Does your dog make you happier?
The answer is yes, according to findings from the new “positive psychology” movement. Positive psychology is quite simply the science of happiness, and the latest research shows that living with pets provides surprising benefits to our health, well-being and satisfaction with life. Are you smitten with your Spinone? She may well be helping to lower your blood pressure, lessen anxiety and calm your nerves. Mad about your Maltese? Don’t be surprised if he’s boosting your immune system—the best protection we have against everything from the common cold to cancer. And let’s not forget the more obvious health benefits. Walking your dog is a great way to exercise and socialize with others from the dog-loving community.
Health benefits aside, can your pooch really improve your mood? According to some studies, those with a beloved pet are over 20 percent more likely to feel satisfied than those without. (We’ll take that as a yes!)
10 More Ways to Get Happy!
1. See the Glass Half Full
This should come as no surprise. When you have pleasant expectations in life, you’re more likely to have pleasant outcomes. And this is backed up by research. Scientists have shown that attitude is a better predictor of happiness than circumstances.
2. Keep the Faith
Cherish your religious or spiritual beliefs, whatever they may be. Honor traditions, and pass them down to your children. If they are personally meaningful, your beliefs can help you connect with others in the spirit of community and guide you in challenging times.
Give a little, and you’ll get so much more in return. Giving of yourself not only makes the world a better place, it just feels good to give. According to widespread research, volunteers, on average, are happier with themselves than non-volunteers.
4. Cherish Your Family
A rich, fulfilling life depends on deep, meaningful relationships. Hold your family and friends close. Share your deepest hopes and fears and encourage your family members to do the same. Don’t let time, distance or an old grudge keep you from those you love.
5. Cultivate a Garden
Actually, almost any hobby will do, but gardening has the added benefit of bringing a little extra beauty into your life. In countless surveys, adults with hobbies are more likely to look at their lives favorably.
6. Get Moving
Did you know that staying active makes you happier as well as healthier? According to the latest research, regular exercise, including brisk walks, directly increases happiness by as much as 10 percent. So, what are you waiting for?
7. Believe in Yourself
We all know this. Before doing just about anything, you have to believe that you can do it. But did you also know that believing in yourself may increase your happiness by as much as 30 percent? Strengthen your self-confidence and reap the rewards!
8. Be a Saver
Now more than ever, making smart financial decisions is crucial to your peace-of-mind. There are so many opportunities to spend less (and spend smart). Prepare for unexpected challenges (without obsessing) and you’ll be happy you did.
9. Read Something New
Studies show that readers are more likely to express daily satisfaction. What’s more, keeping your brain active through reading may help ward off cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Why not turn off the TV and open a book?
10. Make Time for Fun
Happiness and laughter go hand in hand, according to studies focusing on adult life satisfaction. In fact, making time for fun, even something as simple as laughing at yourself or enjoying a good joke, is directly related to higher levels of happiness.