Many of the things listed as contributing to making people happy come as no surprise to me as I wrote in my previous article click here to read. However there are things connected to happiness that do surprise me.
What are some of the things that are connected to a higher likelihood of being happy that surprised me?
Sleeping on the left side of the bed
Research has found people who sleep on the left side of the bed are more likely to be happy than those that sleep on the right. A study involving 3,000 people found those who sleep on the left are more likely to be cheerful, positive and better able to handle heavy workloads.
Drinking plenty of water
People need to drink enough water to keep their body hydrated. Sufficient hydration has an impact on mental health and mood as well as physical health.
Eating two brazil nuts a day Brazil nuts contain selenium which helps make you happy. An alternative is to eat a small bag of nuts and raisins regularly.
Eat more fruit and vegetables People who include more fruit and vegetables in their diet are said to be happier. A study by the University of Queensland found the optimal amount is five serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables daily to result in the highest level of happiness. Any more than this did not increase the level of happiness.
Being older Studies have shown as people get older they are likely to feel a higher level of happiness. Several reasons for this have been suggested. One thought is that older people are better able to identify the things that affect their mood.
There are chemicals found only in the brain of an older person that make one feel stable and happy. In addition, neurons in the older brain react less to negative sights and sounds.
Previously I had read depression is under-diagnosed in older people. The signs may be ignored or considered to be expected due to the age of the person. Therefore I was surprised to read many older people are happier than when they were younger.
Listen to sad songs/music I thought upbeat happy music would lift the spirits but not sad music.
Research from the University of Kent and University of Limerick suggests sad music which is ‘a work of ethereal beauty’ can make the listener happy. Examples are the music of a talented jazz player or a symphony. The listener will focus on the beauty and concentrate on the music which can help lift their mood. Lyrics which are sad but of the type the listener can relate to can also make someone happier. This is because they feel less alone in their emotions.
Watch a tear-jerker movie Crying can make you feel better as it lowers your stress level. It also lowers your manganese level. Manganese can cause negative emotions such as anxiety, irritability and sadness so if that level is lowered you will feel happier.
There are things which may make people feel happier which one wouldn’t think of. Some of them are not so surprising when the reasons are explained. However, why do people who sleep on the left side of the bed tend to be happier?