Everything we do in our lives, all we strive to accomplish is driven by one goal: to make our lives happier and more meaningful. Today, there is a lot of research going on to discover why so many people feel that their lives lack meaning and fulfillment, and what they can do about it.
You don’t have to wait until the results of these studies are published because there is a already a very simple way to bring happiness and meaning to your life right now – by rewiring your brain for happiness!
Our brain is constantly processing stimuli from things we hear, see, taste, smell and experience. The key to happiness and wellbeing is in how we train our brain to receive and perceive these different stimuli. We can actually rewire or retrain our brain to focus on the positive thoughts, interactions and experiences that we have daily, which bring us value and meaning.
Likewise, we can rewire our brain to ignore or not dwell on negative stimuli that cause us anxiety and distress.
The following simple tips, trivial as they may seem, will go a long way towards rewiring your brain for happiness.
- Don’t jump out of bed
When you wake up, take a few minutes to breathe deeply and stretch your whole body. A great tip is to set your alarm 5 minutes early so that you have enough time to wake up slowly. Also, set your alarm to a soft melody or nature sound rather than a loud ring or buzz that shocks you out of sleep.
- Feast your eyes on flowers
The best start to a happy day is to wake up to the sight of flowers. Research shows that people who wake up to the sight of flowers are simply happier people.
Place a small vase of fresh flowers next to your bed so that your eyes fall on them when you wake up. This is the best way to rewire your mind to start the day on a positive note.
- Be mindful throughout the day
Train yourself to stay ground in the present and remain focused only on what is happening in the moment. Do not multitask, and don’t let your mind jump to what you need to do next. Keep your senses alert and open to the sounds, smells and sights around you. Eat and drink mindfully, savoring the textures, smells and tastes of food. Listen – really listen – when others speak to you and don’t let your mind wander.
How will this help you? Keeping your mind focused and mindful will also prevent it – and you from becoming stressed. Mindfulness keeps your mind calm and de-stressed and in turn, you are able to calmly deal with difficult situations and put them into perspective.
- Boost your mood with natural light
Natural light promotes the production of the “feel-good” hormone serotonin. The more you expose your body to natural light, the more this hormone floods your body, keeping you upbeat and uplifted.
Try to get at least 20 minutes of natural light every day. Sunlight is ideal but not everyone lives in a perpetually sunny climate. If it’s cloudy, you can increase your exposure time to natural light.
- Eat healthily
Train your mind to appreciate healthy food and always eat mindfully, appreciating and savoring your meals.
The quality of the food you eat should be a priority a well. Proteins stabilize the mood and help keep your brain focused. Overindulging in sugar and unhealthy carbohydrates can cause mood swings and leave you feeling depressed.
- Avoid negative self-talk
We all know that little voice in our heads that’s always commenting on the things that we’re doing: “I’ll never get this right!” Or “I won’t get this done on time…” Or “I’m such a failure!”
Living more mindfully will help you catch yourself starting to think negatively. Stop immediately and replace these thoughts with positive ones. In psychology this is known as positive affirmations. Positive self-talk rewires your mind so that it sends you positive thoughts instead of negative ones.
Happiness and a meaningful life are not as elusive as we may think. In fact, they are shaped by the way we think and perceive things.
All of the simple tips discussed here will work together to rewire your brain, boost your mood and bring you the clarity to focus and engage in what makes life meaningful for you – and when your life is meaningful, you become happy and fulfilled.