There is nothing better than the feeling of happiness. I joke that smiling is my favorite, but like Buddy in the movie Elf, I’m pretty serious about it! A good belly laugh with someone I care for is truly my spice of life, and there is plenty of science to prove it! Happiness has a positive effect on your health down to a cellular level, which has a myriad of amazing outcomes, including many positive anti-aging benefits. Now that I have the attention of my over 40 crowd, let’s learn 10 easy science-based happiness hacks that will keep you looking on the bright side even when the going gets tough.
As you know, a good night’s sleep is key to help you feel alert and refreshed in the morning and ready to take on a new day. When stressful situations arise you’ll be able to better handle them when you’re fully rested and alert. Sleep is essential for optimal health and is directly linked to your social interactions with family and friends. When you get a full night’s rest you’ll also be able to better control your emotions including feelings of happiness, encouragement, and hope.
Studies have shown that poor sleep habits can lead to increased inflammation and cause cell damage over time.  So it’s essential to not only schedule in a full 8 hours of sleep to keep you feeling healthy and strong for years to come, but to GET 8 hours of sleep. If you find you are struggling to get to sleep or stay asleep check out our sleep habits blog!
Exercise is one of the most important components of a well rounded and healthy life. There are so many health benefits with proper exercise, including reduced levels of adrenaline and cortisol which can lead to stress. Exercise also promotes your brain to release endorphins also known as the “feel good” chemical inside your brain.  This is often referred to as ‘runners high’, but you don’t have to run to achieve this chemical release. You may have noticed in the past when you’re having a rough day that a walk, weight training, or yoga class have helped you to feel better and have a positive outlook on the situation. So, it’s no surprise that getting more physical activity is a proven science-based happiness hack that actually works. 
You’ll also find a long-lasting positive impact on your brain that helps to prevent cognitive decline. Studies have shown that just 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week can have significant physical and mental health benefits that can help you live a long and healthy life. Even going on a walk every day shows improvements to your health and happiness. For more amazing exercise tips and benefits, check out R3Bilt’s anti-aging exercise blog!
When you spend quality time with family and friends you’ll be able to feel a sense of happiness and well-being. It’s an important part of life to share experiences and memories with those that you care about to give you a boost of energy and a sense of belonging that everyone craves. One tip that I wish I knew when I was younger, for social health, is to not feel bad about being choosy of who you spend your time with because data shows you become a compilation of the top 5 people you spend most of your time with. So surround yourself with great people! If you’re not able to spend in-person time with the people you care about the most right now, schedule weekly video chats, zoom date nights, or phone calls while you walk to help you feel connected even when you’re apart.
Spend Time Outside
Did you know that major research has shown that spending just 20 minutes outside will do wonders for your well-being?  This is especially true when the sun is shining and you’re able to soak in some much needed Vitamin D, get your feet in the sand for grounding, or surround yourself with nature and benefit from breathing clean air. No matter where you live, simply being outdoors has also been shown to lower stress, blood pressure, and heart rate, which is very important to allow a boost to your mood and mental health. It’s no wonder you see schools promoting children to play outside at recess, people walking outdoors when the weather allows, and depression rates lower in summer months up north. Spending time outside can have a powerful impact on your health and happiness, so get out for a walk today.
Have you ever been in a bad mood, but you then have a friend call in need of help and you forget your problems? There is ample research to show that doing things for others leads to lasting happiness and personal growth.  When you take time to give it activities the same part of our brain is stimulated by food and sex. Whether you volunteer at a local organization, donate to a cause you’re passionate about, or simply use your time and skills to serve your loved ones, it’ll lead you to happiness. Plus I’m a firm believer that you always get back 10-fold, the happiness that you give:)
It hasn’t taken me my 40-something years and multiple science and health degrees to figure out that attitude is EVERYTHING, but it has taken me this long (and COVID) to consistently practice gratitude daily. Even in bleak times like these, there is always something to be grateful for. Science shows that if you improve your focus on the positive, even in the face of difficult challenges or circumstances, your stress markers reduce, helping you feel positive emotion, more control, and a chain of other positive benefits on your health.  Try thinking of 3 things you are grateful for as soon as you wake up each morning, and start your day in a happy and healthy state.
Even just five minutes a day to clear your head can have a significant impact on your overall happiness. I had (and still sometimes have) such a difficult time committing to meditation in my younger years, but in my true science-nerd fashion, it took me stumbling on the plethora of clinical studies showing how healthful shutting the brain actually was for overall health! Although there are hundreds of health benefits of meditation, a notable one is that it activates neuroplasticity (you can actually grow NEW brain synapses at any age!) and allows you to become more self-aware while reducing high levels of stress.  It gives you a moment in a hectic day to release your perceived stress, anger, and frustrations so you can reset your thoughts and spend your energy focused on the positive aspects of your life. Don’t worry…be happy!
Eat Leafy Greens
As a nutritionist, you will always see me cramming more veggies into the meals I make for my family for overall health, but did you know that leafy greens like spinach and kale are rich in folate which has been shown to help decrease depression and a negative mood by helping to produce dopamine. Many people even have genetic deficiencies in this country, like MTHFR that make folate (the actively used form of synthetic folic acid) even more imperative for mental health. Leafy greens have so many nutritional benefits, including energy, fiber, and digestion, and when your gut feels good you’ll be happier. 
My favorite! It sounds overwhelming if it’s a new word to you, but incorporating science and biology to optimize your own bio-individual health and promote anti-aging benefits is far from new.  Simple bio-hacks can also help decrease your risk of disease, lower your blood pressure, and achieve optimal health which will lead to greater happiness. A few simple bio-hacks include eating a well-balanced diet by day but fasting for a 12-hour window overnight, getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep starting at 10 pm at the latest, adding a natural supplement to your diet to allow your body to work more efficiently, and incorporating red light therapy into your routine for long-term health.
Take time out of your day to write in your journal, stretch, breathe, reflect on your life’s journey, and give yourself some much-needed pampering with a nice long Epsom salt bath or massage. The first step to happiness is self-acceptance and learning to love yourself for who you are. By taking the time to care for yourself you’ll be able to put the best foot forward for the rest of your world.
Happiness is the key to a well-lived, healthy life. By taking the time to practice a few of these science-based happiness hacks daily, you’ll find yourself enjoying your day to day routine and responsibilities much more. There are so many easy things that will dramatically change your health and happiness, and I’m so excited to kick this blog off to help every one of you find an avenue to consistently wake up each day a healthier and happier version of you!
Thorne Supplements Can Help!
Our bodies rarely acquire all the vitamins and minerals that we need to stay healthy and strong due to diet and lifestyle. This, unfortunately, can cause sickness or dysfunction over time. Thankfully reputable supplements are a good option to make sure you’re getting all the right amounts of nutrients that you need. Because you should only put third-party tested, clean ingredients in your body, I am picky about my vitamin sources, but Thorne is one of my trusted sources. They offer natural, clean, safe, and high-quality supplements to give you confidence that you’re taking the best care of your body.
I use many of their products and love them so much! I want to make sure you have access to making good/clean supplement choices too! I’ve been able to negotiate savings for you to help you on your health journey. My readers can use this link for 15% off every purchase so you can feel better about purchasing directly from the manufacturer, ensuring quality, and get started living a healthier life today! Comment below with any questions, I’m always happy to help!
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 Hopper, E. (n.d.). Can Helping Others Help You Find Meaning in Life? Retrieved June 02, 2020, from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/can_helping_others_help_you_find_meaning_in_life
 Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). Giving thanks can make you happier. Retrieved June 02, 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier
 Quora. (2017, May 15). The Effects Of Meditation On The Brain. Retrieved June 02, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/05/15/the-effects-of-meditation-on-the-brain/
 Nasline, S. (2019, May 14). Munch your way to happiness: Eat leafy greens, nuts & lean meat. Retrieved June 02, 2020, from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/munch-your-way-to-happiness-eat-leafy-greens-nuts-lean-meat/articleshow/69317730.cms
 Hemme, P. (2019, August 27). My Complete Guide to Biohacking - How I Became Happier and Skyrocketed my Productivity. Retrieved June 02, 2020, from https://philiphemme.com/my-complete-guide-to-biohacking-how-i-became-happier-healthier-and-skyrocketed-my-productivity-fb00e37f7e41?gi=1f4cff77110