One of the teen girls I am working with and I have focused a lot on the topic of happiness recently. How do you foster it? How can you become more happy over time? What tools can you use that will build resilience and help reduce stress?
This article gives 4 great tools, backed by neuroscience, to help foster happiness.
To sum it up:
"Here’s what brain research says will make you happy:
[1.] Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.
[2.] Label those negative emotions. Give it a name and your brain isn’t so bothered by it.
[3.] Decide. Go for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
[4.] Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch."
One of the main tools I found works for me as well as my client is the practice of gratitude. When we can focus on the things we are grateful for rather than the things that are stressing us out, the world seems more manageable and we find more happiness. That's why I make a list of things I am grateful for every day.
I've also used the other tools and felt their impact. By just noticing that I am sad, angry, or overwhelmed, and how that feels in my body, I immediately begin to come back to the present moment and calm down.
Moreover, as I write this post right now, I notice my perfectionism creeping in, telling me that I need to say the perfect thing, write the perfect response, etc. And therefore my stress rises. But like my own coach once told me, "Done is better than perfect." Making decisions and taking action (rather than worrying about it) immediately lifts the weight from my mind and I feel lighter and happier.
Finally, in a day and age in which T.R.E.A.M. (technology rules everything around me), the need for human touch often goes unnoticed. A kind text can help but a hug is even better. "A hug, especially a long one, releases a neurotransmitter and hormone oxytocin, which reduces the reactivity of the amygdala." Basically, when you hug someone, that place of "fight or flight" and core emotions like anger and sadness doesn't react as much. Aka you feel less angry or sad, and you feel happier.
Some other things not mentioned in the article that help make me happy- yoga, acknowledging others, writing out all the things I am stressed out about, spending time with friends/family, and sometimes just having a good cry.
Let me know your thoughts! Have you tried these 4 tips and did they work? What helps you feel happier?
I am a teen-empowerment coach. I work with teen girls, ages 14-17, who struggle with self-acceptance, perfectionism, seeking attention from others, and deep sadness or anger.