Many people think that happiness is the end goal, that when they get a better job they will be happier, that when they find a partner they will be happier, or that when they lose some weight, they will finally find happiness. However, maybe this is putting the cart before the horse. These things may never happen, or they may take a long time to happen. And even if these people get a better job or a partner, or they lose the weight, they might create another hurdle they need to jump before being happy. So, what should we do? If we put our life on hold for the weight to come down, we are limiting our capability of being happy.

There is evidence that shows that our mood affects our food choices and frequency of meals. Do you find a correlation between your mood and your eating habits? Do you ever overeat or skip meals when you are stressed or upset? Food and mood have a very strong link. Happiness has a positive impact on your diet, and similarly a healthy diet can have a positive impact on your mood. There are even some successful weight management programmes that are mainly therapy based.

While there is no definitive evidence that happiness directly causes weight loss, it has been proven that depression, anxiety and low self-esteem are linked to obesity, weight problems and eating disorders. It is true that certain foods can give an immediate rush of supposed happiness, such as carbohydrates and fat, and so people may choose eating these when feeling down. However, evidence has shown that people who generally feel happy are more active, take better care of their health, and are less likely to develop eating disorders.

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Therefore if you are trying to achieve or maintain a healthy weight, it is better to start taking care of your emotional well-being

If you are the type of person who, when happy, tends to eat more and celebrate with food, this article should still resonate with you. It shows that even though you are usually eating less, it is probably not for the right reasons, i.e. you are eating less because you are feeling unhappy or are not content with your body image. The aim is to be happy on a general level and to avoid the peaks and troughs that can occur when relying on achievement-based happiness.

But, how can you achieve happiness that is not contingent on achieving goals?

There are a few things that you can do to improve your emotional health:

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– It is proven that spending time with friends and family, and interacting with those that like your company has a positive impact on your mood.

– Doing any kind of exercise, as it raises your endorphin levels and increases self-confidence and self-esteem. It has a positive impact in your brain even if you only do it for 7 minutes a day (as shown in The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor).

– Spending time outdoors and catching as much sun as possible (which will raise your serotonin and vitamin D level, and decrease melatonin).

Meditating can reduce how much stress affects you and puts you in a positive mind-set.

– It is shown that smiling can stimulate the parts of the brain that are involved with positivism and happiness.

– Doing things that break the routine will give you unique memories and will allow to distance to yourself from areas that are causing you concern.

– Doing what you want to do, even though you might use your weight as an excuse not to. Don’t put your life on hold. Action instead of inaction.

– Finally, helping others is a sure-fire way of getting that feel good factor, because as humans we have evolved to be sociable animals and to get a real buzz when helping our fellow creatures.

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