Do you want to feel happier and more confident? Discover 11 ways to feel happier as a highly sensitive person.
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Estimated reading time: 13 minutes
If you feel as though you want to be happier and healthier then you are not alone. So many people are in the same situation as you are right now.
The pandemic challenged the overall well-being of many individuals. Especially highly sensitive people and empaths struggled greatly with the major changes going on in society.
In our ‘normal’ daily life, being a highly sensitive empath already takes its toll on many sensitive souls. Add financial worries, health struggles, lockdowns, and global conflicts to the equation and you have a perfect breeding ground for unhappiness.
In the past two years, this global situation has caused many negative thoughts within most of us. These negative thoughts created negative emotions that slowly impacted our mental health in a bad way.
It seems as if many of us now find it hard to know how to feel happier. After all, there is no specific formula for being happy. It isn’t that easy. However, understanding the science behind happiness and learning more about practical ways to boost happiness can help you as a highly sensitive person to improve your mood.
In this article, we explain everything you need to know to boost your mental health as a sensitive soul.
Here’s What You’ll Discover:
- Are People Less Happy During The Pandemic?
- The Science of Happiness
- 11 Ways To Feel Happier As A Highly Sensitive Person
- Some Final Remarks
Are People Less Happy During The Pandemic?
A study published in 2021 shows that people are not necessarily less happy now than in 2019 – before the pandemic. However, this study showed that people felt increasingly anxious and stressed.
Considering the fact that highly sensitive people are more anxious than less sensitive people because of their highly sensitive nervous system, you may conclude that HSP’s anxiety has been through the roof in the past two years. Consequently, you may think that you feel more unhappy now compared to a few years ago.
However, ask yourself; if you wouldn’t struggle with anxiety and stress – would you still feel unhappy? Many of us – who weren’t personally impacted by the pandemic – will probably answer no.
As our basic needs like shelter, having enough food, and being able to socialize still are met, our happiness shouldn’t be impacted too badly. Our nervous system is, however, constantly on the lookout for danger.
With a global crisis, increasing worries about climate change and international conflicts, it is logical that highly sensitive people are hyper-aware of what’s going on around them.
This increase in anxious thoughts and stress can make you feel like you are unhappier now and should be taken seriously. Therefore, make sure to read on to discover the science behind happiness and ways to feel happier.
The Science of Happiness
In order to understand what you as a highly sensitive person or empath need to feel happier, you should dive into the science of happiness. Learning more about how happiness works can help you to easier find your own happiness formula. So, how does happiness work?
From a neurological perspective, happiness is caused by an increase of hormones in the brain that improve your chance of survival. It sounds very extreme, but it’s how our brains are programmed.
The most important happiness hormones are the following:
- Dopamine: This hormone is important to feel pleasure and helps us to feel motivated, strive, focus and find things interesting. Also, this hormone is closely related to our body’s reward system. Your body produces dopamine whenever you do an activity that you find enjoyable.
- Serotonin: An important mood regulator that also regulates your sleep quality, appetite, digestion, learning ability, memory and more. 90% of your Serotonin is produces in your gut, proving the importance of proper gut health.
- Oxytocin: This hormone is also called the ‘love hormone’ that is triggered by being around family members, people and animals who you love. Oxytocin positively impacts relaxation, trust in others and your overall psychological stability. Hence, it is a very important hormone to feel happier.
- Endorphins: These hormones are involved in your body’s ability to relieve pain. Your body produces endorphins when you experience stress. Healthy activities such as eating health, having sex or working out help to increase endorphins, which again make you more resilient in times of stress.
Learning how to increase these four happiness hormones can significantly impact your happiness. People feel happier when they actively trigger their bodies to create these hormones. If you’re ready to learn how to work with your happiness hormones, make sure to read on.
11 Ways To Feel Happier As A Highly Sensitive Person
Thankfully, there are things that you can do to ‘hack’ your happiness and feel happier. Want to find out more? Simply look at the 11 methods below.
People usually smile when they are happy but believe it or not, it’s a two-way street. People smile because they are happy as this helps to release dopamine. This makes you even happier.
That doesn’t mean that you have to go about your day with a fake smile, but it does mean that you should try and crack a smile when you are feeling down or if you want to feel better about yourself in general. If you can do this, then you will soon find that you are able to make yourself feel better in no time at all.
For instance, try this laughter yoga session to feel happier:
Exercise isn’t just for your body. Believe it or not, regular workouts can help you to reduce stress and they can also help you with any feelings of anxiety you might have too.
Working out can alleviate symptoms of depression while also boosting your happiness and self-esteem. If you simply undergo a very small amount of physical activity, you will soon find that this makes a huge difference to your mental health. You do not have to train to run a marathon and you also do not need to try and scale a huge cliff.
Also, you just need to do what makes you happy. While doing that, you need to make sure that you do not overexert yourself. If you throw yourself into a huge routine and if you try and take care of too many things at once, then this will certainly work against you. You may also wind up feeling frustrated and this is the last thing you want.
If you want to make a positive change, then simply take a 20 minutes walk around your block after you have had dinner. You might also want to sign up for a yoga class for beginners. If you can do this, then you will soon find that you can get your day off to the right start. You may even find that you can boost your self-confidence too, which is a major bonus.
#3 Sleep Well
Modern society often steers people to getting less sleep. That being said, sleep is super important if you want to boost your brain function and if you want to benefit your emotional wellbeing.
Most adults need to get around 8 hours of sleep every night so if you find yourself trying to fight the urge to nap all of the time or if you have a lot of brain fog, then this may well be your body’s way of trying to tell you that something needs to change.
If you want to get a better routine when it comes to your sleeping schedule, then write down how many hours of sleep you end up getting throughout the week.
In the morning, you then need to document how well-rested you feel, if at all. If you can do this, you will soon find that you have a better idea of how you are feeling.
You also need to make sure that you go to bed and that you wake up at the same time during the weekend. If you sleep in at the weekend, and if you stay up late, then this will ruin the routine that you have worked so hard to create, which is the last thing that you need.
#4 Eat According To Your Mood
You probably know by now, but the food choices you make will have a huge impact on your physical health, as well as your mental health.
There are also some foods that can alter your state of mind. If you look at carbohydrates, then you will soon see that they release serotonin. This is the feel-good hormone that keeps you going.
You also have simple carbohydrates, which are very high in both sugar and starch. This is an energy shot, and although it will fuel you for the short-term, it will ultimately end up in you crashing which is the last thing that you need.
Here are some food types that help you as a highly sensitive person to feel happier:
- Dark chocolate boosts your mood and concentration and helps to increase blood flow to your brain, which in return makes you feel more energized.
- Asparagus stimulates the creation of serotonin, which we know is one of the four important happiness hormones.
- Pumpkin seeds contain amino acid known as tryptophan, which helps your body to produce more serotonin.
- Chamomile tea is our grandmother’s favorite remedy for sleep problems and we understand why; this beverage helps you to create hormones that make you feel more relaxed and calm.
If you want to start eating better, then it is wise for you to try and create a food diary on your computer. You can then access it regardless of where you are. You can back it up to all of your devices as well if you want.
If your computer isn’t working, then check out this helpful guide: https://setapp.com/how-to/fix-time-machine-stuck-on-preparing-backup
#5 Be Grateful
Being grateful can give you a huge boost. It can also give you a lot of other benefits too. Studies have shown that if you can practice gratitude on a day-to-day basis, then this can help you to have feelings of happiness.
Start by simply acknowledging everything that you happen to be grateful for. It is very easy for you to do this while you are brushing your teeth in the morning or even when you are waiting for your morning alarm to go off.
Try and take note of any pleasant things that you might see in your life too. if you can do this, then you will soon find that it is easier than ever for you to give your mind and your body a boost, not to mention that it can also help you to feel more in control.
#6 Give Compliments
Giving sincere compliments can also help you to feel good about yourself. If you are finding it hard to see the good things in yourself then seeing the good in other people can help you.
If you want to try and get a good start, then begin with your own family members, and then start complimenting people at work. Tell people when they have done a good job, comment on someone’s outfit, and then go from there. If you can do this, then you will soon find that you can boost your own mental health.
#7 Meditate To Feel Happier
Another way to feel happier as a highly sensitive person is to consider spending time meditating. Also here, it is important to create a meditation practice that you can keep up with for the long term.
Practicing meditation 5 minutes daily can help you to reduce stress, anxiety and feel happier. Studies have shown that meditation can reduce your amygdala. This is the part of your brain that is responsible for the fight, flight, and freeze response.
Within highly sensitive people, the activity in the amygdala is heightened, which is why meditation is a crucial self-care practice for many HSPs.
For instance, try starting your meditation practice with a guided meditation like this one:
#8 Invest In Products That Increase Your Wellbeing
Something that helped me to feel happier, is to invest in the right personal growth products to increase wellbeing. For instance, one product that helps me to reduce stress and feel calmer in an instant is my Shakti mat.
A Shakti mat is an acupressure mat with tiny spikes that put pressure on the acupoints of your body. It may sound scary, especially if you are very sensitive towards touch.
The first minutes on a Shakti mat are not pleasant, but if you hold on for a few minutes, you will feel an immense flow of relaxation throughout your body. Lay down on your Shakti mat for 20 minutes before going to sleep and sleep like a baby! It is amazing.
If you’d like to purchase a Shakti mat, make sure to check out the awesome Shakti mat designs here.
#9 Do Things That Excite You
As mentioned earlier in this article, many of the happiness hormones are released when you do things that excite you. Therefore, make a list of everything that gives you pleasure.
Try to incorporate this into your daily routine. At first, you may feel guilty for not being productive or doing chores around the house. However, try to develop a mindset where you understand that doing pleasurable things each day is crucial to feel happier.
For instance, spend money on something you’ve been wanting for a long time. Buy that trip you’ve been dreaming about for ages. Treat yourself to a shopping trip. Go out and eat dinner with your spouse. Anything that excites you will do!
#10 Surround Yourself With People Who Make You Feel Good
As mentioned, an important aspect of happiness is oxytocin. This hormone, also called the love hormone, is developed when spending time with your loved ones.
Therefore, play with your children or pets, spend time with your partner or go and visit family members who bring you joy. Doing this regularly helps you to feel happier in the long run.
On the contrary, if you noticed that there are people who make you feel unhappy, consider seeing them less or maybe even ending the relationship with them. Your happiness comes first!
#11 Focus On Your Dreams
Finally, an important happiness factor for highly sensitive people is to focus on their dreams. Highly sensitive people seem to find a higher purpose in life highly important. Therefore, start dreaming about your ideal life.
Write down everything you desire – whether it is big or small – just write it down! Envisioning your ideal future and stepping into that energy can help you to create the happy hormones that you need to get there.
For instance, put your writings into a vision board and look at your vision board each morning to give yourself that boost of happiness! You will soon notice that it feels good to focus on that energy!
Some Final Remarks
As you can see, there are many ways to increase life satisfaction and feel happier. Therefore, I now encourage you to think about what you’d like to focus on in the next few days to increase happiness. Take it step by step and soon you’ll notice changes in your mood!
What do you want to focus on first to feel happier? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this in the comment section!