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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How “Belly Breathing” Helps During Workouts & For Anytime Stress Management

I guess if there’s any one thing you figure you “know how to do” already, it would be breathing. You’ve been doing it successfully for a while now, yes? 

But we adults have often gotten away from breathing the way a child or an animal does: using our diaphragm and the lower part of our torso (“belly”) to initiate inhales and exhales. Why? Tight pants, self-consciousness, spending a lot of time sitting…there are multiple reasons.

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Fitness & the 5 Stages of Fatherhood

For those who have or will have the opportunity to be a father, it’s one of the very greatest and most meaningful parts of life.

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How Aging Reduces Your Calorie Burn Rate – and How Being Active Reverses The Decline

If you’re a 40+ guy paying at least casual attention to nutrition science, you know this: as we get older, our bodies naturally burn fewer calories.

Given this reality about “base metabolic rate” (BMR), our choices are: (1) Slowly gain weight; (2) Get more active, to counter-balance the BMR decline; or (3) Reduce calories consumed.

I flirted with the first path in my 30’s but ultimately chose to reject Outcome #1, do everything I can toward Outcome #2, and also accept that a bit of Outcome #3 will be needed over time.

Whatever choice you make (and you are making a choice, man), I want it to be an informed one. So please invest a few minutes to learn about your current calorie burn rate, how it’s changing, and how your activity level affects that trajectory. Preview: getting more active can more than offset BMR decline, for many years!

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