5 Ways to Feel Happier Every Day (and Get More Productive Because You’re Happier)

Some big-picture components of happiness are long-term endeavors to improve. But there are also surprisingly simple “evolve your state of mind” things you can do to increase feelings of happiness in the short term.

You can take active steps to increase your feelings of happiness every day — and let those feelings make you more effective in all you other goals and endeavors. One example? Think of the “STAGE” verbs — savor, thanks, asipire, give and emphathize.

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To me, happiness is the ultimate goal.

I don’t at all mean to minimize the importance of goals like achievement, service to others, morality, excellence, and others. But our mix of these other goals is rolled up into what it takes to be happy. So for each of us in a highly personalized way, realizing happiness means, by-definition, we’ve achieved “enough” of our other goals.

And, greater day-to-day happiness makes us more effective in pursuing these other major goals. It also gives us more longevity to do so.

So, happiness is both a product and a cause of achieving other goals.

Some big-picture components of happiness are long-term endeavors to improve. But there are also surprisingly simple “evolve your state of mind” things you can do to increase feelings of happiness in the short term.

And, consciously seeking happiness is like getting started on fitness. A purposeful, modest start builds its own momentum, man.

“S.T.A.G.E.” FRAMEWORK FOR INCREASING HAPPINESS

A company called Happify suggests a “STAGE” framework of five simple things you can do to improve happiness, anywhere and anytime. They are:

SAVOR the world around you, and the experience of life, by actively making note of the good stuff. Being mindful of beauty, good news and other positives makes people more optimistic.

THANK others, yourself, and the world itself for the good things. Expressing gratitude boosts happiness.

ASPIRE with a sense of purpose and possibilities . Focusing on positive future states makes the present feel like a better place. AND, it helps achieve that even-better vision of the future.

GIVE of yourself and your resources. Giving is great for the recipient, but research shows it’s even better for the mental state of the giver.

EMPATHIZE with others. Empathy is recognizing others’ view of the world, taking it yourself so you can understand it, and then effectively communicating to them that you’ve done this. It does great things for relationships. And relationships, in turn, do great things for you, man.

Here’s a short article from Happify with more detail.

FITNESS & HAPPINESS: A MUTUALLY-REINFORCING RELATIONSHIP

This wouldn’t be an OlderBeast article if I didn’t make a plug for physical fitness contributing to mental wellness and happiness.

Please think about the fact that your regular workouts are a great time and mental environment to do these happiness-enhancing things. Especially the savor/thank/aspire ones, which are more of internal-mental functions and less about direct, immediate action with others.

 

“Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” (Grateful Dead, Scarlet Begonias—click to listen)

 

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Fitness as We Age: Five Lessons From the “Ground Game” in Football

I love football analogies, man. I probably use them too much. I ought to invoke the images of a symphony or a wild-flowered meadow more often.

But some football analogies just make sense to me at a visceral level. Especially this one: pursuing long-term body-and-soul health (at 40, 50, 60 and beyond) is like committing to the run as a football strategy.

When a team declares “we WILL run the football,” they commit to guiding principles like: Having a more-patient approach to victory – not trying to “win quickly”…Depending less on flashy or gimmicky approaches – what you see is mainly what you get…and Reducing costly mistakes – fumbles are less common and less damaging than interceptions.

Let’s consider what lessons this holds for the pursuit of decades-long fitness. I see five of them.

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Aging: 3 Reasons Why You’re Not as “Over the Hill” as You Think

We’re not 25 anymore, physically (duh). But 40++ guys (and gals) can feel pretty darn good if they’re physically active, eat well, get enough sleep and manage stress. And perform pretty well too – in endurance events, strength activities, skill sports and daily life.

Consider these recent news items. A 52-year-old guy set the world record for most push-ups in an hour. At the USA Track & Field masters’ championships, women in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 80’s, 90’s and 100’s turned in “age-defying” performances.

The glass-half-empty views says 40+ means “over the hill.” But the quest to live in glass-half-full mode raises these questions: 1). What’s the nature of this “hill?” Is there one crest, or different ones for different things?…2). When do these crests come along?…3). How steep is our slope post-crest?

I’ve researched this a bit, and here are my conclusions so far. Yeah, our “VO2max” aerobic capacity is lower, and we have less fast-twitch muscle fiber for explosive things like sprinting and jumping. But there are also several pieces of good news from research, brothers.

Read on for a summary of good-news points and links to research sources. Plus, some amazing data on how today’s OlderBeast-age guys would have done at the first modern Olympics in 1896.

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Within Every Man’s Control: Benefits of Deep Breathing

Much recent scientific and “self-help industry” attention is being paid to the benefits of deep, controlled breathing. But there’s only so much time in the day, or so many personal “projects” or special routines you can really practice.

Breathing exercises or meditation may sound like “just one MORE thing I know is good for me, but probably won’t do.”

Here is great news for guys whose fitness routine is consistent with OlderBeast principles: yoga and swimming provide “controlled breathing” benefits at the same time that you’re working on strength, endurance, flexibility and balance.

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