Today is International Happiness day and in honour of this wonderful celebratory day I have complied a list of ways you can make yourself feel instantly happier. Try these tips over the next week and see just how it affects your mood and adds a positive outlook on life.
1: Be Kind
Kindness is something that is beneficial to all of us all. We live in a modern world where we have access to lots of technology that is designed to give us more time and yet for some unknown reason we seem to have less and less time available.
This can cause anxious feelings, stress and nervous dispositions in us all and being so busy sometimes can mean we forget who may need our help around us.
Today, try to make some time to give something back to someone. Perhaps it’s a phone call to a relative that you keep meaning to make, or maybe popping by to give a friend a long overdue hug. Perhaps you’ll help someone cross the road or carry someones bags who looks in need.
There are many ways to spread some kindness. You’ll notice how instantly you’ll feel better in yourself after doing the good deed, and relish in that.
2: Write down what you’re thankful for
Some days it can feel like it’s very hard to find the good, especially if you’ve had a really tough day, however, there will be good things happening around you and if you start noticing these then you are on a fast tracked course to feeling happier.
To begin with try writing down each evening 3 good things that you experienced that day. This can be anything, something that made you smile, feel good about yourself, a story you heard that made you feel better about the world. Make a conscious effort to do this every night for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks look back at your list. You’ll notice how much you had to be thankful for. The point of this exercise is to train the brain to start noticing the good all around you, and by creating a habit of this, you’ll be noticing the good daily without having to write it down.
You know the phrase ‘fake it until you make it’? Well a great example which shows this to be true is the affect smiling has on us.
If you smile, even when you aren’t feeling particularly happy the act of smiling activates neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and endorphins which send messages that reduce stress and act as natural anti depressant.
We also know that smiling is contagious. The next time you pass by someone that looks down, flash them a smile and watch as they then smile back. It’s a guaranteed mood lifter!
Have you ever had that feeling of dread before a workout, felt like you can’t wait for it to be over then as soon as it’s finished realise you feel fantastic and are so glad you found the motivation to complete it. Well that’s because one of your happy hormones was working hard whilst you were working out. During exercise our bodies produce mood boosting chemicals called Endorphins which place the body in a state of euphoria.
Some of us prefer a brisk walk outside in the fresh air, a dance around the kitchen to some of your favourite songs or a full blown high intensity workout. Whatever is your preference get moving, work to get your heart pumping and your energy levels rising. It is recommend that 20 minutes of each day are assigned to physical activity.
5: Make some plans
It’s so wonderful to have exciting things to look forward to. Experience creates more happiness within us than things do which is why studies have shown the anticipation of an experience brought more happiness than the anticipation to buy new things.
By having something to look forward to we enjoy the build up to the event, then the enjoyment in the event itself, followed by the enjoyment experienced by reflecting on the event.
Take a look at your plans for the coming month, and make sure you have events scheduled in that make you excited. Then start thinking about them to build the anticipation!
6: Eat Well
We know which foods are good for us, but did you know that certain foods are actually great for boosting our moods and increasing our happiness?
Greek yoghurt is an excellent source of calcium which alerts your brain to release feel good neuro-transmitters. Asparagus is full of tryptophan, which creates serotonin, one of your primary mood regulating hormones.
Dark chocolate is also a fantastic source of instant mood boost. Pure cocoa improves concentration and blood flow to your brain which helps you feel more energised.
7: Get more sleep
Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night. A few bad nights sleep can wreak havoc on our waking lives. Try to stay away from stimulants like coffee, alcohol and energy drinks too close to bedtime to avoid interrupted sleep.
The age we live in also is fantastic for technology and information at our fingertips but not so good for our sleep patterns. The lights from screens on our mobile phones, tablets and e readers can really interrupt our sleep. Try picking up that paper back book you want to read. Maybe have a bath in the hour leading up to bedtime to relax yourself. Have that time away from the screens before turning out the lights.
8: Practise the art of ‘Letting go’
When you have experienced something negative in your life which has left you feeling unhappy it can be hard to let it go. The key to feeling happier is exactly that. You must learn to release negative emotions from painful memories and allow positive interaction to flood your life. Rather than holding a grudge and feeling bitter about an experience, learn to accept what happened and move on.
Make the choice to forgive those that have hurt you and take yourself away from painful situations that bring you down.
Life can get very busy, there can be lists upon lists of things you need to get done. Have you ever been so busy and distracted that you forgot to eat properly? Or got into bed realising that you didn’t take a break all day? It is so important for our well being to take time to look after ourselves. Today, make sure you set aside 30 minutes to focus on you. Perhaps a little meditation, listen to a hypnosis download, read a book or have a bath. Try not to let anything distract you within this 30 minutes and try again tomorrow to do the same.
Soon you’ll factor in ‘you’ time into your diary and realise it is just as important as all of the other appointments you have.
10: Try something new
As humans we are fantastic learners, and learning needn’t stop at school. Expose yourself to a new hobby, interest or idea. Learning keeps us curious and engaged with the world around us. It also can massively boost our self confidence as well as giving us a huge sense of accomplishment leading to happiness.
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