Happiness. What does it mean to you? For me, it’s going to bed satisfied that I gave my best in everything I undertook during the day.
Regardless of our life goals, we all want to be happy. While our situations may affect our level of happiness—and that’s OK—we can build daily habits to help us stay happy more consistently.
The following are nine simple yet powerful ways to live a happier, more satisfying life.
Reading has long been an important tool for mood stabilization, memory enhancement, and critical thinking. Bibliotherapy or book therapy is common among mental health experts to support patients with emotional difficulties. Research has shown that reading can enhance our peace of mind by helping us sleep better, lowering our stress level, and even decreasing the likelihood of depression. If you don’t currently have the habit of reading regularly, now it’s time to start.
Spend Time with Positive People
There is no faster way to spoil your day than to spend it with folks with a negative outlook on life. Research shows we pick up the mood of people we spend time with via a phenomenon called emotional contagion. If you are serious about happiness, hang with friends who can transmit their positive energy to you.
Forgive and Forget
Have you realized how fast children regain their joy after getting reprimanded? Kids hold no grudge! They forgive and forget. While there’s nothing wrong with getting angry, it creates damage when we hold on to it. With practice, that’s a skill anyone can learn. Why not send a text of reconciliation to someone who offended you?
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”Dalai Lama
Give More Than You Take
Remember last you contributed to a cause? Research shows that giving can increase life satisfaction. Any minor act of kindness that brightens someone’s day will raise your own happiness. It need not be material. Appreciating and complimenting a stranger or a loved one will go a long way.
According to neurologists, a simple smile can enlighten your mood, lower stress, and even strengthen your immune system. A smile is associated with chemicals in the brain such as dopamine that can expand our feelings of happiness. Smile and happiness form a virtuous cycle. When you smile, you feel happy and when you are happy; you smile. So, start smiling today.
Let Go of Expectations
Expectations—personal or external—can create stress, complacency, and dissatisfaction with ourselves. When we focus unduly on success, we become vulnerable to criticism, and we lose the capacity to take risks, learn, and enjoy ourselves.
Have you been postponing your happiness until you reach success? Now, it’s the time to shirk all expectations and start living every day of your life. Life is short. It’s your responsibility to make the most of it!
Age, life’s worries, and our fear of being judged cause us to lose our childlike playfulness. Playfulness is not only a manifestation of a child’s immaturity but an expression of a state of happiness and satisfaction. David Keller, founder and chairperson of IDEO, the American psychologist Abraham Maslow and many others all agree that playfulness has helped them think more creatively, increase their focus, courage, and flexibility.
Playful people’s positive life views give them more resilience to face the adversities of life. Rid yourself of all fear of embarrassment and make playfulness a daily habit.
Treat Yourself Well
Treating yourself means:
- Sleep well. Get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Adequate sleep has been shown to promote good health, brain functioning, and emotional well-being.
- Eat healthy. Your body is a temple and you should be selective about what you put into it. You need not be a nutritionist to know that a balanced diet is a catalyst of vibrant health. When you are healthy, you can keep the doctor away and focus on being happy.
- Exercise. You don’t need to get a yearly membership at your local gym. A five-minute exercise at least four days a week will suffice. An article published in the New York Times purports that “small amounts of exercise could have an outsize effect on happiness.” That’s because our body releases endorphins during exercise that triggers positive emotions.
What are you grateful for? Since 2016, I developed the habit of reminding myself of all the things—however small they may be—that I am grateful for. This has enabled me to develop the skills to cope with life challenges with a more positive attitude. Studies show that the simple act of reminding ourselves of what are grateful for can affect our feelings of hope and happiness.
All throughout the day, remember to acknowledge everything—big or small—you are thankful for. Your health, your partner, your job, the rain, the beautiful sun, etc. You won’t be happy when you get that promotion or win the lottery if you are not enjoying the little things now. The gratification we get from a major achievement is fleeting. Only when we focus on the positive aspects of everyday life can we genuinely be happy.
Learning to maintain our natural state of happiness should not be a euphoria. It’s our duty to make life beautiful and worth living. As Henry James put it, “Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so much matter what you do in particular so long as you have your life. If you haven’t had that what have you had?”
I hope this article strengthens your resolve to enjoy your life to the fullest.
What is something valuable you learned from this article? Comment below!