Want to boost your grades and productivity this year?
Then consider boosting your happiness and wellbeing.
Research shows that happy students tend to be better students. When one is feeling good about themselves and their life then they are more likely to experience greater creativity and mental clarity as well as better relationships.
When you’re in a better mood, it’s also a lot easier for you to focus on what you need to do. By not being distracted, you’re productivity levels can go through the roof.
Now the great thing about happiness is it’s not like you are born happy or unhappy and that’s that.
Here’s how happiness works . . .
We are all born with different happiness set points with genetics accounting for 50% of the difference in happiness between individuals and life circumstances (where you live, how much money you have, etc) accounting for 10%. The final 40% comes down to the choices we make in our day-to-day lives.
The great news is there is a lot you can do to improve your happiness and wellbeing, even when you study.
I realise for many students studying can be a painful and boring process. But I want you to consider that there are simple things you can do to boost your happiness/wellbeing and therefore boost your ability to learn information when you study.
Here are several different things you can experiment with:
1. Incorporate physical movement into your study breaks
Exercise not only helps you to process the information you’ve just learnt but it can also help you to generate new ideas and work through problems if you’re stuck.
A study at Stanford University found that walking (as opposed to sitting) increased creative outputs by 60%. The researchers concluded that if you need to come up with new creative ideas, then you should incorporate walks into your day.
2. Don’t compare
It’s best not to compare. Usually when you compare your grades, looks or circumstances to others, you just end up feeling bad (I know I do).
Instead you want to aim to focus on your own performance and progress. As happiness researcher Sonya Lyubomirsky states:
“The goal is to rely a little less on others when determining your self worth and to rely a little more on our personal standards.”
3. Set the bar really low
Does your list of things to do feel like it never ends?
Having too many things to do over the course of the day can weigh heavily on your mind and leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Shorten your list.
Make it no bigger than 3 items on a post-it note.
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t be ambitious and aim high. But if you have a huge to-do list that feels impossible to get through, you’re going to feel frustrated and demoralised at the end of the day. You also run the risk of spreading your attention too thin.
Having just 3 things to do on your list can help you to focus your mind on what matters most. It also increases the likelihood that you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment at the end of each day.
4. Practice Gratitude
Sometimes we can fall into the trap of focusing on what we don’t have rather than on what we do have. When you focus on what your life lacks, chances are you’ll feel less satisfied with your lot in life.
However gratitude seems to be the antidote to all of this.
Gratitude is the simple act of looking for the good in situations.
So ask yourself this . . .
What are three good things that happened today?
Ask yourself this question everyday for a month and see how you go. You may be surprised how this simple exercise shifts your perspective.
5. Go natural (cut out processed foods)
Would an olympic athlete eat a bucket of greasy chicken before they competed? Of course not. They would be asking for trouble.
Similarly, it’s a good idea to avoid eating processed foods (chips, chocolates, cake, etc) before a study session.
“. . . a diet of junk food deprives the brain of the essential nutrients required for physical and mental wellbeing. This could even be turning some us into addicts, complete with mood swings that addiction entails”.
Before studying, stick to eating natural, healthy snacks (vegetable sticks with a healthy dip, fruit toast, fresh fruit, etc).
If you have other ideas or strategies you use to boost your happiness and wellbeing, please let me know in the comment section below.