel
It may sound like high school psychologist mumbo jumbo, and when you look at one of these wheels you may have trouble deciding whether you’re feeling “distracted” or “fearful”. But once you’ve named the emotion, you’re one step closer to being able to deal with it.
You have many options out there. We like Dr Robert Plutchik’s wheel. Screenshot it, save it on your phone and look at it when you feel things are getting out of hand.
- Try breathing exercises
There’s a whole spectrum of breathing exercises out there, but the truth is that filling your brain with oxygen immediately helps you in virtually any situation. Search YouTube. Find something that works for you. At Goop they like Pranayama.