There is this idea about happiness that goes, ‘Everything has to be ‘just right’ before you can be Happy’. Many believe that you can only be happy if an ideal set of circumstances happen. I don’t agree.
Being happy is not a binary thing. It’s not the case of, ‘you’re either happy or you’re not’. You could be going through a terrible time right now and still be happy.
What I do believe is that Happiness is a habit. It needs to be formed. It needs to be practiced.
Try these 8 ways to make you feel happier. Some of these will help make you happier in just a few minutes. But also, if you practice these regularly, you’ll find yourself a happier person over all.
There is truth to the advice given in Nat King Cole’s song, ‘Smile’. It goes ‘Smile though your heart is breaking…. Smile even though it’s aching’. It is really good advice.
Your brain is wired to recognize how your body moves. When the muscles in your face move to create a smile, they send a signal to your brain that tells it to create a better mood.
It might sound silly, but if you are feeling lousy or sad, sit yourself down and smile for a good minute or two.
If you are outside or in a crowd, try smiling at someone and establish a connection.
2. Express Gratitude
Gratitude works by making you see that you are in a better situation than you actually think you are. At the very least, it helps you see that despite how bad you think things are, there still are nuggets of positivity in your life.
Expressing gratitude also helps you have a more positive attitude towards life.
In the mornings, before you get out of bed, lie there for a few minutes and list off three things that you are grateful for. You can just say it to yourself out loud, or you can keep a journal by your beside and list it down.
You can also do this right before you go to sleep, especially if you have trouble sleeping. When you are in bed, think of three things you are grateful for and then think of these three things as you are going to sleep.
3. Be Kind to Someone
It doesn’t have to be anything big. It can be something small and simple. Call old relative that you know loves to hear from you. Listen to a friend or a workmate that you know needs to unload. Get a random thoughtful gift for someone. It can be anything.
This works to make you happier because seeing someone made by happy by your own actions can activate the same feelings in yourself. It is almost like you are sharing in the happiness that you helped create in them.
4. Walk, Get Outside
If you are feeling crappy, bogged down at work, trapped at home, or whatever it may be, go and take a walk. It can be a short walk, 30 minutes or so.
A form of exercise, walking, can make the brain release endorphins. At the very least, it helps you break a rut. If you have been cooped up at work, puzzling over a problem that you just can’t seem to solve, take a break and go for a walk outside.
If walking outside is not an option, walk around the house or the office building. Get off your butt and start moving.
5. Call a Friend
You can call a friend and unload some of your stresses, is one way of feeling happier. But, what I suggest is calling a friend and just catching up. Ask them how they are, and tell them of the things that are going on in your life as well.
Social contact is one of the main contributors to happiness. Often, when we are sad or feeling lonely, we tend to double down and keep to ourselves. But, this can instead lead to making you feel worse.
Ok, if you are not in the mood for a call, message them instead. Start a conversation.
As stated above, exercise releases endorphins that can help you become happier. In addition to endorphins, your brain also produces a host of other ‘happy’ chemicals. There aren’t many other activities that can have such a positive impact as exercise does.
Studies have shown that even just 20 minutes of exercise can lead to a boost in mood for up to 12 hours. In addition to the short term, regular exercise can also make you healthier and happier in the long term.
7. Get the Right Amount of Sleep
Getting the right amount of sleep is integral to a good mood. When you are sleep deprived, you can feel crappy, slow, and just lousy overall. If you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, you’ll find your energy levels are up and that you are happier overall.
If you have trouble getting enough sleep, try setting alarms on your phone. Set two alarms – one, an hour before you bedtime and a second one for when you should get to bed.
During the one hour allowance, give yourself time to wind down, cool down, and realize that it is time for you to sleep.
Meditation is the practice of sitting silently for a few minutes and go inwards to pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Studies have shown that regular meditation can help reduce your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, thus making you a happier person overall.
Make it a practice to meditate every day. It can be in the morning, when you get up, at night before you go to bed, or in it could be done at any time in the middle of your day. It just takes a few minutes.
To meditate, you can just sit quietly and be alone with your thoughts for a few minutes or you can listen to a guided meditation audio track.
Happiness can also be found in being in a relationship. If that is what you want, check out the video below…