“The relentless pursuit of happiness” has new meaning in today’s society. According to a Harris Poll, only 1 in 3 Americans are “very happy,” and that number is even lower than in 2008 and 2009. Antidepressant usage continues to climb as they are consumed four times more than just a decade ago. So, why is happiness so elusive to the American public? Is it generational? Is it attributable to a society that constantly tells us that what we have is not good enough? Partly, but the good news is that it is also heavily rooted in biology, and there are many changes that we can make to seriously boost our feelings of happiness and contentment without ever needing a pill.
Get Moving – Our bodies thrive on physical movement. We weren’t designed to be sedentary. When we are, we increase our risk for a number of problems including diabetes, colon and breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and depression. Study after study reveals that the more we move, the happier and healthier we are. And this doesn’t even mean strenuous exercise. Physical activity 2 to 3 times per week is enough to significantly increase feelings of happiness and well-being.
Eat Well – Is anyone surprised that diet strongly impacts our emotional health? It’s certainly no revelation that the American diet has gotten progressively worse over the last few decades. All those refined carbohydrates and sugars add to the waistline and increase occurrence of illness and chronic health conditions. Research also shows that a diet of processed foods contributes heavily to anxiety, depression, and mood swings. Avoid the junk and stick to anything that is fresh and organic.
Limit Social Media – This may come as a surprise to some, but the very tools designed to keep us connected have evolved from offering a sense of community among acquaintances to fostering jealousy and unhappiness. A Utah Valley University study recently uncovered that more time spent on Facebook leads to stronger feelings of dissatisfaction in one’s own life. Instead, we tend to view others as leading happier, more fulfilling lives. On the other hand, being in close proximity with other people can have a long-lasting, positive impact on happiness that can not only improve our mood but also the moods of those around us.
We like to think we’re doing our part to foster happiness within the community. From keeping our patients physically strong and pain free to offering fitness classes, we feel confident that our efforts can help others lead the best life possible. Follow the tips above and check out our services to help increase your own levels of happiness and satisfaction.