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3 Easy Ways To Boost Your Happiness

Happiness isn’t an elusive state that some people are blessed with by pure luck of the draw. Your happiness quotient impacts your outlook on life and work – and it’s in your hands by Liberty Rustenburg.

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

This year promises to be a challenging one in Rustenburg economically, socially and politically. The inevitable problems over which you have no control will arise, so why not jump-start your year by taking charge of your own happiness?

1. The smile proposition.

We’ve all heard the adage that “laughter is the best medicine”. Well, smiling is beneficial too! Even if it feels like the world’s burdens are on your shoulders, take five minutes out of your day to mull over the blessings in your life and smile while you’re doing it. Smiling can improve your mood and even help with heart health. According to PsychologyToday.com’s Ronald Riggio, PhD, “Smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress”. It also releases the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. “This not only relaxes your body, but can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure,” he says.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh, Buddhist spiritual leader

2. The “no” clause.

It’s a little word, but it can be very hard to say, particularly if you’re a people-pleaser. Whether it’s heading up the PTA or agreeing to take on another project at work when you’re already overloaded, we regularly say “yes” to do things that we resent. Says Stephen Covey, author of self-help classic The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically, to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.” You’ll be a happier person if you put your own needs first and respond honestly. It’s not selfish, it’s truthful and assertive.

“It’s only by saying ‘no’ that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” – Steve Jobs, late Apple co-founder and CEO

3. The positivity factor.

Whether it’s a conflict with a colleague or a previous relationship, quit brooding over the past. It’s unhealthy to waste valuable time, energy and emotion. “Research has shown that rumination is associated with a variety of negative consequences, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, binge-drinking and binge-eating,” says PsychCentral.com’s associate editor, Margarita Tartakovsky. Rumination, she says, conjures up a cycle of negativity. One way to stop this behaviour is by nurturing positivity. “Yoga and meditation are well-known for increasing positivity,” explains psychologist and hypnotherapist Joanne Reeves-Baker. However, any activity, such as gardening or writing that requires focus “will give your mind downtime to process what’s happening in your life” she says. “Find the activity that makes you smile most and make it a part of your routine.”

“Be cautious with what you feed your mind and soul. Fuel yourself with positivity and let that fuel propel you into positive action.” – Steve Maraboli, author.

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