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The Importance of Joy

April 17th, 2022

Research has shown that being happy strengthens our immune system, reduces stress and even improves our chance of living a longer life. Socially, laughter can break down barriers and make it easier to meet and communicate with people. Here are some ideas to help you move towards a happier life with more laughter:

1. Enjoy yourself

Doing things that you enjoy is good for your emotional wellbeing. Simple activities like watching sports with a friend, having a soak in the bath or meeting up with friends for coffee can all improve your day.

Doing something you are good at, such as cooking or painting, is also a good way to enjoy yourself and have a sense of achievement.

Try to avoid things that seem enjoyable at the time but make you feel worse afterwards, such as drinking too much alcohol or eating junk food.

2. Exercise

Do you know regular exercise can help to reduce stress, feelings of anxiety and depression while boosting self-esteem and happiness?

Even a small amount of physical activities can make a difference, you don’t have to run a marathon, unless that’s what makes you happy, of course.

Consider these exercise to start with if you have not done physical activities for a while:

- Take a walk around the block every night after dinner

- Sign up for a beginner’s class in yoga or tai chi

- Start your day with 5 minutes of stretching

Remind yourself of any fun activities you once enjoyed, or go for the activities you always wanted to try but never did, such as golf, bowling or dancing.

3. Get plenty of sleep

Having adequate sleep helps our body recover from the day and repair itself. It turns out sleep is also important for happiness. You probably know and have experienced that sleep affects mood – after a sleepless night, you may be more irritable, short-tempered, and vulnerable to stress. Once you sleep well, your mood often returns to normal. Around 7 to 8 hours is the average amount of sleep an adult needs for their body and mind to fully rest. Here are a few tips to help you build a better sleep routine:

- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends

- Ditch your phone/iPad/laptop at least two hour before bed, read or do something relaxing instead

- Avoid heavy eating and drink before sleep

- Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet

- Invest in some good bedding

If you consistently have problems sleeping, talk to your doctor. You may have a sleep disorder requiring treatment.

4. Get for a nature walk

If living in a big city has you feeling a bit down, there's good news: A brief walk in nature could be all it takes to chase away those negative thoughts.

5. Smile

Yes, it is as simple as that! Happiness makes us smile, but we can also reverse that – Smiling can trick your brain into believing you are happy, which can then spur actual feelings of happiness. So the next time you’re feeling like a pick-me-up, try busting out a toothy grin and it could give you the lift you’re looking for. And if you’re already in a good mood, why not flash those pearly whites at a stranger and pass along the good vibes?

Finding joy could be challenging especially when there are so many negatives in the news - COVID-19 and social unrest have definitely taken over our joy over the past years. But let us not forget how to laugh because having positive emotions have a significant impact on our physical health.

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