We’ve all heard the song by Bob Marley. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”
If only being happy was as simple as the reggae singer made it seem. From the stress of daily life to unexpected disasters, choosing a positive outlook can be easier said than done.
But finding ways to lift your mood and mental well-being can affect your outlook on life and that of the people around you. Afterall, according to Dr. Suzanne Degges-White, happiness is “what brings our lives to life!”
Here are eight happiness hacks to improve your mood and boost your mental well-being.
Picture this: Your internet connection is on the fritz and nothing you do can make it work. So, on the edge of a complete meltdown, you call tech support.
“Have you tried unplugging your modem?” the tech support rep asks.
It’s the last thing you want to hear because, of course, you have unplugged the modem — five times. But the truth is that many things work better if you turn the off for a bit.
And you are no different.
Hack: Set aside a time each day when your phone stays in a drawer or on the charger and you are doing something that makes you feel better. This time is a fantastic opportunity to relax in a hot tub by Master Spas. When you are soaking in the warm water, you are less likely to want to reach for your phone.
Sometimes being happy isn’t as easy as, well, deciding to be happy.
But you can help yourself have a good day by listening to upbeat music. Two studies in the Journal of Positive Psychology concluded that participants reported being in a better mood after listening to music. The effects of the music are increased when participants had the intention of improving their mood.
Hack: Create a go-to playlist that is filled with upbeat songs that are sure to boost your mood. Want some inspiration? Check out our Make Me Happy playlist on Spotify.
Turn on Your Om
Yoga can be a great way to revitalize your body and your mind. The practice allows you to focus on your breath, move your body with intention, and stretch.
But researchers at Boston University School of Medicine and McLean Hospital found that yoga may elevate certain levels in the brain that help improve your mood and happiness levels. The conclusions, which appeared in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, stated that yoga could be explored as a possible treatment for depression and anxiety.
But you don’t have to sign up for a 90-minute power yoga session. A study at the University of Waterloo reported that 25 minutes can benefit your happiness.
“There are a number of theories about why physical exercises like yoga improve energy levels and cognitive test performance,” said Kimberley Luu, lead author on the paper.
“These include the release of endorphins, increased blood flow to the brain, and reduced focus on ruminative thoughts. Though ultimately, it is still an open question.”
Before you roll out your mat, consider taking your practice to the water. Yes, yoga in the water. When you go with the flow in a swim spa by Master Spas, you can take advantage of the natural properties of water and enjoy improved mobility and flexibility. Choosing a comfortable water temperature can also help warm up your muscles so you move better from the beginning.
Hack: Using the optional WiFi module* and accompanying app, you can set the water temperature on your way home. When the water is ready for you, you are more likely to hop in before getting caught up in chores or your most recent Netflix binge.
*The WiFi module is a dealer-installed option on select Master Spas hot tubs.
To quote Elle Woods, the main character in Legally Blonde: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.”
But it’s not just about feeling good in the moment. But more movement generally contributed to greater happiness. A study in the Journal of Happiness Studies reported that people who exercised for at least 30 minutes on most days were about 30 percent more likely to consider themselves happy. than people who did not meet the guidelines.
When you are exercising for your mental well-being, you don’t want it to feel stressful. Whether it’s fighting traffic to get to a fitness center or waiting for machines in a crowded workout area, there are parts of a fitness routine that can feel frustrating.
A convenient, easy-to-use option is exercising at home. A swim spa by Master Spas in your backyard offers year-round convenience and myriad options. You can swim, walk, jog, do yoga, row, or strength-train. Master Spas also gives new swim spa owners an H2Xercise book that takes the guess work out of what exercises to do.
Hack: Create a visual cue that will not just remind you to exercise but get you excited to move your body. Set out colorful exercise clothes or place your gym bag on the counter with a healthy post-workout snack on top, where you are sure to see it.
Spend Time in Nature
Want to know the easiest thing you can do to improve your mood? Walk outside.
“There are two important take homes; the first I emphasize to all my students these days — when you need an emotional boost, the fastest and easiest way is to spend a few minutes with nature,” research Katherine D. Arbuthnott, told PsyPost.
There is a lot of evidence that shows that spending time in nature can improve mental and physical health. While the reason is not entirely understood, research shows that spending five minutes surrounded by the trees, flowers, birds, and bees can positively affect our emotions.
A hot tub by Master Spas can be the perfect place to commune with the natural world.
Whether you have a wooded setting or container garden, you can transport yourself to an outdoor sanctuary while reaping the benefits of a hot tub — adjustable massage jets, warm water, and more.
Hack: Create a space in your backyard that feels like a sanctuary. Select colorful flowers, add ambient lighting, and incorporate plenty of seating.
Meditation is more than zoning out. The practice offers a way to step back and quiet the brain so you can improve your overall well-being.
A research review published in JAMA Internal Medicine in January 2014 found meditation helpful for relieving anxiety, pain, and depression. For depression, meditation was about as effective as an antidepressant.
Another study found that just 25 minutes of meditation can improve “the brain’s executive functions, cognitive abilities linked to goal-directed behavior and the ability to control knee-jerk emotional responses, habitual thinking patterns and actions.”
Hack: Start small when it comes to meditation and work your way up to a longer session. Even 5 minutes can give your brain a much-needed break. Consider downloading an app to give you some guidance.
You can do a lot of things to be happy but it can feel a bit empty when you don’t have friends and family to share it with.
The Harvard Study of Adult Development — one of the longest-running studies on happiness — has found that there’s a strong link between happiness and close relationships like spouses, family, friends, and social circles.
“Personal connection creates mental and emotional stimulation, which are automatic mood boosters, while isolation is a mood buster,” says Dr. Robert Waldinger, project director.
Hack: Make an appointment to spend time with your partner, family, or friends. It sounds boring or chore-like but scheduling time makes the relationships a priority. And just like getting your hair done or seeing a doctor, you’re less likely to cancel when you have made a commitment.
Do you want to be happier? Think about the things that make you happy, more specifically grateful.
Research shows that a gratitude practice can help improve your happiness “set point.” By focusing on the positive things, people felt 25% happier and were more optimistic, an article on PSYBLOG reports.
Hack: Find ways to make your gratitude practice something you look forward to rather than a chore. Indulge in a nice journal and pen set, keeping it in a place where you are apt to see it. Pair the gratitude journal with a favorite activity, like sipping your morning coffee, so that you relate it to something positive.