Happiness 18th June 2016/2 Comments/in Blog, News /by libbyFive Small Changes that Lead to Maximum Happiness What every person really wants is to be happy. Whether you’re chasing a career, raising kids or running off to join the circus, it’s almost certain you’re doing it because you think that it will make you happier than you already are. While everyone is constantly trying all sorts of (often unhealthy) stuff to feel happier, the answer to happiness remains quite elusive. It is is such a simple question, but answering it is hardly easy and what works for one person may not work for the next. Still, people who have made a career out of studying happiness, have found a small number of things you can do that are almost universally seen to increase happiness. The good news is that none of them are hard and won’t cost you anything more than a little time and effort. Worth it for a happier life, wouldn’t you say? Home Is Where The Heart Is What does your home environment look like? If you’re like most people who work for a living and are busy, it’s probably at least a bit cluttered or perhaps not very attractive. It turns out that making your immediate environment more pleasant to be in, will also make you feel better. Of course, most of us don’t have money just lying around to buy new furniture or to redecorate. If you rent, you might not be allowed to do things like painting your walls a nicer colour. As with all things related to happiness, the trick is not to focus on the things you can’t do, but on the things that you can do. There is no sense worrying about things that are out of our control. The first thing you’d want to do is tidy up your environment, and to store or throw away things that you don’t really need. Is there something in your home that you haven’t needed for more than a year? Across all seasons? Does it have no sentimental value? Throw it away, or better yet sell it to someone who does need it. You are both symbolically and literally making space for new things in your life. Put a few houseplants in your home. Add some pictures. Make decorations if you can’t buy them. Do anything that will brighten up or otherwise adapt your space so that you feel more at home in it. All Work And No Play Are you one of the millions of office and cubicle dwellers? Do you work somewhere dull and soul-crushing? Don’t be afraid of making your desk a nicer place to work. Perhaps you work in a vehicle? Where you spend your working hours doesn’t matter, with a little effort you can make it a happier place. One of the best ways to do this, is to decorate your workspace with symbolic examples of the things that you do to make you happy. Photos of your children, or of that classic car you take out on the weekends? Perhaps an action figure of your favourite television program? How you do it is up to you, as long as you put reminders of the things that make you happy outside of work there to see. Let’s Get Physical Exercise is the body’s own anti-depressant. When you exercise the brain releases pleasure chemicals that will make you feel good long after the session has ended. You don’t need to join a gym or otherwise spend money. Just get more active. Go for a walk, do some gardening or dig into the aforementioned house cleaning. Trust me, you’ll feel great. No Person is an Island “Hell is other people” the rather cynical saying goes, but it turns out that having quality relationships with other people is a powerful way to be happier. When we have people we can turn to for help, confide in, trust and respect then we’re happier. You need a small number of quality relationships. Having many casual (e.g. Facebook) friends won’t be of much use here. Don’t Worry, Be Happy The last things you have quite a bit of control over is your mental state. While you can’t change your genetics, you can learn to actively chase negative thoughts away. Take the time to laugh, don’t just read negative stories in the news and maybe take up meditation. Whatever you do, remember that taking care of your mental health is key to living a happier life.