The activities and practices suggested below have been around for a long time. They have been recommended from many sources as activities that can improve one's quality of life. Many scientific studies now prove that when practiced over a long period of time they create habitual positive brain wave patterns that produce a healthy supply of well being chemicals...dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine and others. These activities train the brain to move to positive thought patterns almost automatically, replacing recurring negative thought patterns. Daily practice of these activities can be an effective remedy for unhealthy stress, anxiety, depression or loss of hope and desire and set one on a path to happiness, serenity, security, thriving and well being. Or they can increase the happiness and well-being one already experiences.
To achieve the optimum result, practice at least 3 to 5 of these activities each day for 30 days, then for the rest of your life! You need not do the same activity each day. When you are able, journal your experiences. It is helpful to have a partner with whom you can share and check in with about your progress. As time goes by you will want to expand and deepen your activities. Don't give up This stuff really works! It's about time to be happier!
Go from negative to positive.
Practice being aware of your reality...positive or negative...by a gentle '"scan". Stop what you are doing and quiet your mind. Notice if your thoughts or your "self-talk" are negative or positive. When you are aware of any negativity...worry, fear, criticism, self-doubt, catastrophic thinking, anger, etc., gently move your thoughts and "self talk" to anything you can observe that is positive, for example, "The blue sky is beautiful" or "I'm grateful for my breath". This takes practice but it does work!
Think of 3 things or people you feel grateful for and why.
Each day think of three new things you're grateful for and why you are grateful. Hold that feeling for awhile. The brain needs at least 15 seconds to shift its chemistry. By doing this you are teaching your brain to scan the world in a new pattern, for positives instead of negatives and threats. It works better if you are specific and point your gratitude to a person or group. "I'm grateful for my husband because he hugged me today which means I'm loved regardless." "I'm grateful to God for giving me breath because my breath keeps me alive and functioning." These expressions get the brain stuck in new patterns of optimism.
Recall 3 things that went well today.
Every evening before retiring recall three things that went well during the day. Take some time to know your reasons why you think those events went well. Something really worked, or you were successful with a project or task. If you have a chance, share them with someone. These are not the same as sharing good things that have happened, although they are "good stuff". These events bring a different sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. Once again, recalling them in this way trains the brain to "remember" more positive events than negative events.
Recall a positive memory from the past.
For two minutes or more a day, think of one positive experience that has occurred either during the past 24 hours or some other time in your life. Remember as much detail of the experience as you can. Let your brain activate the feelings you had when the event happened. Remember a fun day spent with friends, a good movie, or an activity you really enjoyed. Remember a positive personal experience with another person. This works so well because the brain can't tell the difference between visualization and the actual experience. So you have just re-created a most meaningful experience as if it were happening again.
Share the "good stuff".
"Sharing is Caring". A boost in positive mood, not only for ourselves but for others, happens whenever we share good things that have happened to us. Make a habit of calling to mind good things that have happened during the day or week and share them with someone.
Stop everything you are doing for just two minutes often during the day. Go from multitasking to simply watching your breath go in and out. This greatly improves levels of happiness and drops your stress levels. And it takes only two minutes!
Do at least 15 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every day. The positive effects of exercise are astounding! Physically active people have increased energy, superior immune systems and a frequent sense of accomplishment.
Do conscious acts of kindness.
This habit seems to be the most powerful activity we can practice to maintain our sense of purpose and well being. Make a conscious effort to do something nice for someone for no reason other than to help. You might start by writing a two-minute positive email or text praising or thanking someone you know. And do it for a different person each day. You might be surprised how a simple act of kindness can turn around the day for both you and the kindness recipient.
Listen to music.
Listen to your favorite genre of music for at least 10 minutes every day, or if possible, longer. Music is a healing form of nature that releases endorphins to the brain and causes a decrease of stress and replaces it with happiness. Music works not only on one part of the brain, but multiple parts. The simultaneous left and right brain action maximizes learning and memory.
Practice meditation and mindfulnesss.
Research has linked meditation and mindfulness with reduced anxiety and more positive emotions. Those who meditate regularly may even permanently restructure their brains to create sustained happiness. You will find free guided meditations available on the website of the UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Center at www.marc.ucla.edu.
Headspace is a digital service that provides guided meditation sessions and mindfulness training. Its content can be accessed online, or via their mobile apps. Go to www.headspace.com. Their sessions are simple and wonderful!
Follow your personal spiritual practice.
Scientists have discovered that those who practice a religious faith report less depression and more positive emotion. Whether your personal spiritual practice is connected with a religion or is a more private, personal path, an experience with some relationship with a Divine or Higher Power can add to the experience of happiness, personal growth and flourishing. You are encouraged to add your own personal spiritual practices to the practices suggested here.
For a more in-depth and comprehensive presentation of Positivit click below.