For 2019, we are putting a major emphasis on being healthy and happy! What really makes a person happy? What makes one person more happy than another? The truth is, there are many choices that can be made every day to create a more genuinely happy person. The following tips are ways to increase the joy in your life by making specific, positive choices to do so.
- Planned Technology Breaks
Whether it’s emails, games, or social media, the constant staring at the screen causes mental burnout. Choose a time in the evening to put your phone out of sight and participate in activities that make you happier, like cooking, going for a walk, or playing a board game with your family! If that’s not possible (i.e. duty calls 24/7), at the very least, you should keep your bedroom phone-free and create a stress-free haven for resetting until the next day. It’s also important to take breaks from social media. Even with all the good it can lead to, it’s even better to detach and remind yourself that living in the moment is better than scrolling through a feed.
- Experiences with Nature
Getting outside in the fresh air is always sure to lead to positive internal feelings. Sometimes interacting with nature is all you need to relax and reprogram your mind to take on the next challenge. Get your feet in the sand, walk through the hills or your neighborhood, or sit on your front porch and enjoy a sunset. Taking in the beauty of whatever nature is around you is the fastest and easiest way to ground yourself and put a smile on your face.
- Do Something Active
Physical activity causes your brain to release endorphins, which are a chemical that trigger a positive feeling in the body. Even if you don’t think you like to work out (my hand is raised over here), don’t you always leave the gym, yoga studio, or end a run feeling happier than when you began? Not only do endorphins help you feel more positive, but you also tend to feel proud of yourself for getting up and moving, over sitting on the couch binge-watching a show.
- Eat Healthily
We generally feel what we put into our bodies (hence being sick the day after drinking), so try to make the majority of the food or drinks you put into your body something that’s good for. Try to make plant-based foods like fruits or veggies what you consume most and eat to nourish your body. If you aren’t able to give your body everything it needs in a given day, it’s great to supplement! Choose foods or drinks that are fortified with vitamins and nutrients you may be missing out on, like VitaCup’s infused coffee pods and teas.
- Get Positive Vibes
Surround yourself with positive, happy people. This one may seem obvious, but sometimes we forget how draining it can be to have someone else’s negativity, anxiety, or anger rub off onto us. Energy, or “vibes,” are not just a made up intangible that doesn’t affect us. When we are around people who find the good in things, choose to be happy, and don’t allow the little things to get them down, we are more likely to be that way as well! Make a point to spend time with friends and family that make you laugh, lift you up, and make your day better.
- Practice Optimism
This is something that takes exactly what it’s labeled: practice. Being optimistic and positive all the time can seem difficult or unrealistic, but the more we practice, the better we get! Start out with one little thing that tends to annoy or irritate you in a given day and make a promise to yourself to try to overcome it in a positive way, find the silver lining, or just breathe and let it go. Once you overcome that, you can begin to overcome other little things, until it becomes second nature. Try starting each day believing that something good is going to happen.
- Purposefully Breathe More
Work on controlled breathing and meditation. When you physically let the air out of your lungs (actually open your mouth to release your exhale) you can feel relief of stress and emotion. Complete this deep breathing exercise at least 10 times in a row to center yourself in the middle of the day, or whenever you feel you’re usually the most stressed out.
- Forgive People
Have you ever heard the quote “holding onto anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die?” This quote holds so much truth. When you hold a grudge and harbor anger for someone or something, it will begin to affect you physically and in a negative way. Work to decide what is important in life and try to let the little things go. Forgive even those who don’t deserve your forgiveness. You don’t have to have them in your life, but you can forgive them within yourself to allow only positive thinking back into your life!
- Be Present
Living in the moment has become fairly difficult with the increased use of cell phones, apps, social media, etc. Sometimes we forget to look around and enjoy the experience we are having and the people we should be sharing it with. When you actively try to be completely present in a moment (use all your senses to experience what’s going on), you’ll be surprised how much more enjoyable it will be. Not to mention, how much more vivid your memory of that awesome experience will be. Take things one day at a time and only worry about what’s happening right now. You can’t change the past and the future hasn’t happened yet.
- Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep doesn’t just make toddlers cranky! We all need adequate sleep in order to recharge our system and be better the next day. Decide on a sleep schedule and stick to it. Keeping electronics out of your room will help with this. Use an old-school alarm clock (or plug your phone in across the room) and don’t allow yourself to stay up past a reasonable hour online shipping or sending emails. When you’re rested, you wake up happier and your day is more successful from the moment you open your eyes. You should get a minimum of 8-hours of sleep per night to be fully functioning the next day.
- Be Kind to Yourself
What you think, you are. You’d be surprised how much the voice in your head can impact the way you think and feel about life. How do you talk to yourself? Are you loving and encouraging? Do you believe you can do it all? If so, good! That’s how it should be! Program your brain to speak kindly to yourself and think positively and your mood will reflect it. Negative self-talk is one of the most damaging things for happiness, so give yourself a break, would ya?
- Smile More
As silly as it seems, the act of smiling actually improves your happiness. You’ll find that if you force yourself to think of something happy (an upcoming vacation, your child’s piano recital, or your best friend saying something hilarious) the smile on your face will translate to brightening your mood in an instant. Especially during times of stress or negative emotions, take a moment to smile about something you can’t help but think is positive or funny and you will begin to feel happier in that moment.
- Help Others
Have you ever volunteered for a charity organization that inspires you or assists a cause that you feel passionate about? It feels good. This is probably one of the best ways to feel good about ourselves because it’s a domino effect of positivity! While you’re doing something that makes you feel genuinely happy inside, you’re also helping someone else in need. This doesn’t just have to be charity, helping anyone around us who is brave enough to ask or doesn’t ask but you know you could offer a hand will make you feel happier! It’s truly a win-win.
- Practice Gratitude
This tip can sometimes seem difficult when you’re not in a positive mood, or you feel like the world is against you, but if you truly decide to commit to daily gratitude, you will begin to see a change. Start by writing one thing you are grateful for that day, every day, on a small piece of paper and throw it into a jar. It can be the smallest thing, like that the sun was shining at lunch, or you got all green lights on the drive to work. Then, by the end of the year, you can look through all these notes of gratitude and realize how much you have to be thankful for!
- Follow Your Passion
Nothing will make you happier than actually living your passion. Even if your passion is not what you are able to do to make a living, it doesn’t mean you can’t live your passion in your spare time. Whether it’s writing poetry, playing sports, cooking, or dancing, make time to do what you love as often as you are able to and you’ll find how much happier you will become over time.
Don’t let happiness pass you by! The most essential way to become a happier person is to take action and make it happen. Unfortunately, happiness is not a passive thing. Aligning yourself with people, experiences, and activities that are positive take thought and effort. Sticking to habits you know will make you happier takes time and effort. The good news is that once you make the decision and commit to it, it will get easier and more natural to do more of what makes you happy!