Here’s Some Things That Might Fill Up Your Happiness Tank
I read a great article in the newspaper the other day about happiness.
Happiness isn’t a topic you’d typically find in a fitness blog, but when a new prospect reaches out to us, it is usually motivated by something that they are not happy about:
- How much they weigh
- How they look in a mirror
- How their jeans are fitting
- How they feel (and how they used to feel)
So while fitness is truly our focus at 614Fitness, it seems happiness is (or should be) high on the list.
And research proves it:
Exercise increases happiness and wellbeing, and it reduces depression and anxiety.
According to a study by that University “up north”(1) more exercise leads to more happiness, but even small bouts of exercise have positive benefits. Exercise has also been proven to have positive effects at all ages. For example, a study by West Virginia University found exercise led to happiness for middle school students and the University of Iowa found motivation was increased for seniors—and their cognitive function and memory were also improved with exercise.
Exercise is also related to happiness because it is an experience, rather than an item to own. According to a study by the University of Texas, when people invest in experiences, they are significantly happier than when they purchase things.
Engaging in fitness activities provides for richer, deeper experiences which are typically both challenging and rewarding.
As my dad once told me (and I believe it is true):
“The secret to happiness is not to have everything you want, but to want everything you have.”
So here is a great article from the Columbus Dispatch (USA Today) by psycho-therapist Sara Kuburic that I just had to share it with you.
Please read and enjoy!
The key to happiness, explained by Sara Kuburic (2)
Most of us want to be happy, but how? I wish there was a magic spell or an easy solution that would ensure happiness, but there isn’t. Part of the problem lies in the way we define happiness. Instead of defining happiness as a feeling of contentment, many of us confuse happiness with a permanently elevated mood (excitement, joy) or even an endless supply of positivity. This is an unrealistic expectation; with such a definition, everyone will struggle to be “happy.”
But being happy is not about having an attitude adjustment or forcing positive emotions while suppressing, ignoring or avoiding negative ones. Rather, it’s about directing our energy and choosing an approach to our existence that can offer us a sense of fulfillment. Happiness is not stumbled upon, but rather built. It comes from being self-aware, taking responsibility, making decisions, doing something meaningful, and connecting with ourselves and others.
Many of us try to find people or things that will make us happy – we try to outsource the task. As a result, we often feel disappointed or upset when a relationship or a new job doesn’t move the needle from dissatisfied to satisfied with our overall existence. But no “thing” or person can make us happy. Happiness is an inside job.
We can’t decide to feel happy, but we can make decisions that make us happy. Happiness is a reflection of how we choose to live our life. It is not a single event but rather an outcome of all our decisions – big or small.
It would be really difficult to find happiness without any meaning. Meaning, shortly, is a recognition that we and our life hold value and purpose. Doing something meaningful every day can often lead to a sense of happiness. However, it’s important not to confuse meaning and productivity. It’s not about being productive every day – it’s about doing something that holds value for you. This can be as simple as having a cup of tea or a conversation, resting, helping someone or learning something new – the list is endless. It’s not about “doing more,” it’s about doing what truly resonates with who you are.
The trick to happiness is self-awareness. It’s hard to give yourself what you need or want without being aware of what that is. And, if we are not attuned to ourselves, we may even experience joy, excitement, and contentment without fully taking a moment to embrace it (or enjoy it).
Practical tips for finding happiness
Be helpful: Humans tend to feel happy when they feel useful or find their work meaningful.
Examples: Help your grandma go grocery shopping, volunteer at a dog shelter or ask to be put on projects at work that you believe will create genuine impact.
Be present: We are often robbed of our happiness by focusing on the past (which we cannot change) or our future (which we cannot control).
Set a goal: People find it very difficult to be happy if they feel directionless. Having something to work toward, a purpose, can be very helpful – even if the goal is to drink a couple of glasses of water and stretch each day.
Practice gratitude: Life is so hectic that it can be easy to ignore all the good that happens and solely focus on the bad (or the demands of everyday life). Finding moments to be grateful can help lead to happiness. This does not mean forcing gratitude, but simply acknowledging it when it comes.
Don’t stop celebrating: It’s important to allow yourself to celebrate the little moments and efforts, not just the big milestones. We can experience so much happiness in the little things if we just take the moment to appreciate them.
Practice acceptance: Accepting the things we cannot control or change is an important step in learning to be happy with our lives. If we constantly think things can or “should” be different, it will prevent us from being grateful for what is.
Protect your time and effort: Learn what to spend your time on, how to protect your energy and how to recharge. It’s difficult to be happy if we are constantly running on empty. This is where boundary setting comes in – if we set some boundaries, we may find happiness.
If you think fitness might be a habit that will help fill up your happiness tank, reach out. We’d love to have you sweat, laugh and get fit and happy with us!
Reach out: https://614fitness.com/jumpstart/ JumpStart your happiness and your fitness!
(1) University of Michigan School of Kinesiology
(2)The key to happiness, explained by Sara Kuburic
Sara Kuburic is a therapist who specializes in identity, relationships and moral trauma. Every week she shares her advice with our readers.