Sharing moments Young adults Bye bye Hotel Mum How you feel at home Semester abroad Language course abroad or work as an au pair? Be prepared for military training Grassrooted Pack smarter, travel better Make an impression Contraception Vegan diet Bye bye Hotel Mum – hello shared flat Big trip, small budget Planning a family Tracking fertility The right time? How men can help Fertility and diet Medical check-up What you need to know about ovulation What to do if you don’t conceive straight away Three electronic fertility and cycle trackers in comparison Planning a family and partnership Pregnancy Examinations during pregnancy Diet and nutrition Is my pregnancy progressing normally? Tips for daily life Important points for travel and holidays Is my pregnancy progressing normally? What items do I need for my baby? Where and how do I want to give birth? What do I need to pack for the hospital? How should I prepare my home for my child? Is my pregnancy progressing normally? How can I best prepare for my baby? How can I best prepare for the birth? Nutrition Parent-child relationship Preparing for breastfeeding | Sanitas Magazine Insurance Stretch marks Sleep Rupture of membranes Baby blues High-risk pregnancy Braxton Hicks & false labour Formalitites Morning sickness Family rooms Our baby Bathing baby – what you need to know How babies hear Infant first-aid kit Baby care Is my baby developing normally? Month-to-month overview of baby development Is my baby developing normally? Month-to-month overview of baby development Baby care Breastfeeding When does a baby start eating? Celebrating and enjoyment Christmas and New Year’s Eve with a twist A philosophical take on pleasure Pleasure can also be found in the soup kitchen in Zurich Tips for a peaceful and stress-free Christmas Living better with cardiac insufficiency Alejandro Iglesias Hana Disch Patrizio Orlando Vaccinations and travel first-aid kit Hay fever Everyday help In pursuit of happiness Seven tips for a happier daily life Kids in lockdown Online addiction Be active Active during pregnancy Sport and exercise during pregnancy Antenatal exercise classes Standing properly Healthy eating Green smoothies Vitamin D Good eggs, bad eggs Diet plan Healthy fats Feed your muscles How much sugar should we eat a day? How much fat should we eat a day? Lactose intolerance Healthy diet, strong immune system Low Carb E-numbers and other additives in food Healthy heart Interview with Christophe Wyss Heart-friendly sports How the mind affects the heart Taking blood pressure correctly High blood pressure: what you need to know Healthy teeth Home remedies: relief for sore gums Changing habits Interview Stortpsychologie 10-step guide to changing habits Try, try, try again Running coaching Running ABC Race in Sarnen Factors affecting condition Weekly planner Running shoes Strengthening exercises Running nutrition Complementary sport Warm-up Stretching Functional clothing Fitness tracker Shopping – sportswear Running tips for women Relaxation technique Recovery New lease of life thanks to Sanitas running coaching Running training The first half marathon Training and heart rate Running Ticks Sport after childbirth Postnatal exercise Taking the strain off your shoulders Kangatraining Workout while walking Expert tips Stress and relaxation Moving air Fight stress with yoga What is stress Learn how to relax Dealing with stress What is burnout? “The first step was to create boundaries” Juggling family and a career Reduce stress Stressor factors The most beautiful Swiss saunas Sweating in the sauna Breathing exercises for relaxation The right rest & recovery: debunking myths Mindfulness Sleep Trend sports Fitness boxing Slackline Bouldering Fascia training Stand Up Paddling Keeping fit efficiently Swing with a smile! Vertical workout Hiking Altitude sickness Seven stroller-friendly hikes Needed: a hiking-friendly pushchair There goes the other sole! Tips on hiking with a baby Mountain lakes Planning a family: Fertility and exercise Stair climbing Pumptrack Your back Kids’ back Back exercises Sitting properly at work Forest fun Playing for life Promoting health and fitness Motivation Sledging Curling glossary What do you get if you cross a kite with snow? Snowshoeing Preventing falls Inline skating Swimming Swimming Wings for Life Stretching Bike tips Stretching exercises for cyclists koerper-und-kaelte Healthy teeth thanks to dental hygiene and preventive care Putting wishes into practice Tips for healthy teeth Hometraining Investigating teeth-related myths 10 tips to ease anxiety Hand care How our body regenerates Bauchübungen Keeping fit on holiday Swim training aids Wie viel Sport ist gesund Gathering mushrooms – the right way | Sanitas Magazine Living together today Digital life Online addiction Digital temptation Children and digital media Smartphone neck Our brains love habit Change my habits? You’re joking! Planning a family: Difficulties trying to have a baby Planning a family: Myth vs fact Solidarity study Newcomers Living together tomorrow Digital nomads Giesserei multi-generation house The blind film director Help instead of rent Working on the move Medical practices of the future Our skin – layer by layer Generational discussion: wishes for life Hausarzt und Corona Safe return to work Corona crisis: singing together Corona crisis: Working in intensive care Corona crisis: working in a nursing home Rest and recovery: learning from children Corona crisis: voluntary work for the needy Second opinion Relationships and children Gute Nacht! Drei Fragen, die uns den Schlaf rauben Outing The nature of lying Vorsorge Gute Gesundheitsinformation im Internet Developments for the future App check Aqualert SRC blood donor Codecheck Forest Freedom Freeletics Moment Three sleep apps reviewed PeakFinder Findery Six fitness apps reviewed Internet use High-tech trousers Prostheses Hospital of the future New skin for burns victims Online-Therapien How drugs are developed Generics Sanitas newsletter

Seven tips for a happier daily life

Is it true that we’re either happy – or not? Happiness researcher Tobias Esch believes each of us is responsible for our own happiness. We just have to give our brains the right stimuli.

Text: Helwi Braunmiller; photo: Nine Köpfer/Unsplash

Happiness is fragile. What makes us happy can change from one minute to the next, because our brain quickly gets used to stimuli. We’re all familiar with this phenomenon: At the start of a new relationship our hearts race when we look at our partner, but this gradually fades and, ideally, gives way to a calmer, warmer feeling. “Another example is the euphoria you feel after your first bungee jump. The thrill is never so great when you jump for a second, third or fourth time”, says happiness researcher and doctor Tobias Esch.

The good news is that the reward centre in our brain is involved in the production of these feelings of happiness – and it can be reprogrammed. This works especially well with rituals that are not only linked to anticipation, but also have a demonstrably positive effect on our psyche. Tobias Esch suggests that we use the BERN model as a point of reference, where B stands for Behaviour, E for Exercise, R for Relaxation and N for Nutrition. If we set positive stimuli in these areas, we not only experience anticipation, but feel good during the activity, too – every time.

Seven simple tips

Keep active: “Exercise always helps,” says Tobias Esch, “both physical and mental”. In other words, it’s a good idea to complete tasks and challenges that keep your brain alert. And get out in the fresh air at least once a day. Tobias Esch’s explanation: The reward system in our brain loves exercise. This is where it all comes together: the anticipation, strenuous activity, satisfaction and the feeling of tiredness afterwards.

Surround yourself with positive people: It’s no secret that hanging out with positive people who are close to you makes you feel good. And this works on a number of levels: the social interaction keeps us alert and takes our mind off our problems, gives us a sense of purpose and security – even at times when we don’t feel good.

Use all your senses: think about tasting, smelling and hearing the world around you – our reward centre loves it when we use all our senses on a daily basis. This way, you’ll be totally in the moment, which is a basic requirement for happiness.

Interval fasting: It sounds surprising, but it is scientifically proven that interval fasting is good for our mental well-being. “If you fast regularly for 12 to 14 hours, you have fewer inflammatory processes in the body and will also be rewarded with a reward stimulus,” explains Tobias Esch.

Conscious mini breaks: Tobias Esch recommends that we incorporate mini islands of inner contemplation into our daily routine. These can be brief, fleeting moments: consciously pause and take in your surroundings, for example when you enter a room or meet someone. These little rituals bring you back to the now.

Meditate: Many people find it hard to meditate, but give it a try. There are now good meditation apps to help you get started. The positive effect is scientifically proven: Meditation helps you find your centre, stay balanced, be in the here and now, and gather your thoughts.

Change your focus: Especially when things aren’t going well, it’s a good idea to remind ourselves that we’re responsible for our own happiness. To a large extent we can influence how we think and act. And if something doesn’t go to plan, taking a step back and observing the mechanisms and triggers can help break through the negative spirals. This brings us back to point 1, when we need to take our mind off our problems with exercise.