The Central Trend

Science of Happiness

Susannah Bennett, Staff Writer

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Every Monday morning is filled with groans and grouchy faces, but separated from the gloomy crowd is a handful of sunshiney people whose positivity lights up the hallway. Any downcast soul will feel gladness from an encounter with an upbeat individual. So, why aren’t there more cheerful people in school?

Stressors such as lack of exercise, heavy class workload, and even social situations can deeply affect a student’s mood over the course of a day. The depressing drag of the previous day can transition into another bad day and yet another, turning into a seemingly endless cycle of unhappiness. But, how can you exit such a continuous and negative cycle?

According to a University of Pennsylvania study in 2005, expressing three blessings in your life every day for a week can produce increased levels of happiness for a longer period of time. Gratitude isn’t an everyday occurrence in most people’s lives, but with the greater incentive of long-term feelings of happiness, counting your blessings will hopefully become a daily ritual.

Another piece of happiness stems from a smile. Recent studies from Michigan State University show that a genuine smile can improve your mood and release endorphins, which are happiness hormones. It’s like the Hamilton song says, “Talk less, smile more.” A smile is something we often don’t acknowledge, but one warm smile can change a person’s outlook on life.

As a healthy principle of life, exercise is always encouraged, but even more so with the added benefits that were discovered in University of Bristol’s exercise at work research. Not only does exercise improve people physically, but it also enhances their mood and ability to perform and work. Exercising has an endless number of mental and physical advantages, which is all the more reason to workout.

One act of kindness or charity can often go a long way. A researcher from University of Exeter uncovered information that proves volunteering has a direct correlation with overall well-being and happiness. In Grand Rapids alone, there is a diverse assortment of volunteering opportunities to try out. Although volunteering requires time and effort, the end result is beneficial to you and those you help.

Taking action for a happier lifestyle is a difficult deed to do, whether it is a personal change or community effort. Despite the obstacles, the effort is worthwhile in the way that it affects you and the world around you.

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Science of Happiness