Pursuit of happiness (from the Plymouth Herald)

Happiness is not a destination, it is an ongoing pursuit which means there are things that you can do along life’s journey. Here is a list of things to do to boost your mood:

CRANK UP THE MUSIC

We don’t need scientific proof to convince us of the inspiring powers of  music but, in case you’re wondering, scientific proof does exist – and lots of  it. Early  summer, a study by the University of Missouri in the US found that  listening to uplifting music boosted mood.

So put on some feel-good music, turn off the TV, forget about everything  else, and really absorb it – then feel the tension ease away and your spirits  lift.

GO FOR A WALK

It’s free, you can do it anywhere, and it can be as strenuous or relaxing as  you want it to be – the benefits of a good stroll are certainly endless.

As well as the health benefits and feel-good hormones released from being  active, being outdoors and surrounded by nature brings an added boost.

CATCH UP WITH A FRIEND

When it comes to feeling happy, studies have found that people who regularly  have a coffee, for instance, with a close friend are happier than those who  focus more on ‘bigger’ rewards, like expensive holidays.

Indeed, little regular boosts can be more beneficial than skipping the small  pleasures to save up for that  TV or shiny car.

WRITE A LETTER

With email and mobile phones, instant communication has  become so easy, but it lacks the meaning of an old-fashioned letter. Sitting  down to write enables you to focus your thoughts and reflect on what’s going on  in your world – and there’s the pleasure of knowing you’ll be making the lucky  recipient’s day too.

WEAR BRIGHTS

Have you ever stopped to wonder why going for a stroll on a bright summer’s  day, when all the flowers are in bloom, really lifts the spirits? While stepping  out on a gloomy, grey day has the opposite effect? Our moods respond to  brightness and colour, and this is something fashion stylists have been using to  their advantage for years. So for an instant mood-booster, throw on some  colour.

BROWSE OLD PHOTOS

Whether it’s a wedding or a holiday when the children were young, why not  dust off those old photo albums and indulge in the memories? A healthy dose of  nostalgia can be comforting and reviving.

REACH FOR THE TROWEL

Earlier this year, a survey by Gardeners’ World magazine revealed that 90% of  gardeners believe their hobby boosts their mood. People who regularly gardened  were less likely to report feeling unhappy or depressed, too.

You don’t have to be an expert – pottering around outdoors can be relaxing  and rewarding and seeing the fruits of your labour brings great fulfilment.

DO A GOOD DEED

Don’t worry if you don’t have time to volunteer for a charity or much money  to spare – small acts of kindness, like offering to pick up a neighbour’s  groceries, donating biscuits to a care home, or picking up the phone to ask a  relative how they are doing all make a big difference.

PICK UP A BOOK

A good book can stay with your for years and in the short term, reading can  have happiness-boosting powers too. As one benefit, it requires you to find  peace and quiet and switch off from ‘normal’ life, and this in itself is  relaxing and stress-relieving.

GET BAKING

Baking has enjoyed a revival in recent years, with the success of shows like  The Great British Bake Off, and no wonder – it’s one of life’s real simple  pleasures. Keen bakers rave about the therapeutic qualities of retreating to the  kitchen for a few hours.  Don’t get hung up on whether your brownies or cakes  are perfect. Just make sure you have fun trying.

Read more: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Pursuit-happiness/story-20056545-detail/story.html#ixzz2kFK2KSFo

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