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Increasing Your Level of Happiness & the Science Behind It

Posted by Dev Sethi | Apr 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

The study of happiness and what induces it in the human body has become a hot topic in modern science. In the most recent issue of Arizona Alumni Magazine, Eric Van Meter wrote a great article, "The Pursuit of Happiness: Well-being and the science of smiles," which explores some of the University of Arizona's own scientists' findings. In a nutshell, here is what they found helps an individual increase their level of happiness.

1. Natural places

Studies show that placing yourself in a natural environment will calm your body and reduce stress. Walking your dog in the wash without your cell phone or sitting in a forest and simply listening to its sounds helps with meditation, calm reflection and breathing. Can't get out of the office? Studies also show that surrounding yourself with photos of nature, opening a window, keeping your office well lit, quiet, smelling good and open can also help mimic the body's calm response to being in a natural environment. Taking a quick break and using the site calm.com to meditate is also a great idea.

2. Deep breathing

Constantly dwelling on dark thoughts actually releases chemicals from the brain that, if released continuously, physically breaks down the body. This can lead to health complications and even disease. Breathing deeply into the stomach can actually activate a nerve that reduces the pulse in your heart, shuts down the "stress juice" and instead induces good thoughts from the brain. Yoga, meditation, exercise and healthy eating habits also physically activate positive parts of the body that stimulate happiness.

3. Overcome four million years of natural selection

Our ancestors lived in a very dangerous world where one simple mistake could lead to death. For this reason, the modern human inherited her ancestors' hostile, paranoid, guarded and anxious emotions. Though easier said than done, scientists suggest attempting to see the world as one of opportunity instead of threat. Don't sort people into friends, enemies and nobodies, but as one universal body of people sharing one common goal. Don't sweat the small, everyday stressors; if someone cuts you off in traffic, realize he is just trying to get home like you are and that everything will be ok.

By "taking it easy," you are not constantly activating your stress system because the body is not perceiving itself as being in constant danger.

4. Compassion

By trying to overcome your built in emotions of fear, not worrying about the small things and putting those you like, those you don't like and those you don't even know in the same body of people sharing a common goal of happiness and opportunity, you open the way to being more compassionate and helping everybody instead of a select few. As the scientists in the article found, "People with greater compassion are happier. They're not as depressed, they don't get as sick and they live a lot longer.

By Matt Schmidt

About the Author

Dev Sethi

Dev Sethi litigates and tries a wide-range of complex injury and death cases throughout Arizona. He has Martindale Hubbell's highest rating, AV, and he is listed in "Best Lawyers." Dev is also recognized as an Arizona Super Lawyer in the area of plaintiff's products liability litigation.Dev has been at the forefront of auto product defect litigation. He played a key role in uncovering the Goodyear Load Range E tire scandal and worked to hold Ford Motor Company responsible for the danger posed by their now notorious 15-passenger vans. Dev is currently representing families in product liability suits against the nation's largest corporations including General Motors, Ford, Pentair Pools and Invacare.

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