3 Tips on the Basics that Underline Happiness

  |   Patricia Tiernan

Basics of Human Happiness

There are times in all of our lives when we feel something is not quite right. Sometimes we can put our finger directly on why we feel down, like when a relationship or career is struggling to meet our expectations. But there are times we are really not sure why our happiness levels are low we just know there must be more to enjoying life than this!

When we are feeling sad, lonely, disconcerted, lost, confused, anxious etc. we often overlook how our own behaviour is adding to these challenging emotions. We mull over and over what is going wrong in our lives rather than focusing on how we might get ourselves out of the slump we are in.


So how do we put a spring back in our step?

International Speaker and Coach Neil O’Brien said that one of the most helpful questions he can ask his clients is how are the basics going. The basics of sleep, nutrition and exercise are the very things that can give us more energy but are often the very things that we withdraw from doing optimally when we are feeling low.


The 3 basic foundations for a happy life are:

1. Sleep

‘Get a good nights sleep and things will feel better in the morning’ so often this old saying rings true. Sleep enables us to rest our minds, to feel lighter, sharper, easy going, calmer and thus our problems seem more manageable as our minds more open to dwelling in possibility. However too often we overlook how important sleep really is to our mood and ability to function. We can abuse our bodies and minds by overworking, partying, binge-watching Netflix box sets etc. We can fail to realise just how much sleep we are actually getting and the effect this is having on our lives.

So how much sleep are you getting on average at the moment? Experts agree that most adults need an average of about 7-9 hours of sleep each night for optimal well being.

How much sleep do you need to perform at your best and to be your most spritely self?
How does your social, work, or family life affect the amount of sleep you are getting?
What can you do to improve your level of sleep?

Tips on how to get a good nights sleep:

  • You can’t beat the feeling of being freshly showered, putting on clean pj’s and popping under clean sheets at a reasonable time
  • Our phones have us on constant alert as we get a release of dopamine when we get a like, text message, find an interesting article or video etc. Dopamine starts you seeking, then you get rewarded for the seeking which makes you seek more. Read a book instead of going online before bed. Better still keep your phone in another room and use an alarm clock
  • Caffeinated and sugary drinks and food, should be avoided within three hours before bed
  • Alcohol-induced sleep will become less restful over time and can cause you to feel sleepy during the day. Avoid using alcohol as a sleeping pill
  • Going to bed and getting up at a regular time even on your days off keeps a healthy body clock
  • Mindfulness sleep meditation apps can be useful to support the mind to relax like www.calm.com or www.10%happier.com.

2. Nutrition

We all know we should eat well but when was the last time you took stock of what you were eating and the effect this may be having on your mood. Ever witnessed someone when they are hangry, it’s not pretty and that often going without food for a short amount of time. What does continuously skipping meals when you are busy or grabbing fast food to save time have your mood?

A study by Hakkarainen et al. in 2004 examined the impact of diet on the mental health of 29,133 older male smokers, who logged their daily meals. The researchers found that greater consumption of processed foods such as junk foods with high levels of saturated fats and relatively low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids was associated with increased depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

In order to balance your blood sugar, it’s recommended to combine healthy sources of protein (such as meats, eggs, or beans), fats (such as coconut oil, nuts, or avocado), and carbs (such as fruits, vegetables, or whole grains) with each meal (“Healthy Eating – Overview,” 2013).

What foods cause you to feel lethargic or low in mood?
What foods give you energy and support you to feel healthy?

Tips to support good nutrition:

  • Get up on time to allow yourself make and enjoy a healthy breakfast
  • Do a weekly shop full of healthy food options you want to eat so it’s readily available
  • View fruit as a pleasurable treat when going for a snack
  • If this seems like too much effort for you, have healthy food delivered right to your door with healthy food companies such as these: Healthy Meal Delivery Services

3. Exercise

‘Walk it off and you will feel much better’ is another saying that we hear so often. When we engage in any form of physical exercise, we generally feel happier and less anxious. Interestingly studies on rats indicate that exercise mimics the effects of antidepressants on the brain. Happiness and exercise are similar in two notable ways: both are independently associated with a boost to the immune system, and also with the release of endorphins.

Having a change in routine from work, food, tv, bed through getting outdoors etc. stimulates us and reduces the feeling of groundhog day. In addition to increased energy, and levels of happiness we can feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose in meeting personal fitness goals. To top it all off our improved physical appearance from exercising supports us to feel happier in ourselves too.
Adolescents are advised to do 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily and vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week.
How much exercise are you getting daily, weekly?
What type of exercise do you enjoy most?
What supports you to get up and out exercising?

Tips to increase your exercise:

  • Try different types of exercise until you find one you enjoy
  • Have a friend or personal trainer join you so you are more accountable
  • Leave workout clothes in work, in the boot of the car, in the hall, at the foot of the bed, wherever will help motivate you to ‘just do it’
  • Sign up for a fun run, triathlon, biggest loser challenge whatever goal will help motivate you to exercise more
  • Check out Active tips from Action for Happiness for more pointers

If you would like some professional help getting the most out of your life, contact Patricia today for Life Coaching support.