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Tips to Improve Happiness

Tips to Improve Happiness

Perhaps it is not a surprise that a new study on perceived happiness shows that many college students are stressed out and aren’t coping.

Many would agree that a study of the American population at-large would result in a similar finding.

Although the difficulties in managing stress are ongoing, a University of Cincinnati professor believes there are numerous, low-cost options that can help improve happiness.

“We have a whole array of different stress-management techniques college students can use and that we teach, but they’re not using them. That contributes to their stress levels, which contributes to their unhappiness,” King says.

The research, “A Study of Stress, Social Support, and Perceived Happiness Among College Students,” was recently published online in the Journal of Happiness & Well-Being.

King says many simple and effective techniques exist for managing stress. He suggests a few immediate and long-term methods for soothing frayed nerves.

IMMEDIATE ACTIONS

  • Stop, pause, and breathe: “In the moment when you’re stressed, you need to slow down, you pause, you take some deep breaths. Maybe you count backwards from 10. Those types of things calm everything down and slow it down.”
  • See the bigger picture: “Try to see the bigger picture. Is what you’re experiencing really that big of a deal or not?”
  • Contact a friend: “Everyone has phones on them. Call your buddy and let him know what’s going on so you can express those feelings and get them off you as quickly as possible.”

LONG-TERM ACTIONS

  • Diet and exercise: “People who eat healthy and exercise tend to have lower stress levels. Exercise allows for some of that negative energy to get burned off. Eating healthy helps individuals avoid feeling weighted down.”
  • Daily “me time”: “Take time out of the day that’s your time. It could be just 10 minutes. Go outside and walk, just enjoy something for you. If you hate exercising, then do something you enjoy. That’s paramount.”
  • Remember to H.A.L.T.: “Make sure you’re not Hungry, you’re not Angry, you’re not Lonely, and you’re not Tired. If you can take care of those four things, you’re significantly more likely to be unstressed.”

King and researchers based their study on an anonymous, voluntary survey taken by 498 students assessing their overall happiness and stress level.

Results showed that students who reported low perceived happiness felt higher stress levels and lower emotional closeness to others.

Many reported they felt stressed but weren’t doing anything about it. 61 percent reported having high stress and 72 percent reported low frequency in using stress-management techniques.

King notes that people tend to over-complicate their lives and to ignore the potential benefit a five-minute walk outside or a quick water break could have on their emotional state.

“Just because these techniques are simple,” he says, “doesn’t mean they are ineffective.”

“It’s not rocket science, but the reality of it is a lot of people aren’t doing the positive to get happy.

“People don’t really know or they think some of the basics to happiness that we suggest are too fluffy. They’re not. They’re research-supported. Do these things and you’ll feel happier,” King says.

It’s something he says everyone could benefit from. Although the study is directed toward college students, findings are generalizable to all people.

King recommends students takes this information and share it with their families — and vice versa.

Everyone should be aware that they can influence their happiness but to do so individuals need to focus on reducing their stress and get some social support and care.

Source: University of Cincinnati

Tips to Improve Happiness

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). Tips to Improve Happiness. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/08/01/tips-to-improve-happiness/73105.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 28 Apr 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Apr 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.