What Should I Do Today?by@ravi-vaja15
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What Should I Do Today?

by ravi vajaApril 4th, 2024
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Feeling trapped in a rut can make you want to make a drastic change, like starting a new profession, going on a dream vacation, or adopting a drastically healthier lifestyle.
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Feeling trapped in a rut can make you want to make a drastic change, like starting a new profession, going on a dream vacation, or adopting a drastically healthier lifestyle.

Major shifts, however, are typically unsettling. Quite pricey, too. As well as challenging. Therefore, you do nothing but wallow in your miserable rut, daydreaming of a radical change but failing to bring about any such transformation.

In what ways can you end this pattern? The solution is quite obvious to experts. At least in the beginning, put your lofty goals on hold and focus on making little adjustments. Start your new life off right by doing a plethora of tiny things that will broaden your horizons, boost your energy, inspire your creativity, and teach you what works and what doesn't.

Get some exercise—even ten minutes will do

Endorphins are the hormones your body releases when you exercise; they reduce pain and tension. You've probably heard of them. However, exercise has far-reaching effects on your body beyond just releasing feel-good chemicals.

Increased levels of the feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine are another benefit of physical activity. Plus, your heart rate gets higher during activity, which means more oxygen gets to your brain. The benefits of a well-oxygenated brain are numerous and well-documented, and they include the alleviation of anxiety and sadness.

Shawn Achor references an intriguing study on this in his book, The Happiness Advantage. I will be citing this book extensively in this piece; it is, by the way, an excellent read.

Participants in the study were divided into three groups, each of which received treatment for depression by medication, exercise, or a hybrid approach. I was astonished by the findings of this study. Despite initial improvements in happiness levels being comparable across all three groups, the results of the follow-up assessments showed significant differences: What should I do today?

Relocate to a more convenient location for employment (or engage in remote work)

How we feel on the way to work each day might have a significant effect on our mood. Given that this is something we do on a daily, five-day rotation, it seems to reason that its cumulative effect would diminish our happiness over time.

There is a negative correlation between commute time and happiness, according to multiple research. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health stated that people's happiness with their jobs and lives tends to decline as their commute times increase. Additionally, long commutes have negative effects on people's physical health and lead to a lack of physical exercise.

So, it's not surprising that having a short commute (the distance between your home and your desk) has a significant impact on your happiness and well-being.

Remote workers report 20% higher levels of happiness compared to their in-office colleagues, according to a survey conducted by Tracking Happiness in 2023. Nearly 9 in 10 people who participated in our most recent survey about the state of remote work reported favourable experiences with remote work, and nearly all of those people (98 percent) expressed a desire to continue working remotely at least occasionally during their careers.

"The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate," explains Achor. A third of people who had taken antidepressants on their own had relapsed. With a recurrence rate of 31%, the combination group was just marginally better off. However, the exercise group's shockingly low recurrence rate of 9% was the most shocking.

Relaxation, enhanced cognitive function, and a more positive self-image are all benefits of regular physical activity. Even in the absence of observable changes, regular exercise improved participants' self-esteem, according to research published in the Journal of Health Psychology.

Optimal aspect? The Journal of Happiness Studies found that even 10 minutes of movement each day significantly increased participants' levels of happiness, so there's no need to swear off long runs or intense HIIT classes altogether if you want to live your best life.

You'll feel like a million bucks if you get more sleep.

The American Psychological Association reports that not getting enough sleep has a host of negative health effects, including impaired focus and memory, metabolic disruption, and elevated stress hormone levels.

It goes without saying that a poor night's sleep can have a significant effect on your mood, in addition to the obvious health effects of insufficient sleep ("People who chronically fail to get enough sleep may actually be cutting their lives short," according to the APA).

Inadequate or bad sleep exacerbated emotional states, according to a study published in the journal Sleep that examined the sleep habits of 30,594 British individuals aged 16 and up over a 4-year period.

In order to measure health-related quality of life, they compared those who slept more and better with those who did not utilise the frequently administered General Health Questionnaire (GHQ):

Mental health professionals who complete an eight-week mindfulness-based cognitive therapy programme to increase psychological well-being show comparable changes on the GHQ, according to the study.

"They are also on par with the typical enhancement in happiness demonstrated by Brits who win a medium-sized lottery two years subsequent to the win." Reading this will improve your mood just as much as hitting the jackpot.

Enjoy the company of loved ones

Even for those who are naturally reserved, spending time with others is crucial to our well-being. Spending time with loved ones significantly improves our mood, according to multiple research.

This is a quote from Daniel Gilbert, a happiness expert at Harvard University: "We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends, and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends." I really like this explanation.

One of the most extensive longitudinal studies ever conducted followed the lives of 268 men for 72 years under the direction of psychiatrist George Vaillant. He was asked about the lessons he had acquired from the men in an interview that took place in 2008. The answer from Vaillant: "That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people."

He discussed the study's findings with Joshua Wolf Shenk of The Atlantic, who was interested in the men's social relationships and their impact on happiness: "No other variable, except defences, predicted late-life adjustment better than the men's relationships at age 47," says Wolf Shenk. "Good sibling relationships seem especially powerful: 93 percent of the men who were thriving at age 65 had been close to a brother or sister when younger."

Go find a greenish area outside.

Those of us who are cooped up at our desks all day long can rejoice: getting some fresh air doesn't require slaving away in the sun.

The International Journal of Environmental Health Research found that a mere 20 minutes spent outdoors in a green area significantly improved participants' well-being.

According to Hon Yuen, who was a co-author of the study, "some people may go to the park and just enjoy nature" (TIME). They are under no need to engage in strenuous physical activity. After you unwind and lessen your tension, you'll start to feel happier.

Urban parks in Birmingham, UK, rather than Yosemite National Park, were visited by study participants, so there's no need to worry if the concept of finding a place green enough to be deemed "nature" seems far-fetched.

For the majority of people, the ideal place to spend a warm, sunny weekend day is outside, close to the water, according to research out of the University of Sussex. Actually, people reported much higher levels of happiness when they were outside in natural settings as opposed to city dwellers.

Temperature is an intriguing additional factor. According to studies published by the American Meteorological Society, human happiness is more affected by the present temperature than by factors such as wind speed and humidity or even by the day average temperature.

Keep an eye on the forecast before you go outside for your 20 minutes of fresh air, because it was shown that happiness is maximised around 13.9°C (57°F).