The relationship between how we conduct our daily lives and our health and happiness fascinates me.
Every day, you make decisions that have a significant impact on how you feel psychologically and physically, some of which appear to have nothing to do with your health and happiness.
While certain elements affecting happiness are beyond our control (sure, heredity and current life circumstances have a role), there are always steps we can take to boost our positive emotions. Consider trying a few of these — or all of them! — and you’ll be sure to brighten up your day.
Everyone’s definition of happiness is different. Maybe it’s being content with who you are for yourself. Or having a safe group of pals who accept you no matter what. Or the ability to follow your deepest desires.
Living a happier, more fulfilled life is possible, regardless of your definition of ultimate happiness. A few changes to your daily routine will help you get there.
Habits are important. If you’ve ever tried to break a terrible habit, you know how difficult it can be.
Good behaviors, too, are profoundly ingrained. Why not make positive habits a part of your daily routine?
Here are some daily, monthly, and yearly habits to get you started on your journey. Just keep in mind that everyone’s definition of happiness is unique, as is their road to reaching it.
If any of these behaviors cause you to stress or don’t match your lifestyle, get rid of them. With a little time and effort, you’ll be able to find out what works and what doesn’t.
Habits of the day
Make a cheerful expression
When you’re happy, you tend to smile. It is, however, a two-way street.
We smile because we’re happy, and smiling triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, which makes us feel better.
That doesn’t mean you have to plaster a fake smile on your face all of the time. However, the next time you’re feeling down, try smiling and see what happens. Alternatively, try smiling at yourself in the mirror first thing in the morning.
Exercise is beneficial for your mind as well as your body. Regular exercise can assist in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms while also increasing self-esteem and enjoyment.
A tiny bit of physical activity can make a significant difference. You don’t have to train for a triathlon or scale a cliff to be happy-unless that’s your thing.
The key is to avoid overexertion. You’ll probably end up frustrated if you suddenly start doing something strenuous (and sore).
Consider the following exercise ideas:
Every night after dinner, go for a walk around the block.
Enroll in a beginner’s yoga or tai chi class.
Stretch for 5 minutes to start your day. To get you started, here are some stretches.
Remind yourself of any pleasant activities you used to enjoy but have since abandoned. Or pastimes like golf, bowling, or dancing that you’ve always wanted to try.
Get plenty of rest
We all know that proper sleep is essential for optimal health, brain function, and emotional well-being, regardless of how much modern society encourages us to get less sleep.
Every night, most individuals require 7 to 8 hours of sleep. If you’re fighting the need to nap during the day or just feeling tired, it’s possible that your body is signaling to you that you need more sleep.
Here are some suggestions to help you establish a better sleep schedule:
Write down how many hours of sleep you get each night and how rested you feel. You should have a better picture of how you’re doing after a week.
Every day, including weekends, I go to bed and wake up at the same hour.
Set aside an hour before bedtime for quiet time. Relax by taking a bath, reading, or doing anything else. Drink and eat in moderation.
Maintain a dark, cool, and quiet environment in your bedroom.
Make an investment in some high-quality bedding.
If you really must nap, keep it to no more than 20 minutes.
Consult your doctor if you’re having trouble sleeping on a regular basis. You might have a sleep condition that needs to be addressed.
Plan your meals based on your mood
You’re probably aware that your eating habits have an impact on your overall physical health. However, some foods can have an impact on your mood.
Consider the following scenario:
- Serotonin, a “feel-good” hormone, is released by carbohydrates. Simply limit simple carbs—foods high in sugar and starch—because the energy boost is fleeting and you’ll crash. Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, are preferable.
- Protein-rich foods include lean meat, poultry, lentils, and dairy. These foods increase energy and concentration by releasing dopamine and norepinephrine.
- Foods that are highly processed or deep-fried can make you feel depressed. Skipping meals will have the same effect.
Begin by making one better food decision per day.
For instance, instead of a large, sweet breakfast pastry, try Greek yogurt with fruit. You’ll still get your sweet fix, plus the protein will keep you from feeling drained in the middle of the day. Each week, try incorporating a new food change.
Simply being appreciative can improve your mood and provide other advantages. If you want to improve your feelings of hope and pleasure, for example, you should practice being grateful.
Begin each day by expressing gratitude for one thing. While brushing your teeth or waiting for that snoozed alarm to go off, you can do this.
Keep an eye out for nice things in your life as you go about your day. They can be significant events, like discovering someone cares about you or receiving a well-deserved promotion.
They can also be small gestures, such as a cup of coffee delivered by a coworker or a wave from a neighbor. Perhaps it’s just the feel of the sun on your skin.
With a little effort, you might even become more conscious of all the great things around you.
Make a compliment someone
According to research, committing acts of kindness can make you feel happier.
Giving a genuine compliment is a simple and effective way to make someone’s day while also boosting your own pleasure.
If you catch the person’s eye and say it with a smile, they’ll know you’re serious. It’s possible that you’ll be shocked at how amazing it makes you feel.
If you want to compliment someone on their appearance, make sure you do so in a respectful manner. Here are a few pointers to help you get started.
Take a deep breath
You’re stiff, your shoulders are clenched, and you’re afraid you’re going to “lose it.” We’ve all experienced it.
To calm yourself down, instinct may tell you to take a long, deep breath.
It turns out that instinct was correct.
Deep breathing exercises, according to Harvard Health, might help you relax.
Work through these steps the next time you’re worried or at your wit’s end:
Close your eyes for a moment. Consider a good memory or a gorgeous location.
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose.
Exhale slowly through your mouth or nose.
Repeat this method numerous times until you feel yourself beginning to relax.
If you’re having trouble breathing slowly and deliberately, count to five in your brain with each inhale and exhale.
Accept the bad times
Although having a cheerful attitude is generally beneficial, awful things do happen to everyone. It’s simply a fact of life.
Don’t try to pretend to be joyful if you’ve received terrible news, made a mistake, or are simply feeling down.
Recognize your feelings of unhappiness and allow yourself to feel them for a moment. Then turn your attention to what caused you to feel this way and what it might take to get back on track.
Would practicing deep breathing be beneficial? A long walk in the fresh air? Is it worth it to talk things over with someone?
Allow the moment to pass and focus on yourself. Remember that no one is always happy.
Keep a journal
A notebook is an excellent tool for organizing your thoughts, analyzing your emotions, and making plans. You don’t have to be an expert in literature or write a lot to get the benefits.
It might be as basic as scribbling down a few ideas before retiring for the night. If writing some things down makes you uncomfortable, you can always shred them once you’re done. It’s the method that matters.
Don’t know what to do with all the emotions that spill out onto the page? Our approach to organizing your emotions can assist you.
Face stress head-on
Stressors abound in life, and it’s hard to avoid them completely.
It’s not necessary. Stress isn’t necessarily damaging, according to Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal, and we can even change our opinions about it. Find out more about the benefits of stress.
When faced with stressors you can’t escape, remind yourself that stress affects everyone; there’s no reason to believe it’s all your fault. And there’s a good possibility you’re stronger than you think.
Rather than allowing yourself to become overwhelmed, attempt to confront the stressor head-on. This may include starting an awkward conversation or doing extra work, but the sooner you get started, the less the pit in your stomach will become.
Get rid of the clutter
Getting rid of things may seem like a big job, but even 20 minutes a week can make a big difference.
In 20 minutes, what can you accomplish? Lots
Set a timer for 15 minutes on your phone and clean up a specific area of one room, such as your closet or that out-of-control junk drawer. Put everything back where it belongs, and throw or donate any extra junk that isn’t helping you.
To make things a bit easier, have a separate box for giveaways (and avoid creating more clutter).
Use the remaining 5 minutes to take a fast trip through your home, putting away any stray items that may have gotten in your way.
This trick can be done once a week, once a day, or whenever you feel that your space is getting out of hand.
Humans are social creatures, and having a tight group of friends can make us feel better.
Who do you miss the most? Make contact with them. Make a plan to meet up or simply have a long phone conversation.
Making new acquaintances as an adult can seem nearly impossible. However, it is not about the number of friends you have. It’s all about having meaningful connections, even if they’re only with one or two people.
Consider joining a local volunteer group or enrolling in a class. Both can assist you in finding like-minded individuals in your neighborhood. And chances are, they’re looking for companionship as well.
Companionship does not have to be restricted to human beings. According to much research, pets can provide similar benefits.
Do you adore animals but are unable to keep one as a pet? Consider volunteering at a local animal shelter to meet new people and animals alike.
Create a weekly plan
Do you feel as if you’re flailing around? At the end of each week, sit down and make a basic list for the following week.
Even if you don’t follow the schedule, setting aside time to accomplish things like washing, grocery shopping, or working on projects can help you relax.
You can buy a fancy planner, but a sticky note on your computer or a piece of paper in your pocket will do.
Dispose of your phone
Once a week, turn off all technology and put those earbuds away for at least an hour. They’ll be waiting for you later. That is if you still want them.
You might be shocked at how much of a difference unplugging makes if you haven’t done so in a while. Allow your mind to wander for a while. Read. Meditate. Take a stroll and observe your surroundings. Make an effort to socialize. Alternatively, you can be alone. Simply be.
Does it appear to be too difficult? Try doing it a few times a week for a shorter period of time.
Spend time outside in nature
According to a 2016 study, spending 30 minutes or more a week in green spaces can help decrease blood pressure and depression.
Your green area could be wherever you can enjoy some nature and fresh air, such as a neighborhood park, your own backyard, or a rooftop garden.
Even better, mix in some outdoor activity for added benefit.
Learn to meditate
There are many different types of meditation to try. They can include any combination of movement, focus, and spirituality.
Meditation does not need to be difficult. It might be as simple as 5 minutes of sitting quietly with your own thoughts. Even the previously described deep breathing exercises can be used as a type of meditation.
Think about going to therapy
When we learn to deal with adversity, we are unquestionably happier. Consider what got you through a comparable situation in the past when you’re faced with a challenge. Would it work in this situation? What other options do you have?
Consider meeting with a therapist on a weekly basis if you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall. To get treatment, you don’t need to have a diagnosed mental health illness or be in a life-threatening situation.
Therapists are educated to assist people in improving their coping abilities. Furthermore, once you begin, you are under no obligation to continue.
Even a few sessions can help you expand your emotional toolkit with new tools.
Are you concerned about the price? Here’s how to obtain counseling on a shoestring budget.
Create a self-care routine
In today’s fast-paced environment, it’s easy to forget about self-care. But, since your body transports your thoughts, desires, and spirit across the world, doesn’t it deserve some tender loving care?
Perhaps it’s taking a long, hot bath to decompress after a long week at work. Alternatively, you may want to start a skin-care routine that makes you feel pampered. Alternatively, set aside a night to slip on your coziest PJs and binge-watch a movie from beginning to end; more to improve your happiness.
Make time for it, whatever it is. If you have to, write it down in your planner, but do it.
Habits for the month
Pay it forward
Consider developing a monthly routine of giving back on a greater scale if you find that offering daily praise gives you a needed lift in your attitude.
Maybe it’s volunteering at a food bank on the third Saturday of every month, or agreeing to babysit for a friend’s children once a month.
Take yourself out at number 20
What if you don’t have anybody to go out with? What rule says you can’t go out by yourself? Your happiness is key and alone you can achieve it more.
Go to your favorite restaurant, see a movie, or take that vacation you’ve always wanted to take.
Even if you’re a social butterfly, carving out some time for yourself might help you reconnect with the things that make you truly happy.
Make a list of ideas
You arrive 10 minutes early for an appointment. What do you do with all of that spare time? Do you want to scroll through social media on your phone? Worried about the hectic week ahead of you?
During these brief periods of time, take charge of your thoughts, and don’t forget, it’s about your happiness.
Make a shortlist of good memories or things you’re looking forward to on a small piece of paper or on your phone at the beginning of each month.
Break out the list when you’re waiting for a ride, standing in line at the grocery store, or just having a few minutes to kill. You can also utilize it when you’re feeling depressed and need to switch things around in your head.
Take some time to think about what you’ve done
The beginning of a new year is an excellent opportunity to take stock of your life. As you would with an old friend, set aside some time to catch up with yourself:
What’s new with you?
So, what have you been up to lately?
Do you think you’re happier now than you were a year ago?
However, try not to be too hard on yourself when it comes to your responses; your happiness is the major meal. It’s enough that you’ve made it through another year.
Consider seeing your doctor or talking to a therapist if your mood hasn’t improved substantially in the last year. You might be depressed or have a physical problem that is making you feel bad.
Reconsider your objectives
People change, so think about where you’re going and whether you still want to get there. It’s not a sin to switch things up.
Allow yourself to let go of any ambitions that no longer serve you, even if they appear to be worthwhile on paper.
Look after your body
You’ve probably heard it before, and you’ve probably heard it again in this piece, but your physical and mental health are inextricably linked, and that serves as ingredients to your happiness.
Make sure to follow up with routine consultations to take care of your body as you develop habits to increase your happiness:
An annual physical examination should be scheduled with your primary care provider.
Take care of any chronic health issues and seek medical advice as needed.
Consult your dentist for an oral examination and follow-up as directed.
Have your eyes been examined?
Let go of grudges
It’s much easier to say than it is to do. However, you are not obligated to do so for the other person but for your happiness.
Offering forgiveness or letting go of a grudge might sometimes be more about self-care than compassion for others.
Examine your interpersonal interactions. Do you have any negative feelings or animosity toward someone? If that’s the case, try reaching out to them to bury the hatchet.
It isn’t necessary for this to be a reconciliation. It’s possible that you simply need to end the connection and move on.
If talking to someone isn’t an option, try writing a letter to express your feelings. You are not required to send it to them. It might be liberating just to get your feelings out of your head and into the world.