The changing of the seasons is a great time to focus on self-love and care. Here’s a list of things you can do this fall equinox to increase the happiness in your life (and subsequently those around you) pretty quickly:
- Go pick or buy yourself fresh flowers… A Rutgers University study found that having flowers in your home increases happiness, reduces depression and anxiety, and can actually increase emotional contact with loved ones. A separate study by Harvard University found the same results – increased compassion, feeling less negative, and more energy at work. Any finally, Texas A & M University found that flowers and plants in the workplace improve problem solving skills and increase creativity. I can’t wait to share this info with a certain someone! Source
- Do something nice for a friend (or stranger)… A University of Chapel Hill study concluded that practicing loving-kindness towards others and creating social connections at the same time had a positive effect on the participants’ vagus nerve, which regulates glucose metabolism and our immune response to stressors. A toned (and happy) vagus nerve is critical to maintaining status quo in the body and ultimately warding off chronic disease.
- Smile… It seems our facial expressions create a feedback loop and send messages to the brain in the reverse direction. Smiling for no reason will actually elicit a response in the frontal cortex of the brain that triggers happy feelings. You really do have an excuse to smile at strangers 🙂 Source
- Go outside and walk barefoot… I’m a huge believer in grounding. Going out and getting some natural Vitamin D from the sun is one way to feel better fast, but studies also show that walking barefoot neutralizes and balances the electromagnetic systems of the body, reducing inflammation and making us more calm.
- Get some exercise… This one is pretty obvious, but sometimes we need a little reminder to take the time to consciously move while thanking our body for the tremendous amount of work it does for us on a daily basis. Science also says that exercise increases levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that’s necessary for feelings of happiness.
What are some of your favorite happiness tricks?