Many studies have shown that sunlight, exercise and diet play a vital part in achieving and maintaining our physical and mental wellbeing and happiness. Neglect one and you may well negatively influence the others as well.
Nature has equipped your body with amazingly sophisticated “happiness” hormones that are triggered by a variety of things, including the rays of the sun streaming through your window at work or at home. By following a few simple strategies, you can get the greatest benefit from them.
Here are 7 top ways to stay happy:
1. Increase natural light at home and at your workplace
If your boss balks at installing expensive day-lighting systems or more windows and skylights, point out that studies have shown that productivity lessens with lack of sunlight. Instead of getting sleepy, inattentive and unproductive after 2.00 pm, you’ll be alert, energetic and more productive.
There are some easy strategies to follow at home too. Leave the blinds or curtains open, install skylights if you can, and make the most of sunny days by getting outside in the sunshine. Your body (and your stress hormones) will thank you!
2. Exercise outside
Exercise increases the “happy hormone” production in your body, but so does sunlight. It makes sense to combine the two! Go for walks early in the morning, when daylight is at its strongest.
Let the rays of the sun stimulate the production of Vitamin D in your body. This will in turn increase the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone that will allow you to enjoy better sleep at night. Better regulating your sleep/wake cycle will provide relief from many of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. More sleep, less tiredness = less stress!
3. Reduce Stress Levels with Natural Light
Avoid harsh lighting, as it contributes to higher cortisol production in your body. The hormone cortisol is a powerful stress hormone, which rises rapidly when you are under stress and exposed to harsh artificial lighting.
4. Eat happy Foods
Bananas are one of the most important happy foods and are known to counteract depression. They are high in tryptophan, which your body converts to serotonin, a mood-raising brain neurotransmitter. Bananas are also bursting out of their yellow skins with vitamin B6, which helps you to sleep better, and they also contain magnesium, which helps your muscles to relax. In addition, they are high in pectin, a form of fiber, and potassium, which is good for our hearts.
Note that bananas are high in potassium. If you are in late stage adrenal fatigue, make sure to consume plenty of salt to maintain a healthy sodium-potassium balance.
5. Think positively
Sit in the sunshine of your mind, not the dark corners that whisper “can’t do” all the time! Just as natural light increases your productivity and energy levels, thinking positively can help you to achieve your personal goals. Thinking positively gives you more energy, frees your imagination, and enables you to focus and concentrate more effectively.
6. Treasure experiences, not possessions
The walk in the park with loved ones or friends is a far greater treasure than the Porsche standing on your driveway. All it takes is a sunbeam on your cheek, a bird tweeting and in your mind you’ll be right there again, where you felt utterly relaxed and happy, loved and cherished. That’s not something a possession can give you, but a day spent in the sunshine with those who matter most to you certainly can.
Explore new hiking trails; discover new beauty spots in your neighborhood. The excitement of a new TV or piece of clothing is short-lived compared to time spend exploring new experiences. Try to achieve something you haven’t done before, such as hiking up to snow-covered peaks or taking your family out for bike rides.
7. Be more mindful
Paying full attention to the moment, instead of fretting what may or may not happen, will help you boost your mood, reduce stress levels and allow you to enjoy a better quality of life. Don’t be judgmental, and give yourself a break too. Concentrate on how happy simple things like sounds, smells and sensations can make you feel, such as fresh morning air and rays of sunshine warming you when you’re having lunch outdoors.
There is plenty of scientific evidence that mindfulness makes us happier. Harvard researcher Matt Killingsworth studied 15,000 people and concluded that our mind is least happy when we’re distracted by worrying about things out of our control, such as our future or past events. We are happiest when we appreciate the moment and are grateful for it.
So, open your curtains a little wider, and let the sunshine in. Take a deep breath and enjoy each moment today to the full!