What is happiness?
Happiness is a funny thing, we all know what it is, but it’s hard to define, and it’s hard to measure. When you ask someone what they want for themselves or for their loved ones as their ultimate goal in life, many people would say –‘To be happy’ or maybe ‘To be happy and healthy’.
Everyone can name something that makes them happy, it might be spending time with friends and family, lying on the beach, sunshine, sunsets, travelling, gardening, reading a good book, listening to music, going for a run, surfing, snowboarding – the options are limitless. But when it comes down to the core necessities for happiness, surveys have indicated that three of the most important contributors to Australian’s happiness include the following.
1. Financial security
Money doesn’t buy happiness, but a lack of it or stressing about it can be detrimental to happiness. Interestingly happiness tends to increase up to about $100,000 a year, where it pleateaus. The difference in happiness between making $10,000 and $100,000 a year is huge. But the difference between making $100,000 and $10 million a year is negligible.
2. A sense of purpose in life
People are the happiest when they are active, and when they have a sense of purpose. Volunteers are amongst the happiest people.
3. Good personal relationships
Being part of an intimate relationship is the most vital component of wellbeing. Pets are no substitute for human beings.
Exercise and happiness
Apart from these three big contributing factors, regular exercise is a key component in maintaining happiness and good health. The following are just some of the many ways that participating in regular exercise can increase happiness.
- Overcoming physical limitations or seeing progress boosts self-confidence and self-appreciation
- Making a schedule to include exercise in your life gives you structure and helps develop an understanding of commitment to something meaningful.
- It takes you away from your worries while you focus on the task at hand, whether it be running, swimming or resistance training – there is no time to stress about anything other that exactly what you’re doing.
- Exercise increases your ability to concentrate and mental sharpness, and helps prevent the natural age-related decline in brain function.
- Exercise increases energy levels and boosts productivity
- Staying active increases your creativity and problem solving skills, which is strongly linked to well-being.
- Being active uplifts your mood and releases ‘happy hormones’.
- Exercise increases your appetite, which helps with enjoyment of food, and helps you make better food choices.
- Activity helps you feel young
- Exercise increases libido, and having a healthy sex life is linked to lower stress levels and increased satisfaction.
- Physical activity reduces feelings of stress, anxiety and depression
So what are you waiting for? Get up, get active and get happy!