Humans of all social classes, age groups, and situations have one thing in common. We all want to be happy and take action in pursuit of happiness. But only sometimes, if ever, can we reach a place of happiness without understanding ourselves and our environment.
In his latest podcast, Andrew Huberman from the Huberman Lab covered happiness, ways to increase happiness, obstacles to happiness, and nuances in our idea of happiness comprehensively. Huberman took all this information from cutting-edge research and scientific studies related to the same.
You can apply the following key insights or takeaways from this episode to your life.
Insight #1 How To Sleep Better?
Many of us are exposed to brighter lights at night and dimmer lights during the day, while it should be the opposite. Getting light directly from the sun during sunset hours can also improve the sensitivity of nerve cells in your eyes, reducing the strain caused by artificial lights. By reversing this tendency and keeping our surroundings brighter during the day, with dimmer lights in the evening, we can prevent issues like insomnia, irregular dopamine levels, etc.
Read more: Guided meditation to help you fall asleep in 2 minutes
Insight #2 Defining Happiness Is Not Easy
We cannot equate happiness to the word “happiness,” or the neurochemical levels present when a person feels “happy.” The feelings of happiness, unhappiness, or any aspect of different people’s daily experiences cannot be compared from person to person by objective criteria or measured accurately.
Insight #3 Money Cannot Buy Happiness, But It Can Reduce Stress
People’s happiness does not necessarily scale with income, but the amount of money and resources one has is vital to happiness. Money or resources can provide security, access to recreation, social interactions, and other experiences that can help one be happier and reduce stress.
However, work, a means of income or money, has a complicated relationship with happiness. Purposeful work is a source of meaning and satisfaction in many people’s lives. Work for livelihood, however, can also be stressful and time-consuming, leaving little time and energy for other activities that provide meaning and well-being.
Spending money on others, donating to a cause, and participating in social experiences contribute to the happiness of the spender. Personal spending, on the other hand, is not related to satisfaction.
Insight #4 We Have Greater Control Of Happiness Than We Think
You need to extend effort toward becoming happier. For one, adjusting your working conditions, home environment, and other places you spend a lot of time in can help you become happier. Listening to music, for instance, can enhance your auditory environment. The physical and social environment, along with your mental states, are predictors of happiness.
Improving your ability to focus, concentrate, or prevent the mind from wandering off, can also contribute significantly to happiness. And this holds even in cases where you do not enjoy the activity. Meditation and the ability to refocus practiced regularly can improve our ability to focus.
Insight #6 Social Connection Impacts Your Happiness
Whether shallow, deep, or superficial, social interactions play a role in our happiness. Eye contact, focusing in and out, being present, and seeing faces characterize good social connections. Touching other people or pets in simple or intimate ways can evoke a feeling of wellness, satisfaction, and bonding.
Read more: The importance of reaching out to others
Insight #7 Choices Make Us (Happy)
Finally, Huberman discusses the freedom of choice and ways to increase happiness available to people. While having the freedom to choose what we like is essential to happiness, having our options left open after making said choice hinders our satisfaction.
In a nutshell, many relationships, events, and environments determine various ways to increase happiness. However, rather than waiting to be happy in traditional and societal ways, we can create or design a lifestyle that provides satisfaction. Self-care is one way to maintain such positive feelings while dealing with various obligations or stress. To learn more about self-care and how to practice the same, click here.
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