Throughout life, desires and expectations change, transform, and evolve: a good job, a partner to share special moments with, a family, a group of friends, a trip around the world, moving to a different city, success. But the common denominator of all our desires, which we often struggle to name explicitly, is Happiness. Happiness with a capital ‘H,’ the happiness that brings us serenity, satisfaction, and a sense of well-being and fulfillment. Being yourself is already a big step forward, let’s discover together changes to be happy.
You don’t always have to ride the crest of the wave to be happy. In fact, there will be times when the wave is too high and it will overwhelm us, and other times when there won’t be any waves, and everything will seem meaningless.
But we don’t have to wait for the right wave. Instead, we can cultivate happiness through simple daily actions that can truly change our lives. Habits, both good and bad, become rooted in our brains, and if we train our brains to adopt new habits of happiness, we can genuinely change our lives.
We live with our foot always on the accelerator, with a never-ending to-do list (in fact, we are the ones who end up exhausted!). We live in fear of missing out on the moment, the opportunity, the experience. It’s called FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, a social anxiety that people experience with the use of social networks. It’s the need to always be updated, in contact, ‘in the know,’ always with the phone in hand.
We live projecting ourselves into the future, but without fully living in the present. We live with the idea that maybe tomorrow will bring something more interesting, more fulfilling. But what if today is the day of happiness?
Let’s try to stop. We have to observe the beauty of the present moment, savor the emotion of that instant without having to think about ‘what will happen next?’ Let’s try to grasp the beauty in the simple complexity of a butterfly landing on a flower, a starry sky, a passing cloud, a spontaneous laugh, a thank you from a stranger we randomly met. Happiness is not far away; it’s not a chimera; it’s like water filtering into the soil.
One of the consequences of a hectic and often repetitive life is that we tend to react impulsively as soon as we encounter an obstacle. And so, we respond irritably, aggressively, and sometimes rudely. But if we take a moment to reflect, we could carefully choose our words or reactions to maintain healthier and more balanced interpersonal relationships. Let’s try to manage our emotions so that we don’t get overwhelmed by negative ones – like anger and resentment – which cloud our vision and constantly make us unhappy.
Food is our fuel, and if the quality isn’t good, the engine doesn’t function at its best; it stalls, and consequently, so does our mood (and happiness). Highly sugary and fatty foods may provide temporary pleasure to the palate by stimulating dopamine, but the effect is short-lived, and in fact, these foods create a mechanism of addiction that leads to feelings of sadness and melancholy. Thus, a vicious cycle is triggered as we seek gratification through more calorie-dense, fatty, sweet, and ‘less healthy’ foods. Comfort foods are, therefore, a trap because their effect is immediate but fleeting.
Science tells us that the fulfillment of a sporting achievement (not necessarily a competition but the attainment of a goal) generates happiness. Dopamine always comes into play, the neurotransmitter that generates pleasure. Thanks to sports, this particular neurotransmitter is released, making us feel even better from a psychological point of view. And last but not least, a more toned physique makes us feel better about ourselves!
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