January can be a really anxious month. The post-holiday feeling, the return to work, and even the debt related to Christmas presents can affect people’s mood and increase anxiety.
According to the world-famous physiologist Roy Baumeister, humans can be wired for negativity. We are more likely to focus on that thing that our partner did wrong, instead of the 50 he/she did right.
The reason for this is found in the “negativity bias”. An instinct in human nature that reminds us of the negative thing that happened to prevent us from going there again. In the beginning, this was key to survival, don`t touch a snake for it will bite you, however, in actuality, those “natural bias” can add a lot of unnecessary stress into our lives.
Fortunately, according to psychologist Baumeister, there is a way to re-wire the human brain and change our focus and avoid those negativity bias!
5 Ways to Live a Happier Life
Rule # 1: Be Present
Humans tend to dwell in the past and worry about the future. We remember those times when we were “happier” and instantly we feel miserable about the here and now. On the other hand, we keep in mind the times where we suffer, and instantly we worry that we might face those things again.
Both mindsets are equally dangerous because they are robbing us of our biggest asset, the present. Keep your focus on the here and now. Worried about a meeting next week? Bring yourself to the present. Wondering about the past? Bring yourself to the present.
Remember, if you feel depressed you are living in the past, if you find yourself anxious, you might be living in the future.
Rule # 2: Play The “Grateful” Game
We can tend to lean more towards the negative experiences regardless of positive outcomes. We complain because we had to rush to work, instead of being grateful that we made it on time. We protest for a house payment, rather than being happy that we have a place to live. The key to overcoming this is speaking out loud about our positive experiences with people. This will reinforce our gladness and will change our attention from negative to positive. Additionally, positive comments from people around us will increase our victory feelings and thus will make us feel better.
Rule # 3: Quit Overthinking
Have you ever woke up in the middle of the night thinking about a possible fore-seen problem? Then you find yourself awake at 3 am feeling anxious and depressed over something that at the end may not even happen? We have all been there.
The problem with overthinking is that it can make us imagine problems, that more than 80% of the time won’t even happen.
The solution to this is thinking, instead, of the times where you felt threatened by an issue that ultimately never happened. This will reinforce your positive thinking into knowing that there is nothing “real” to worry about.
Rule # 4: Get Away From Complainers
The problem with negativity is that it is contagious. You find yourself feeling good, then you speak to a negative colleague and then you feel down. As we have mentioned in a previous blog post, feelings (especially negative ones) are contagious.
According to a recent study, how we feel about something in life can be greatly determined by the opinion of people around us. To make it worse, those negative comments can lead us to worsen our view of a specific thing in life. Therefore, a good solution to this is to avoid, when possible, to have deep conversations with people that tend to complain or focus on the negative. When it comes to protecting your mental peace, no measure is too much.
Rule # 5: Do Something That Makes You Happy
When was the last time that you did something that makes you happy?
Even though this might sound like a really simple question, the reality is that a big part of our happiness comes with simple activities that we enjoy. According to therapist Eric Johnson, one of the things that he recommends to people that are depressed is to do more of what they love.
It’s easy to get caught in our tight agendas, however, making time to do what we love is crucial to our happiness and health.
Play your favorite song, order your favorite drink, eat that piece of chocolate, watch your favorite movie. Remember, many times happiness comes down to small actions.
What is your favorite way to feel happier? Have you tried any of these strategies? Share it with us in the comment section!
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