They say that money can’t buy happiness, and that your most important asset is your health. You can have a well-paid job or a lucrative stock portfolio, but these are no guarantees for a fulfilled life.
In fact, studies have repeatedly shown that the optimum amount you can earn for ‘peak happiness’ is $75,000 (€61,000) per year. After this, additional earnings will not contribute to your overall happiness levels. One thing that this statistic underscores is the importance of living a balanced, healthy life; if you’re not focused on your own health, wellbeing, and overall security, the amount that you have in the bank is superfluous.
With that in mind, here are six simple things you can do to help ensure a healthy, secure, and happier life, irrespective of your bank balance.
Watch what you eat
Believe it or not, your diet is one of the most important factors when it comes to your overall wellbeing. It should come as no surprise that a healthy, balanced diet is key to avoiding poor health in later life – however, it is still less well-known that a good diet plays a crucial role in good mental health and wellbeing throughout your life. This not only means that eating a balanced diet that is high in the nutrients you need to stay healthy and active is essential, but that taking steps to ensure that you genuinely enjoy your food are just as important.
The connections between regular exercise and strong mental wellbeing are well-documented. Even as little as 10 minutes of brisk activity per day has been proven to have a substantial positive impact on a person’s overall happiness levels.
A sedentary life is not a life well-lived; you don’t need to become a hardcore gym addict to reap the benefits, but making the effort to become more active in your day to day life will make a huge difference. Simply taking the stairs instead of the lift, or walking instead of taking the car can have lasting lifelong benefits, while some gentle daily yoga or stretching can help to support your joints, your muscles and your mind.
Studies have consistently linked charitable giving to improved mental wellbeing, reduced stress, and a more positive outlook on life. Giving back is a way of feeling like you are connected to your community, with the boffins at Forbes magazine concluding that those who donate time or money to charity or volunteer for causes that are important to them are much more likely to report higher levels of life satisfaction.
Whilst there’s a lot to be said for philanthropy, volunteering your time can feel even more rewarding than handing over a hefty check – and make you much happier and more fulfilled as a result.
Prepare for the worst
Happiness is also dependent on your sense of security – which is why it’s important to be proactive and to prepare in case the worst should occur. On one level, this means taking out a substantial life insurance policy, to ensure that you and your loved ones are covered in such an instance, but as sudden accidents or injuries can also have a detrimental impact on your life, it’s important to take these into consideration, too.
Having a quality personal injury solicitor on hand to fight your case if an accident does happen is a wise move – and whether you require personal injury solicitors in Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales, it pays to choose a quality firm that covers everything from workplace accidents to medical negligence. If you currently reside overseas, then you may wish to find a solicitor more locally to help you out should you need it.
Never stop learning
It’s almost impossible to overstate the benefits of lifelong learning, and continuing to expand and broaden your horizons has been shown to make us happier and more fulfilled overall. In fact, only recently, research from the Harvard Business Review has shown that those who choose to learn throughout their life live longer and more content lives. What’s more, you can also reap the benefits of the skills that lifelong learning bestows. It’s never too late to learn a new language, take up an instrument, learn to code, or engage in an artistic pursuit. Learning gives us all a strong sense of purpose and also provides an opportunity to make new friends at any age.
Don’t forget your friends
Some people tend to take their friends for granted, without fully appreciating the positive impact they have on their lives. But friends are more than just a group of people to hang out with on a Friday night, and people with a strong social support group have been proven to have a reduced risk of health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. In addition, those with strong friendships tend to have a much more positive outlook on life at all ages, as well as a considerably longer life expectancy than those with weaker social networks.
The same, of course, works both ways, so don’t forget to check in on your friends and see how they’re doing. And if you needed another excuse to organise a lavish post-lockdown get together, then consider this it.