Most of the time, I am on Cityline talking about nutrition, health, and weight loss. So….why am I writing an article about joy you may ask? The reason is – our level of happiness and joy is intimately linked with our well-being and health. In fact, research has clearly demonstrated some simple steps that can help boost your level of joy and contentment.
In my twenties, I completed an undergraduate degree in psychology. I remember being fascinated when first introduced to the field of psychoneuroimmunology – the science examining how thoughts and feelings can influence your immune system function. With the emergence of research into how mood influences health (and vice versa) a common theme has emerged on how to increase your happiness. In a nutshell, the following steps seem to be the most common practices that happy people engage in. They are:
1. Exercising regularly
There is no way around it– the body is designed to move. Whether you enjoy running, biking, walking or yoga – regular exercise will release endorphins (your “happy” brain chemical), creating a feeling of calm and joy. When it comes to exercise (and especially in the summer months), the more outdoor time, the better your mood. If you have not yet heard of the Cityline #100activedays challenge — please click here.
2. Find something that you love to do daily and…do it!
Whether it is scrapbooking, reading, being with your kids or stretching – you deserve to do something that makes you feel happy every single day. Often times when you “lose track of time” it means you are in your joy zone.
3. Be grateful.
According to studies, grateful people have been shown to have a greater positive emotion, a greater sense of belonging and a lower incidence of stress and/or depression. Simply starting a gratitude journal and writing out 5 things you are grateful for per day is a great way to begin.
4. Eat clean.
There is an old saying by nutritional pioneer Adele Davis that states, “We are indeed much more than we eat, but what we eat can help us to become much more than who we are.” In other words, the quality of the food you are consuming can significantly improve your mood and overall attitude. Specific foods good for mood include: leafy greens, salmon, walnuts, almonds, lentils, and blueberries.
5. Be with the ones you love.
Research has shown that people in a relationship or those who belong to a strong family, community, club, or neighbourhood tend to report a higher level of happiness.
If you have a topic you want covered or a burning nutritional question, simply e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
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