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Five brain shifts to become happier this winter

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Hala, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. Hala

    Hala Golden Member Verified Doctor

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    With a lack of regular sunshine and fresh vegetables, winter in Canada can seem like a recipe for bad moods on some days. So, in the middle of the season, here are a few tips to help stay on the level and improve your mindset, from some ways to shift how your brain works, to diet tips for staying physically well:


    1. Focus on “what went well:” Practising gratitude daily is a powerful stimulus for general happiness and well-being. The founder of Positive Psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman, recommends ending every day by making a list of three things that “went well.” His research demonstrates that this simple exercise increases joy and decreases depression.


    2. Find a passion that you can lose yourself in: Regularly find time for focused activities that you love, especially if you lose track of time when participating. This state is called “flow” and is significantly associated with increased happiness.


    3. Train your brain to be optimistic: Optimists are happier and healthier people and you can learn to be an optimist. Get in the habit of expecting things to turn out well for you. Believe that life has more good for you than bad and that even the worst times have blessings wrapped up like gifts inside the difficulty.


    4. Practise happiness-enhancing health habits (see sidebar). Eat foods that make your brain happy (e.g. wild salmon, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and avoid foods that have a negative impact (for example, refined flours, sugars, fast food). Exercising for just 20 minutes a day has been shown to treat depression and boost mood for up to 12 hours.


    5. Harness the power of other people. Mexico is one of the world’s happiest countries because of the cultural emphasis on family and community. Spending time with people and helping others are two of the quickest routes to lasting joy.





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