“All you need is love. All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.”
For years and years, people have been searching for the exact formula for creating and maintaining ultimate happiness in their lives. With the positive psychology craze that has swept the nation in recent years, it seems we are practically obsessed with attaining steady bliss, contentment, and delight in our daily lives.
But, while the familiar tune above may have been on the right track with its advice (at least as it pertains in our scenario to creating happiness!), recent studies have shown that there are three things that you need to be happy now.
Feeling good is one thing we can easily take for granted…that is, until we feel bad. But, did you know that safeguarding your health is one of the best ways to maintain high levels of happiness in your life? Studies published by Harvard University show that “lowering your stress levels over a period of years with a positive outlook and relaxation techniques could reduce your risk of health problems.”
In other words, being happier makes you healthier and being healthier makes you happier! With these two concepts so closely intertwined, we can take action and focus on prioritizing health through nutrition, exercise, and–interestingly enough–personal/environmental safeguards. This article touts the huge benefits to your health (and to the planet!) through tips such as minimizing meat consumption, ditching dry cleaning, using bar soap, nixing dry-clean-only garments, and skipping chemical air fresheners.
Isn’t it interesting to think that we vacation nearly exclusively near water or, at least, in an environment where we’re spending a large proportion of our time outdoors? If you’ve had the hunch that spending time in nature left you with a little extra pep in your step, you didn’t imagine it. Turns out, being outdoors has some major happiness, health, and wellness benefits.
In data compiled by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley in an article entitled “How Nature Can Make You Kinder, Happier, and More Creative,” multiple studies have shown that “being in nature has a profound impact on our brains and our behavior, helping us to reduce anxiety, brooding, and stress, and increase our attention capacity, creativity, and our ability to connect with other people.” Quit spending your evenings in front of the screen, be it television, laptop, or tablet! Find a park, path, or hike near you to give yourself a free and proven happiness boost. And, if you (or someone you love) is incapable of venturing outdoors, researchers have proven that you can recreate some of these feel-good vibes by surrounding yourself with beautiful plants.
In an earlier blog post, we uncovered how happiness is linked to health, unlocking the secret behind living a long and fulfilling life. The 1938 study was conducted by Harvard University and initially followed 268 sophomores. Later, it evolved and expanded to include participant’s wives, more than 1,300 of their children, and an inner city population.
Ultimately, what the study revealed was that “close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives.” Relationships with friends, family, and within the community can, quite literally, safeguard your health from “life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes.” Another study proved that “the happy life is social and conversationally deep rather than solitary and superficial.” If you’re yearning for deeper connection and more socialization in your life, find a MeetUp group near you, volunteer at a farmer’s market or local theatre, take a class, or simply be more open to sparking new relationships.
Do you believe that love, connection, and spending time in nature is truly all you need?