10 Science-Approved Routine Shake Ups That’ll Make You Feel Happier
Life can often feel like round two of Groundhog Day – daily routines can feel like déjà vu, you’re still having to deal with that one infuriating work colleague and you unsuspectingly step in a giant puddle on your way out the door. But it doesn’t matter how you wind up in a bad mood, because there are scientifically-proven ways to ensure you’ll shake it off.
Juice Daily recently collated a list of top-notch ways to tweak your daily routine in an effort to be more invigorated, more enlightened, and help you live a happier life. So here are a few adjustments to the usual that are scientifically proven to have you jumping out of bed in no time.
#1 Find an exercise that you actually like
There’s just no point forcing yourself to run if you desperately hate running, so it’s better to shake things up and try something new you have an inkling you’d like. This could mean trampolining, MMA, pilates, aerial yoga or a good old fashioned dance party – really anything that gets you moving and excited.
Here’s a few out of the box ideas to get you inspired.
#2 It’s all about an attitude of gratitude
Instead of spending your days focussing on things that bug you, focus instead on the things you’re thankful for: your health, your friends, your cool part-time job. It could be as seemingly small as writing down “I’m thankful for the amazing cup of coffee I had today” or “I’m thankful for the Game of Thrones Power Ranking LOLs”.
Practicing gratitude is a one-way ticket to happiness, says a study by the American Psychological Association. The study looked at the relationship between gratitude and wellbeing and found that those who practiced gratitude everyday (usually by writing a list of things they were grateful for) felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about their expectations for the upcoming week. These people also reported fewer physical complaints and reported spending significantly more time exercising.
#3 Wake up earlier
Sounds easy enough, right? (Not really). But if getting up earlier means you’ll be happier, healthier and ready to tackle the day ahead, then it’s definitely something to consider. A study from The University of Toronto found that early risers reported feeling more positive and engaged than those who continuously stay up late.
P.s. If you’re struggling to feel motivated to get up for an early morning gym sesh, try sleeping in your gym clothes – sounds weird, I know, but it also means you’ve already put in half the effort it takes to get ready at the crack of dawn. Anything to get you up and moving, right?
#4 Practice meditation
It’s official: those who meditate regularly are healthier and happier than those who don’t. This is according to a study by the University of Sydney that claims meditation is linked to better wellbeing and mental health.
So opting to close your eyes for a few minutes a day and give back to yourself (instead of mindlessly browsing your Facebook feed, unless you’re on The Cusp, obvs) will in turn help with your overall wellbeing – definitely something to consider the next time you’ve got a spare 30 minutes to kill. Here’s four hours of free meditation music created by legendary electronic artist Moby to ease you into it.
#5 Clean out the clutter
A Princeton University study recently found that our brains struggle to deal with clutter. After 20 years of research on attention, psychology professor Sabine Kastner found that, despite the protests of messy creative thinkers like Einstein and Steve Jobs, “visual clutter competes with our brain’s ability to pay attention, and tires out our cognitive functions over time.”
The more clutter we have around us (whether that’s actual real-life mess like empty coffee cups or piles of papers, or clutter on our computer desktops including having multiple tabs open at once), the harder our brain has to work to filter them, which in turn causes fatigue. Your best bet is to clean that desk, clean your mind and watch yourself return to full working capacity.
#6 Give weights a go
Try integrating some weights into your workout to give yourself that extra little kick of adrenaline. A study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that acute resistance training and interval workouts can result in a direct reduction in anxiety.
The study focused on self-efficacy, which is the perception of your own ability to carry out behaviour with a known outcome. Individuals with low self-efficacy experience greater anxiety and depression, internalise failures and tend to give up when faced with stressful stimuli. However, you can learn to curb your anxious tendencies by manipulating different high- and low-intensity workouts, and increasing rest periods between sets.
#7 Drink more water
There are myriad reasons you should be drinking more water, basically because it’s vital for pretty much every biological function in your body. But it also affects your mood.
A study from the University of Connecticut found that if you’re not drinking enough water, dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, a major strain on your concentration and mess up your mood. So if you’re feeling cranky, drink up. This really is the elixir of life.
#8 Shop consciously
Being an eco-friendly shopper not only helps the environment, it can also help your general wellbeing. A study by Knox College found a link between ecological sustainability and personal well-being – basically, if you’re making sustainable purchases based on personal growth, family, community, spirituality and nature, you’re more inclined to live a happier life.
We can all reduce our environmental impact by taking small actions that require only a little effort – and reap cash rewards for both our short- and long-term financial futures. Now is the perfect time to put your money where your values are – check out our guide to helping the environment while saving yourself some money.
#9 Surround yourself with florally-scented things
A study from Rutgers University found that when comparing two groups, those surrounded by floral-scented things were three times more likely to use happy words when describing live events, as opposed to those hanging out in rooms with classic fragrances like baby power, Chanel no. 5 or even non-scented air. So stop and smell the roses, people – it’s healthier if you do.
#10 Find that happy song and sing along
Ever wondered if there’s truth to the whole ‘listening to happy music makes you happy’ manifesto? Well, according to a study from the University of Missouri, there’s a direct link between listening to upbeat and happy music and a rise in a positive mood. Listening to happy music gives you a rush of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine to the frontal striatum (the region of the brain associated with anticipating rewards). It also results in a rush of dopamine to the rear striatum, the brain’s pleasure centre.
If that’s not motivation enough to turn on that happy tune, I don’t know what is. So let’s dance, guys.
Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer, editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker and celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.