In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with information about what constitutes a happy life. The media associate it with fame, beauty, or health. Advertisers tell us that it comes from consuming and owning their products. And politicians claim that nothing else is as important as a growing economy.
But are any of these things really responsible for lasting happiness?
For years, people have looked to religion, philosophy, and even grandmotherly wisdom in pursuit of happiness. But in the last few decades this ancient wisdom has been put to the test through scientific research. Scientists have found that although our circumstances and genes matter, a substantial proportion of the variations in happiness that we experience come from our activities and choices. So in as far as we may be unable to change the circumstances we find ourselves in or our inherited characteristics, we still possess the power to change how happy we are, by how we approach our lives.
Below we take a look at 5 steps to becoming a happier man:
1. Connect with people
Our relationships with others are undoubtedly the most important thing in regards to how happy we are. Men with strong relationships are healthier, happier, and live longer. Our close relationships with friends and family provide support, meaning, love, and increase our feelings of self worth. Our extended social networks also bring about a sense of belonging. It is thus advisable that we take action in order to not only strengthen our existing relationships, but make new connections as well.
To better connect with people, you could try the following:
· Make about three extra connections each day. You could learn the name of someone new, wave at a neighbor, or stop to chat at the local grocery store.
· Make more time for those who matter in your life. Play with your children, call your parents, or chat with a friend or loved one.
2. Be at other people’s disposal
Caring about others is central to a man’s happiness. Helping others not only benefits them; it is good for us too. It can help in improving our health and also make us happier in the process. Giving establishes stronger connections between people thereby contributing to a happier society for everyone. It is not only money that we can give- we can also share our time, energy, and ideas. The old adage holds true: if you want to feel good about yourself, do good.
To achieve this you may:
· Reach out and help someone who is struggling by offering your support or give them a call. Let them know that you care about their plight.
· Do an extra act of kindness each day. Make someone smile, pay a compliment, give away your change, or offer to help.
Our mind and body are connected and it is thus little surprise that being active will make you happier and happier. It instantly boosts your mood and may even lift you out of depression. You do not have to run a marathon as there are simple activities you can undertake in an attempt to be more active each day. In addition, you can further boost your wellbeing by eating healthily, getting enough sleep, unplugging from technology, and spending time outdoors.
To take care of your body, you may choose to:
· Drink more water, eat nutritious food, and catch up on sleep. Make a point of noting the health actions that lift your mood and engage in them more often.
· Be more active by going for walks, turning off the TV, taking the stairs, getting off the bus stop early etc. – anything that will get you moving.
4. Keep learning
Learning is responsible for our happiness in numerous positive ways. It helps us stay engaged and curious and exposes us to new ideas. It also provides us a sense of accomplishment that boosts our resilience and self confidence. There are various ways to learn new things in life, not just through formal qualifications. For instance, you could play a new sport, learn to sing, join a club, or share a skill with your friends.
To keep learning:
· Try and do something new every so often. You could visit a local place of interest, read a different newspaper, take a new route to work, or sample sushi.
· Learn a new skill, use a new word, cook a new meal, or learn a first aid technique.
5. Notice the environment around you
Do you find yourself constantly wondering if there is more to life? Well, the good news is that there is. And it is right in front of you. All you need to do is to stop and take notice. Learning to be more aware and mindful will do wonders to your well-being, be it in your relationships, the way you eat, or during your commute to work. It stops us from worrying about the future or dwelling on the past and will help you to get in tune with your feelings.
To notice the world around you more try the following:
· Appreciate the good things around you on a daily basis, big or small. This could be the smell of coffee, laughter, or even trees.
· Allow yourself a bit of head space each day, stop whatever you are doing and take about 10 minutes to just breathe and live in the moment.
Keep learning, keep exercising and keep discovering. It will change you for the better.