Since 2013 the United Nations celebrate this day. The relevance of happiness is being recognised and we are called to make well-being our goal to live by. This resolution was inspired by Bhutan, a small country which chooses the value of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s. This country famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product.
What is Happiness?
Overly simplified, when we feel joyful or happy, our brains release dopamine and serotonin, two types of neurotransmitters. Both of these chemicals are associated with the state of feeling happy. People with clinical depression for example, often have lower levels of serotonin.
Can happiness be measured?
The American professor Ed Diener (also knowns as Dr Happiness) is one of the lead researchers in a field of study called “Subjective Well-being” or SWB. For more than 30 years he and his colleagues are looking into Happiness from a scientific point of view. Their research determines which factors make humans happy and how external influences play a role in that. The evaluation of happiness is looked at in two ways, our emotional reactions to situations and circumstances, as well as judging life events cognitively.
Some factors which affect our SWB or degree of happiness are:
- our personality, our level of consciousness and how we choose to look at the things happening to and around us (is your glass half full or half empty?)
- strong social connections such as with our families and circles of friends
- our level of wealth both through our earnings as well as the wealth of the country we live in
- our health, how healthy you perceive to be
Are some countries ‘happier’ than others?
Since 2012 the United Nations publishes the “World Happiness Report”. The report includes life satisfaction rankings in different countries around the world and respective data analysis. In 2020 the countries with the happiest people were Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway.
How to boost your happiness
Here are the FAB-team’s top five recommendations to boost your level of happiness.
- SMILE! When we smile little chemical messages are released into our nervous system, communicating to our brain that we are ‘happy’. This communication prompts the brain to produce and release dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. And just like yawning, smiling is contagious as well. Lets spread happiness!
- Eat and smell clementines! A 2005 study in the journal of chemical senses discovered that participants felt an immediate onset of happiness upon smelling the citrusy aroma of clementines.
- Surround yourself with things of a positive nature! Read good-news articles for example. Every day wonderful things happen across the globe and they are worth being acknowledged. Watch your favourite comedy, laugh with your friends and do not hold back your laughter. Let it come out as loud as it wants to.
- make sure to take naps frequently! Being well-rested is a none negotiable factor in regards to happiness.
- wear clothes that YOU like, the clothes where you feel the most authentic rather than clothes you feel you need to wear to portray a certain image.
How happy do you feel? What are your go-to techniques that get you out of a funk? Let us know in the comment section. Sharing is caring, together we can make the world a happier place!