Feeling content and happy is undoubtedly good for your health, and now experts reveal plenty of new ways to do just that.
It’s a Friday night, you’re sat on the sofa, cup of tea in hand, pet nearby, and if anyone asked how you were feeling your answer would be happy or content. But what, exactly, is it that makes you feel good? Chances are you’ve never really broken it down. Is it because you’re contentedly snuggled up on your sofa when it’s raining outside? Or because you’ve really been looking forward to this night in all week after a busy few days? Maybe you’re happy because you feel really proud of something you did today and have a warm fuzzy glow from it? So many different feelings can be behind the state of feeling good!
Scientists are calling this mix of feelings ‘emodiversity’ – and increasing your emodiversity is an excellent new way to achieve greater happiness and optimum health. There are 16 positive feelings that can help you do it. Here’s a selection of what they are – and some tips on how to cultivate them in your own life.
It’s not really surprising that finding something funny makes you feel good – here’s three ways to rev up your funny bone:
- Make sure you’re well rested: Your sense of humour isn’t as fine-tuned when you’re tired.
- Seek out humour: There’s never been more ways to laugh – podcasts, blogs, videos, memes of amusing animals – they’re all just a click away online.
- Find the funny side when things go wrong: There often is one, and seeking it out, even if you don’t feel it’s right to acknowledge it, helps you find a positive in situations that might otherwise have upset you or stressed you out.
How often when you do something well do you acknowledge it? And, how often do you minimise the part you played in things? ‘We’re conditioned as children not to display pride as it’s seen as boastful, but there’s a difference between pride and arrogance,’ says Kate. ‘If you find it hard to feel proud at what you do, focus on how what you did might help others. Looking at the bigger picture helps you recognise what you did well without feeling boastful, which naturally leads to a sense of happiness.’
This is classed as a positive feeling because being determined to solve problems and achieve your goals makes you feel good. But, if the word makes you think more of negative feelings such as stress, misery and doing things through gritted teeth, it might be time to reassess your goals or how you’re trying to achieve them, suggests David James Lees, therapist and co-founder of Wu Wei Wisdom (wuwei.wisdom.com). ‘You need a crystal-clear, focused idea about what you’d like to achieve, but the path or outcome that helps you achieve that also needs to be 100 per cent truthful to you – not done to satisfy others,’ he explains. ‘If you set your intention in this way, it’ll be easier to find determination that’s fuelled by boundless energy and passion.’