Not everything makes everyone happy and the level of happiness differs as well. It is a relative concept and it may mean different to each of us.
However, many people agree that being around the loved ones and pursuing our passions makes us happy. What we fail to realize is that there are many other factors which influence how we feel and we don’t even know about them.
Here are 9 of those startling things which affect our mood.
1. The weather
It is considered that people who live in temperate climates are more cheerful. On the other hand, International Journal of Biometeorology recently published a research which concluded that health threat of cold days is greater and more serious.
If you haven’t heard about mood disorders just yet, you will be surprised to know that you can experience them if the weather is cold. SAD or Seasonal Affective disorder, otherwise known as Winter Depression, is marked by less energy, lack of focus, fatigue, greater appetite, greater need for sleep, weight gain and increased desire to be alone.
Similarly, if you are living in an area which is prone to flooding, tsunami, hurricanes, tornadoes and heavy rains, you are more likely to experience physical, emotional and mental stress. According to the 2011 National Wildlife Federation report, global warming can cause significant psychological, emotional and public mental health implications in the US.
Another study concluded that sunlight, wind and temperature have an impact on the negative mood. So, if there’s lesser sunlight and more wind, you will feel worse.
There is another study relating our emotions with the weather: suicides are common in the late spring and early summer months. It poses that sunshine and higher temperatures may account for suicidal thoughts and higher suicide rates.
Ever heard about the concept of flower power? Well, research has concluded that smelling a flower improves our emotional condition.
According to the director of the Emotions Laboratory at Rutgers University, Jeannette Haviland-Jones, flowers have established miniature chemical factories which decrease anxiety and enhance our mood.
In one of their flower studies, they found out that women who were given flowers as gift genuinely smiled. And the smile has been positively linked with emotions. On the other hand, women who were gifted candles did not smile the “Duchenne Smile.”
Another of their flower studies revealed that more flowers an adult received, happier they were. Moreover, subjects who received flowers performed better on the memory test than the ones who did not receive any flowers.
3. Listening to upbeat music
If you intend to become happier and listen to positive music with this intention, a study has shown that it will improve your happiness. Here, participants listened to 12-minutes of music and reported feeling happier.
If the music has a fast tempo, major keys and harmonious structure, listening to music daily can be beneficial for us.
4. Your age
Interestingly, a 2013 Harris Poll suggested that the older you are, happier you will be. People who are 50 are more likely to be very happy as compared to their younger counterparts.
In the Harris Happiness Index, Americans either agree or disagree with a list of statements, which are either negative or positive. If they strongly agree with all the positive statements, they are considered very happy.
5. Happiness is infectious
A recent study on happiness revealed that the more happy people you know, the happier you will be. Then, if you have more social connections, it will contribute to your level of happiness. Your chances of being happy increase by 15% if your friend is happy.
The researchers also asserted that happiness can have a crucial impact on reduced mortality, pain reduction and improved heart health. It tells us how we can encourage a healthy society.
When you cuddle with your pet, your body releases what is called a “feel-good hormone” – oxytocin. You end up feeling happy.
One of the studies showed a positive correlation between dog ownership and decreased risk of depression. It concluded that single people with a pet are less likely to get depressed.
Do you suffer from the Monday blues? Oh well, seems like it is scientifically true, as a study concluded that happiness escalates on weekends and significantly drops at the beginning of the work week. During the weekends, there are more positive emotions and less negative ones, such as anger and sadness. Experts found out that emotional well-being rises by 15% on weekends.
Even the unemployed get a 75% increase in happiness on weekends.
You must have heard how people suggest exercising whenever you are in a bad mood. According to a research, you can be happy if you exercise for only 20 minutes. When you exercise, neurons which de-stress you are activated and thus making you feel better. Physical activity can elevate your mood which can last up to 12 hours.
Another study concluded that almost 40% of our happiness is within our control. So, after all, it is you who determines if you will be happy or not!