There comes a time in our life when we ask ourselves the BIG metaphysical question, “What is happiness?” And more importantly, what is it to me? I think to many of us, it’s a feeling; a point of view or perspective; and ultimately, an overwhelming sense of well-being. To each of us, what makes us happy differs, but many would argue that at the base foundation, happiness is largely determined by choice.
This idea of happiness fascinates me and when Unilever approached me on trialing some of the new Dove Men+Care and Degree Men products, it got my mind wandering. Those that read my blog know that I only write about companies that align with my personal mission, and tend to be brands I have an emotional connection with. After 4 years of working with Dove Men+Care, it’s really about how their products make me feel… and in many cases, how it makes the people around me feel, too.
Being someone who sees the glass as half-full, the idea that happiness is a choice fascinates me. I’ve personally overcome a few insurmountable obstacles in my life. However, when I think back, these life milestones seemed like impossible situations when I was in the moment, and I felt a lot of sadness while dealing with them, but at the end of the day, I found a way to cope – and eventually overcome them. In the end, I always got my ‘happy’ back.
What’s my trick? I did simple things that I had full control over. Things that made me feel good instantly. I chose me first. I practiced ‘Hygiene Happiness’.
You’re probably wondering what’s ‘hygiene happiness’? To me, it’s pretty simple: it’s “the things that you do to keep yourself clean and feeling good to best optimize your health and happiness”.
6 Ways to Optimize Your Health by Practicing ‘Hygiene Happy-ness’
Tip 1: Learn something new each day
Feed your mind and the rest will follow. Studies have shown that in learning new things, we exercise our creativity, build our confidence and self-worth, all which plays into improving our states of well-being and personal happiness.
Many of the studies which support these findings found the best results are when people pursue areas of genuine interest – their passions – and in learning new skills, and becoming more knowledgeable or practicing ‘mastery’ in a given subject, they found great sense of happiness.
And if you are still stuck on what to learn, maybe start with a course in ‘Happiness’ (see video below)
“No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change” – Barbara De Angelis
Tip 2: Move your body with purpose each day
When we exercise a lot of things happen in our bodies. In particular, exercise exerts its effects on the brain through several mechanisms, including neurogenesis, mood enhancement, and endorphin release. When this happens we experience a decrease in stress, increased sense of euphoria, and overall increase in our sense of calmness and well-being. We just feel happier!
Tip 3: Bathe and repeat
John Wesley was onto something when he first said, “Cleanliness is indeed next to godliness”.
Think back to the last time you went a couple of days without bathing. Maybe it was a crazy weekend away with the family camping, and you didn’t have access to running water or other means to clean yourself. Do you remember how you felt? Do you remember what you were thinking? How did that affect your happiness? I’m going to go out on a limb here and presume it wasn’t elevating your happiness levels, right? Remember back to how good you felt as soon as you got clean again.
“…the notion of washing away one’s sins, entailed in the moral-purity metaphor, seems to have generalized to a broader conceptualization of wiping the slate clean, allowing people to metaphorically remove a potentially broad range of psychological residues.”
There’s no denying it, when you feel clean, you feel happier.
Keep-that-happy-feeling going tip: I know I’m a bit weird, but I’m that guy who likes to shower BEFORE and AFTER a workout. Don’t laugh at me, I know it’s probably all in my head, but I feel like I do better in my workouts when I’m clean. My pre-WOD routine is to use Dove Men+Care Deep Clean body and face wash – the purifying grains exfoliate to provide a deep clean and fight dryness. Using the micromoisture technology, it thoroughly cleans my skin without leaving it feeling dry or tight like soap can!
Tip 4: Look good
Call it what you will, but sometimes when we’re looking good we feel good and when we think we’re not looking our best, we feel poorly about ourselves. This phenomenon is real and psychologists call it “beauty self-esteem”. In a recent story in the Huffington Post, “The Psychology Behind a Good Hair Day”, Dr. Vivian Diller explores how simply having a good hair day can positively influence our self-confidence. Who would have thought that hair could be so influential to our sense of happy?
Next time you are looking to up your happiness quotient, try donning a freshly cleaned pair of your favorite jeans, your #1 shirt, and throw a little Dove Men+Care defining pomade in your hair and then take on the world! It’s that easy. Look at that sexy beast in the mirror and give yourself a wink and a smile cause you are looking fine!
Tip 5: Smell Better
Let’s be honest with each other. Imagine you’re on the bus and there are two seats open, one is beside super-smelly guy that has just finished a workout at the gym and hasn’t showered yet, and the other is beside smells-like-roses guy who is fresh and clean. Who do you sit beside?
Now if you said the first guy, where were you when I was sitting by myself on the bus back in my university days. Seriously. I had a thing with public showers and would ride home to shower, and believe me, I sat alone a lot.
There’s no denying it, when you smell good, people take note. And when they take note in a good way, it boosts your confidence and self-esteem, making you feel better about yourself and elevates your happiness.
Tip 6: Practice daily mindfulness
Mindfulness refers to “a state of mind characterized by awareness and attention in the present moment, and by an accepting, curious, and non-judgmental attitude.”
Being mindful or present in our now moments helps us appreciate the good we are presently experiencing while avoiding dwelling on past regrets out of our control or stressing over future situations which may never happen. The NOW we live in is where the real magic happens – being present for those relationships, conversations and events as they happen, recognizing and taking emotional and psychological stock on how it makes us feel.
Practicing daily mindfulness has shown to reduce stress, reduce pain, and improve quality of life – and in many reported cases, mine included, improves one’s overall sense of happiness.
So take Epictetus’ words of advice and be mindful of the moment:
“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will”
What 6 Little Steps Will Mean to Your Life
These 6 little steps are seemingly simple in design, but simple doesn’t mean easy.
Your psychological immune system will kick into autopilot mode on those dark and cloudy days, helping you see the bright side of life is still there. However, it still comes down to choosing YOU and acting on that decision.
Question: What is happiness to you?
There’s no wrong answer because your answer is right and will always be right to you. But, to help your search for personal happiness along, if you put these 6 rituals of #HygieneHappiness into daily practice, you’ll find that your emotional, physical and spiritual self will become more attuned to feeling happy. And, when you’re doing things that make you happier, you will want to do more of it.
Happiness creates happiness…and no one has ever complained about too much happiness. And at the end of the day, you’ll also smell, look and feel fantastic – so what’s not to smile about?
So, what’s the deal with ‘Happiness’? A definition.
“Happiness is that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can't help but smile. It's the opposite of sadness. Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment.”
This definition is great in theory, but does it really tell us anything about WHY we feel happy? Or HOW we can make ourselves feel more of it? And in that case, is there anything we can do to create more ‘happy’ in our lives?
Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard College psychology professor also known as “The Professor of Happiness”, has made his career focus to better understand these types of questions; offering us a greater understanding of what makes us happy.
In Gilbert’s TED talk, he expands on a unique ability we each have as part of our “psychological immune system”. It’s the system that kicks in when we experience emotionally stressful events – working hard to protect us from the worst of it, ultimately aiming to lessen the impact of an emotional downward spiral.
The big reason we have this system, is we have a tendency as human beings to overindulge in our expectations of both positive and negative outcomes. We have a very active “experience simulator” which allows us to visualize things and possible outcomes vividly, and when our expected outcomes like getting a new job, or getting that second date don’t pan out, we experience disappointment and sadness.
As a species, we tend not to manage our expectations very well, and in situations where we don’t get what we want (or what we think will make us happy), we feel sad – sometimes very sad. But you know what happens next? The psychological immune system kicks into overdrive, helping us rationalize and ultimately, ‘synthesize happiness’. Or to put it simply, forces us to look for the positives in the situation that failed to happen the way we thought it would. Synthesized happiness is just as real as natural happiness, but it’s a second line of defense in keeping us on (or in many cases, help us get back on) the happy train.
Do you have any tips, tricks or hacks to shift yourself into a positive state of mind? To help you feel happier about you and life in general?
Drop me a note and let me know.
A few Happiness TWEETables
A few Happiness TWEETables
“Happiness only real when shared” – C. J. McCandles [click to tweet]
“There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way” – Wayne Dyer [click to tweet]
“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness” – Ralph Waldo Emerson [click to tweet]
“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness” – Charles Spurgeon [click to tweet]
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own” – Robert A. Heinlein [click to tweet]
“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present” – Jim Rohn [click to tweet]
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony” – M. Gandhi [click to tweet]
And to be absolutely clear, this is my disclaimer: “Just so you know, I have been compensated to share my ideas on this topic. Sometimes it is in the form of products, or services or even money… But here’s the thing; I won’t share anything with you that I don’t fully support. It doesn't matter what it is, or how much they are willing to give me, if I don’t believe in it, It won’t be on my site. Seriously. You’ll just have to trust me on this.” ~ Coach Moose