This post has been sponsored by Coursera. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an educational platform that offers online Courses, Specializations and Masters degrees. Some of the courses I took on Coursera are even listed on my CV! I recommend it to anyone looking for additional education.
How can you become happier today, without having to earn more money, get promoted, get in the perfect shape or find your ideal dream partner? Read on for five scientifically-proven tips on how to do that!
The Science of Well-Being
Since I started my journey of self-discovery, I’ve been reading a lot of self-help books, and I highly recommend that to anyone, whether you have a stable career, relationship, or family! The path to self-improvement never ends.
Apart from a mass of useful books I’ve read, I’ve also recently started taking an amazing course on Coursera from Yale University, called The Science of Well-Being. Here are some of my main takeaways from it so far, neatly packed into tips on how you can make yourself be happier today!
Remember the last time you were eating some delicious food and it was so good that you wanted to keep that flavour in your mouth forever? Well, savouring is not only applicable to food – you can also savour emotions, events, or moments that you are enjoying!
Professor Laurie Santos, who teaches The Science of Well-Being course, recommends savouring experiences as a way to live a happier life. Savouring an experience really is similar to savouring food! Next time you’re doing something you enjoy, stop for a moment to really appreciate what you’re experiencing: the emotions, the company, what’s being said, and anything else you might feel. Take a mental snapshot of it all, so that you can always go back to that moment, remember it, and experience it again on an emotional level.
This method will help you recognise and truly appreciate the moments of happiness that you experience in your day-to-day life. It will also help you stay present and really feel it, be in the moment. Finally, it will make you more grateful for what you have in life.
Gratitude is one of the most talked-about concepts nowadays when it comes to learning how to appreciate your life as it is already. Not only does it help you understand and appreciate the people around you, practising it on a regular basis makes you much happier! I can say this from personal experience, too: I’ve dug myself out of my lowest lows with gratitude.
But how do you practise gratitude? Start with a daily gratitude log! You can add it to your journal, do it in the morning or in the evening, have themes or specific numbers of items to be grateful for – whatever works for you!
What I did when I hit that lowest low was asking myself a different question every day, regarding different areas of my life. Here are some examples:
- What am I grateful for professionally?
- What am I grateful for in my personal relationships?
- What am I grateful for when it comes to my family?
Feel free to adapt my process to your own life – and get started right away! It might make you happier from the get-go.
Giving back or being kind to people, in general, is a great way to put you in a better mood – this is nothing new. However, with all the issues we encounter daily in our lives most of us aren’t as proactive about it as we could be.
Be kind to someone today, whether it’s to your friends or family or to a stranger that you meet on your way home. Donate to charity or volunteer for a non-profit if you can. Kindness comes in many shapes and forms, and it’s important to find the way that feels right for you, so you can practice it on a regular basis – and you will feel happier!
4. Social connection
Meaningful connections with people are one of the most important factors for our wellbeing – we are social creatures! Schedule regular social interactions to make yourself feel more fulfilled.
To all of the introverts out there: I see you, I feel you and I’m one of you. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of social interactions on a daily basis – so feel free to, at least for starters, just talk to one good friend regularly, and that will already make you happier. But, if you’re feeling confident and adventurous, you can also talk to strangers! Double points for showing kindness from the previous tip.
You knew this was coming, right? Whether you like it or not, exercise is one of the best ways to elevate your mood and increase the amount of happiness you feel in your day-to-day life. Not only does it make you feel healthier and in control, but exercise also releases endorphins, a.k.a. happy hormones! And it doesn’t just have to be running, gym, or a team sport – exercise takes many forms and you can find the one that suits you the best!
I myself am not a runner, but I love cycling! I go cycling when I need to clear my head, or as a stand-in for more common cardio exercise. On low energy days, go for a short walk or do a little dance – as long as you’re moving more, you’re helping yourself feel happier through the sheer physical activity!
Here’s a life hack that encompasses all of these tips:
Go for a nice walk with your friend, be kind to them, savour that moment, and, at the end of the day, write it down as something that you were grateful for that day!
Professor Laurie Santos starts this course by telling us about the ‘G.I. Joe Fallacy’. Knowing isn’t half the battle! It’s not enough to know what to do -you have to put these methods to practise in your daily life, make an effort, and make them a habit before they can impact your life. Put these tips to work, don’t just read this article and pat yourself on the back for ‘improving yourself’. Life skills real skills like any other – you need to practise to get good at them!
I’m only 4 weeks into the course and it has already helped me so much, the amount of research, information and techniques really help you delve deeper if you want that, and I’m excited to learn more and put everything I’ve learnt to practice. If the science of happiness and wellbeing is something that you’re interested in, I highly recommend doing this course – and you can do it for free!
And definitely check out Coursera, which partners with top universities and industry leaders to provide the world’s best online education experience. They have over 3,000 courses you can take in subjects like Data Science, Astronomy, Artificial Intelligence, Self-Driving Cars, Digital Marketing, you name it! I love this platform and have been using it for over 6 years myself 🙂
Let me know in the comments if you have more tips you know of that you would add to this list! I’m always excited to hear feedback from my readers. Good luck in your journey towards making yourself happier and more content in your life – and have a wonderful day!