Are you a man and happy? Not necessarily happy about being a man, just generally happy and contented with your life? If the answer is yes, then read no further, friend, you have reached the end of your journey of enlightenment and are set for the rest of your days! If, however, you are more like the rest of us, then read on and learn how to become happier!
No, not indiscriminately with just anyone! For a man having sex – especially having sex regularly – equates to feeling loved and secure. Therefore, being in an intimate and committed relationship in which you enjoy nookie on frequent occasions is sure to boost your mood and send you out into the world oozing contentment and joie de vivre!
Hang out with your mates
Tell your other half that it is official! Scientists have found that men that regularly spend time with ‘the boys’ tend to be happier and more content with their lives – up to 28 per cent more so than other chaps! It is thought that these feelings of enjoyment and well-being are inspired by the formation and maintenance of strong social bonds that are not necessarily tied to family or matrimonial bonds.
It is a well-known fact that exercise releases endorphins (feel good hormones) into the blood stream, so cash in on this healthy and thoroughly enjoyable natural high. You do not have to run, if running seems too much like hard work, you can indulge in any form of exercise at all, as long as you break into a sweat and breath hard for at least twenty minutes… hmm, refer back to point one, perhaps?
Being active is not the same as exercising, although the two seem to be the same. Being active can include activities like attending social clubs and taking part in leisure activities and does not necessarily raise a sweat. Instead of chilling out in front of the television, remote in one hand and beer in the other, get yourself dressed up and go out to a movie with a friend, pop into an art class or just meet up with friends, even if it is only for one quick drink. Having something to do and somewhere to go stirs up your system and gives you a warm buzz, while slobbing around at home has the opposite effect and can even result in the onset of depressive symptoms.
You may be one of those old-school guys who does not believe in primping and preening yourself in front of the mirror, and, sure, you do not have to. Do make the effort to look nice, though, by brushing your hair, cleaning your shoes, and wearing an ironed (and clean, of course!) shirt and smart trousers (even new jeans will do). Feeling good has been found to give men a huge fillip to their confidence, instantly boosting their mood and happiness with life.
Being outdoors is wonderful, especially if you have been stuck inside for ages, such as during the working week. Make time to get out there and enjoy some fresh air every day if you can. You can enjoy fishing, hiking, cycling or even bird-watching or gardening in the great outdoors and see how all fresh air and peace ooze into your soul, leaving a residue of well-being behind! Even going for a quick ten or fifteen minute walk can do wonders towards getting your head right and your psyche soothed.
Getting married has been found to instantly increase a man’s longevity and average happiness levels. So ignore your confirmed bachelor mates’ derision and propose to your long term partner and then sit back and enjoy new-found levels of happiness. This extra contentment is partly because your partner will look after you, but is also because the responsibility of being one half of a union inspires you to look after yourself better. If marriage is one commitment step too far, you can relax knowing that a stable and loving long-term relationship is almost as good as marriage, as regards happiness levels.
Enjoy moderate drinking
Doctors now agree that the odd glass of wine is generally healthy and other forms of alcohol can help us to relax and de-stress after a hard working week. Instead of grimly going teetotal, enjoy the odd bevy, either with your mates or partner, and know that you are working towards ever-improved contentment levels by doing so.
Ditch the commute
Work from home – or as close to home as possible! Lengthy commutes are frustrating and stressful even on a good day, and when accidents and road works crop up, then problems multiply like bacteria on a petri dish! Arriving at work, late and traumatised by your fellow road users does not set you up to perform to your best abilities! Speak to your boss about working online or from home (mention the extra time available for getting on with your work) if feasible and watch as your stress and worries melt away. Do discipline yourself to work between set hours, or else you will find yourself slacking off until the day before a work deadline, then panicking and undoing all your good work trying to catch up!
Ok, this one is quite drastic, but international organisations have found that the United Kingdom is quite low-down on the happiness charts compared to countries like Denmark, Canada, Sweden and Iceland. Sunny Costa Rica tops the happiness charts, which just goes to show that living in a first world country is no guarantee of life satisfaction! If you want to remain in the United Kingdom, think about moving out into the country – the same study found that rural residents are generally considerably happier than their citified counterparts. Do not fret too much in your endless search for contentment in life: as we age we become happier and happier (probably as we face our shortcomings and learn to accept our real selves) with retired people being the most contented of all.