The world is a sadder place this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but here in Canada it appears we are feeling the blues more than others. That is according to the 2021 World Happiness Report from the United Nations which was released last month.
Finland remained the happiest country in the world, Zimbabwe was at the bottom of the list, and Canada fell out of the top 10 in the annual World Happiness Index. Results are based on data looking at income, freedom, trust in government, life expectancy, social support, and generosity.
Of course, happiness looks different for everyone. Regardless of what happiness means to you, living a happier, more satisfied life is within reach. Here are some habits to support a happier life:
Smile: You tend to smile when you are happy. But it is actually a two-way street. We smile because we are happy, and smiling causes the brain to release dopamine, which makes us happier.
Exercise: Exercise is not just for your body. Regular exercise can help to reduce stress, feelings of anxiety, and symptoms of depression while boosting self-esteem and happiness.
Sleep: Gets lot of rest. Most adults need about 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night. If you find yourself fighting the urge to nap during the day or just generally feel like you are in a fog, your body may be telling you it needs more rest.
Be grateful: Simply being grateful can give your mood a big boost, among other benefits. For example, a recent two-part study found that practicing gratitude can have a significant impact on feelings of hope and happiness.
Give a compliment: Giving a sincere compliment is a quick, easy way to brighten someone’s day while giving your own happiness a boost.
Breathe deeply: You are tense, your shoulders are tight, and you feel as though you just might “lose it.” According to Harvard Health, deep breathing exercises can help.
Acknowledge the unhappy moments: Acknowledge the feeling of unhappiness, letting yourself experience it for a moment. Then, shift your focus toward what made you feel this way and what it might take to recover.
Ditch your phone: Unplug. Really. Turn off all the electronics and put those ear buds away for at least one hour once a week. They will still be there for you later. If you still want them, that is.
Get into nature: Your green space could be anything from your neighborhood park, your own backyard, or a rooftop garden — anywhere you can appreciate some nature and fresh air.
Explore meditation: Meditation does not have to be complicated. It can be as simple as sitting quietly with your own thoughts for 5 minutes. Even the deep breathing exercises mentioned earlier can serve as a form of meditation.
Let go of grudges: This is often easier said than done. But you do not have to do it for the other person. Sometimes, offering forgiveness or dropping a grudge is more about self-care than compassion for others.
At the end of the day, sometimes we have to fake it until we make it! So, c’mon get happy. If you want to read the March 2021 report – you can download it here.