Health Uncategorized

In pursuit of happiness


HQ Team

October 14, 2022: Feeling stressed and low has become a part of most conversations. The global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25% after the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The latest Global Burden of Disease study shows that the pandemic has affected young people’s mental health, and they are disproportionally at risk of suicide. It also indicates that women are more severely impacted than men and that people with pre-existing physical health conditions, such as asthma, cancer and heart disease, are more likely to develop symptoms of mental disorders.  

A recent Cleveland Clinic study found that 1 out of 3 respondents ranked their mental health as “low”, 45 per cent of respondents said they had dealt with anxiety in the previous week and 36 per cent said they had experienced sadness or depression.  

Research also shows that only one out of 4 people affected by anxiety or stress seek any kind of help.

Here are some simple ways to better deal with the burden of mental stress. 

Your happiness quotient

The opposite of stress is the feeling of happiness, and science says that your genes or hereditary personality traits determine your disposition.

How you’re made affects your happiness. That is one-half of the reason. The other thing that affects one’s happiness is circumstance. Genes and circumstances both cannot be controlled. But what is in your hands is your response to the events. 

Stay positive rather than focusing on your state of happiness. According to a study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, people look at their life in two ways. People who are focused on their happiness quotient. They measure every moment in degrees of happiness. Any moment that is not so is considered a failure. They struggle with negative emotions.

The second set of people focuses on staying positiveThey look for ways to feel and stay positive. Adverse circumstances do not faze them. They do not let a negative experience affect their enjoyment of life.

Research shows experiencing negative and positive emotions — what psychologists call “emodiversity” — is an essential component of overall health and subjective wellbeing

In simple terms, to recognise happiness, one needs to understand sadness, which leads to thinking about dealing with this sadness. To be in control of your emotions and find a solution to the problem. If you can’t control what happens to you, you can at least control how you respond to it.

Get regular “nature” time

Spending time outdoors is a requirement. A 2019 study published in Scientific Reports found that spending two hours per week outdoors can significantly improve overall wellbeing. 

Research shows that sitting in a place enjoying nature is as beneficial as indulging in mild activity outdoors. 

Find time to do things you enjoy

In a 2017 study, researchers surveyed thousands of people who outsourced tasks that made them unhappy or unenjoyable. If you hate housecleaning, grocery shopping or cutting the lawn, then hire someone to do it. It saves time and effort, and according to the study, such people were more satisfied with their lives.

The result? People who were willing to spend a little money to buy a little time were happier and felt greater overall life satisfaction than people who did not. 

Money cannot buy happiness might not be true here. It does allow one to be relatively more satisfied with life, compared to people who do not spend it to buy some relaxation time.

Remember, buying time is beneficial only if you do something purposeful with that time. Instead of cleaning the house, you decide to spend the time handling a much loved awaited project. 

Grass is not greener on the other side; stop making comparisons

Psychologists call making comparisons relative deprivation: Wanting things just because others have it, is not good for mental health.

A 2017 study published in IZA World of Labor found that relative deprivation is why people’s happiness has not increased with the rise in average income around the world. 

The key to happiness is knowing what “you” want. Your goals. Your dreams. Your ambitions. And working to achieve them. 

Find time for people you like being around

Research shows doubling your number of (real) friends is like increasing your income by 50 per cent in terms of how happy you feel.

Friendships make you happier. Being nice to people, doing favours and generally socialising with like-minded people improves the happiness quotient. 

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