Although everyone has their own vision about true happiness, we are all in that quest for finding purpose to our life and be happy. Some of us need security and friends who accept them unconditionally, some are motivated by the freedom to pursue their own dreams while others are just looking to be at peace with themselves. Regardless of these purposes living a satisfied, happy life is within reach with some good, deeply ingrained habits.
So, are you interested in making some tweaks to your regular routine that will help you get there? If so, we’ve prepared for you a bunch of positive habits that will kickstart your quest. Let’s see which of these daily, monthly or yearly practices work for you:
Did you know that smiling is a two-way street? Not only people smile when they’re happy but when we smile, our brain releases dopamine which in turn makes us happier. How cool is that?
Now, nobody is expecting to go around with a fake smile on your face but the next time you feel quite low, you can try cracking a smile to see how it feels, or you can just start your day by smiling at your beautiful self in the mirror.
Exercise is another great way to reduce stress, fight of those anxiety feelings and boost happiness. So don’t workout just for your body, but do it for your self-esteem too. Choose a physical activity that you like so you will not end up overwhelmed, frustrated and sore and exercise daily. You will see that it can make a lot of difference. You can start with daily walks after dinner, a yoga or a tai chi class or with 5 minutes of morning stretching. Or if you have activities that you’ve always wanted to try such as dancing, swimming or bowling, now it’s the perfect moment to follow your dreams.
- Get plenty of sleep
Getting the adequate amount of sleep is vital to our general health and emotional well-being. We generally need to sleep about 8 hours every night so even if the society steers you toward less sleep, you should find yourself offering your body the amount of sleep it needs to rest. If not, you will feel tired the whole day, you will experience brain fog and a bad mood.
Don’t know how to build a better sleep routine? Here are a few tips to help you improve your sleep patterns:
- For a week, write down how many hours of sleep you get every night and how tired you feel after.
- Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same hour daily, even in weekends.
- One hour before going to bed, try to relax by taking a bath and avoid drinking or eating.
- Keep your bedroom at the ideal sleeping temperature, cool but also dark and quiet.
- Use some good bedding so you’ll feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning.
- If you can’t skip napping during the day, try to limit it to maximum 20 minutes.
- If you still have problems sleeping, consider talking to your doctor. You may have a sleep disorder that requires treatment.
- Eat with mood in mind
Foods can have a powerful impact on your physical health and they can also affect your mental health. It is known that carbs or foods high in sugar and starch can release the feeling good hormone- serotonin- but if you don’t want your energy to be brough down shortly after you eat, try to keep them to the minimum or choose to eat more complex carbs such as whole grains, veggies and legumes instead.
Foods high in protein can also help you when you feel down because they release norepinephrine and dopamine, which boost concentration and energy. So make sure you add more poultry, lean meat, dairy and legumes that are high in protein in your diet. Start by making a better food choice each day and avoid skipping meals. And if you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, try some Greek Yoghurt with fruits instead of sugary treats that contain huge amounts of refined sugar.
- Be grateful
Start being grateful for the small things if you want a mood boost. Remember each day all the things you are grateful for and this practice will have a great impact on your feelings of hope and overall happiness. Make a habit of always keeping an eye on the good things in your life like that cup of coffee your colleague bought for you, the way the warmth of the sun feels on your skin or knowing that someone out there loves you. In short time, you will be more and more aware of the great things in your life and feel happier.
- Give a compliment
Every time you perform an act of kindness, you will receive a boost of happiness. Is enough to give someone a compliment to brighten their day or to catch their eye and smile to them, but make sure you’re doing it in a respectful way.
- Breathe deeply
Deep breathing can help you feel less tight, calm yourself down and reduce stress. So the next time you don’t feel good, close your eyes, imagine a beautiful place or a happy memory and take a slow, deep breath through your mouth or nose. Repeat the inhaling and exhaling until you relax and start feeling better.
- Acknowledge the unhappy moments
Although having a positive attitude is always good, there are situations beyond our control that can bring us down. We all do mistakes; we all get bad news and, in these situations, we can’t just pretend to be happy. Unhappy moments are a part of our life and we should acknowledge these feelings and experience them before shifting our focus to what might help us recover.
- Face stress head-on
Not only it’s impossible to avid all the stress factors in our life but we also don’t have to. By reminding ourselves that everyone has their own reasons to feel stressed and that we are all stronger than we might believe, we can tackle the stressor head-one while that pit in our stomach begins to shrink.
Making time weekly to declutter our life and get rid of things that are not serving us anymore can have a huge impact on our happiness. Just start with your drawers and put away all those out-of-control junk that you don’t need. Keep a giveaway box where you can place all the extra clutter and do a short daily walk through your home to see what stray items are blocking your path. Do this trick once a day or once a week and make sure your space is not getting out of control.
- See friends
We are social beings so it is very important to reach out our friends whenever we need feel down or need social interaction. We all have meaningful relationships but in case you don’t have to many friends, you can always try to take a class or get involved in a local volunteer group where you can find like-minded people that are looking for friends too. A pet can offer amazing benefits as well so consider adopting one or go to a local animal shelter where you can make both animal and human friends.
- Plan your week
Start your week with a basic plan where you block some time for grocery, laundry, work projects but also some time for yourself. You don’t have to stick to the exact plan but organizing can help you quiet your mind.
- Ditch your phone
It is very important to unplug from technology every day. So turn off those electronics and let your mind wonder for a change. Go out and pay attention to your surroundings, meditate, be alone, take time for introspection. You will be surprised what a difference ditching your phone can make.
- Get into nature
Spending time in nature can aid anxiety and help you fight depression. So, if you have a park nearby, a garden or a place where you can take some fresh air and appreciate nature, you should spend more time outdoors and enhance your happiness. This is the fastest way to lower the risk of developing psychiatric disorders — and to improve your well-being.
- Explore meditation
There are many forms of meditation you can try. Some of them involve spirituality, others involve movement and some a combination of both. Sometimes is enough to stay alone with your own thoughts for a few minutes while doing some deep breathing exercises and achieve a deep state of relaxation.
- Consider therapy
Although most of these techniques should help you cope with all sorts of obstacles, sometimes you might need to address your problem to a psychotherapist. They will help you improve your coping skills and add some new goodies to your emotional toolbox.