Eight things that will always keep you happy ( Number 1 will stun you)

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We all know that when it comes to happiness, your habits matter. While studies have shown that a significant portion of happiness is linked to genetics, about 40 per cent comes directly from the daily rituals that you choose to engage in.

An economist and sociologist, Dr. Randall Bell, itemises what to do to be happy on a daily basis:

• Eat dinner as a family: Sitting down to eat as a family can seem almost impossible in busy households, but Dr. Bell insists that it is worth making the effort. When you spend time with other people, especially those you love, you feel better about yourself; otherwise, you may develop internal stress and anxiety, Bell says.

• Exercise: Experts say the happiest people make time for daily exercise, even if it is just a simple 20-minute walk. Dr. Bell says when you exercise, your brain secretes chemicals known as endorphins into your bloodstreams, and those chemicals flow through your body and simply make you feel good.

• Dance: Dancing carries the endorphin rush of exercise with the added bonus of fostering interpersonal relationships. So, you can just freestyle moves on your own and feel the happiness rush through you.

• Avoid road rage: Traffic jams and poor driving can send blood pressure rising, but staying calm behind the wheel is an easy way to feel happier. Put your energy into positive things, instead of yelling at fellow drivers or in inanimate objects.

• Don’t gossip: It can be tempting to whisper about your colleague’s new relationship or share your friend’s secret, but toning down the gossip could leave you feeling happier. So, next time the impulse to gossip strikes, say something positive instead. Dr Bell says those who decide to say something pleasant attract like-minded people into their lives. And being around pleasant people makes us happier.’

• Organise your desk: In a fast-paced work environment it can be easy for your desk to become cluttered and messy, but it pays to keep it neat, according to Dr. Bell. He says getting organised at work can make you three times more likely to be happy.

• Wave to your neighbours: People who walk past their neighbours without giving them a friendly wave are much more likely to be unhappy, Dr. Bell believes. When you wave at neighbours, you usually cheer that person up and they wave back — that’s a double win.’

• Meditate/pray: Those who meditate or pray daily are 50 per cent more likely to be happy than those who do not, Dr. Bell’s research reveals. When you are in an active or conscious state, your brain waves are “beta” waves. When you spend solitary time, your brains switch to “alpha” waves, and this is where bursts of creative energy come from. Both beta and alpha waves are important, but if we crowd out alpha waves, we lose our creative energy.

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