Happiness takes a bit of effort – some days more than others – but it doesn’t always have to be a big production. There are small ways to be happier, starting with positive thoughts. Life is all about perspective and regardless of what transpires, your attitude is key.
There are good days and there are bad days – that is just a fact of life. There are also a lot of regular days in-between. But no matter how down you might be feeling or how caught up in your routine you may become, it’s important to prioritize your happiness.
You don’t have to be a scientist to figure out that being happy feels good for you, but according to the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, research proves that being happy is good for you. Aside from the jolt of dopamine, happiness has been linked to improving many aspects of life, from helping to increase productivity to longevity.
Here are a few ideas on how to be happy every day.
BREAK A SWEAT
Everyone knows that exercise is good, but a lot of people have a hard time finding the motivation to begin. Not only does it keep your weight in check, keeping physically active makes you feel better. It’s no coincidence that those who regularly exercise are less stressed, less anxious and generally happier.
Are you tired of feeling tired? You’re not alone. According to studies, about one-third of Americans say they don’t get enough sleep every night. While many claim they can function with five hours of sleep, most doctors agree that adults should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night for optimal health. Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the small ways to be happier as it helps us recover and repair our bodies from the day. If you constantly find yourself fighting off the urge to nap during the day, your body is telling you to get more sleep.
PERFORM A RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS
A simple way to instantly feel better is do something special for someone else. Studies have shown that personal acts of good to others often make us feel better. Many will attest that kindness is contagious and something we should all do. For example:
- Leave a good tip for exceptional service.
- Pick up litter.
- Donate or volunteer for a charity.
- Send a positive message to someone.
- Smile and compliment someone who looks unhappy.
- Lend a helping hand to a friend, neighbor or coworker.
Nature is beautiful. Spending time outdoors is one of the most effect ways to improve your health and happiness. Get a breath of fresh air and some warm sunlight and open up those shuttered windows in your mind. Adventuring outside for a walk or even just to sit and relax is an easy, convenient way to increase happiness. Walking in nature can also make us forget about our problems and appreciate the beauty of the outdoors.
LIMIT SCREEN TIME
Are your digital habits getting out of hand? For many, the reliance on technology can feel like an addiction, and for some it is a true addiction. Try a digital detox. Taking a break from all the notifications, emails and texts to spend time with others or alone in your thoughts will help you in the long run. Your mind and body will thank you later.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH HAPPY PEOPLE
Surrounding yourself with people who have a positive influence on your life is one of the best ways to find happiness. It is refreshing to be around people who don’t waste time and energy complaining. Don’t let the Debbie Downers bring you down with them. Ask yourself who you enjoy spending time with and create a circle of happy and supportive friends.
The road to happiness starts with valuing yourself one step at a time. When you take care of yourself, you experience a number of benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety, increased positive thinking and boosted immunity. Take a break from your daily routine to do something that’s just for you. This doesn’t always mean booking a vacation. Baking, reading a good book or listening to your favorite podcast are a few small ways to be happier.
Although new challenges can be intimidating, trying new things boosts your well-being in many ways. Focusing on developing new knowledge or skills puts you in a state of flow and fosters a sense of accomplishment. When we are curious and engaged in learning, we build confidence and a sense of self-efficacy. So what is it you’ve always want to learn? Figure it out, and go after it.
Smiling causes the brain to release dopamine, which makes us feel happy. A sincere grin can go a long way as it’ll lighten your mood and make others feel better.
REWIRE YOUR BRAIN WITH MEDITATION
Including as little as five minutes of meditation into your routine can help to improve your mind and body. There are many methods you can explore to clear your mind from breathing tricks that can center you throughout the day to setting aside a few moments in the morning to set a positive direction. Those who meditate regularly are less stressed, have a more positive attitude and sleep better.
DECLUTTER YOUR SPACE
After decluttering your mind with meditation, take the time to declutter your space. Sometimes less mess means less stress and that can lead to improved happiness. While most see it as a daunting task, taking the time to declutter your home and other areas can refresh your mind and result in positive changes in your life.