Despite our seemingly different paths in life, the startling commonality that we all share with billions of people is in this world is our quest for happiness. After all, is that not what we ultimately want? TO BE HAPPY?
Happiness to you might be being fit, traveling to distant places, a perfect relationship, or pursuing your passion in life. The definition of true happiness varies from person to person. Regardless of what your definition of happiness is, by embracing a few simple habits, it is certainly possible to live a happier and more fulfilling life.
Read on as I’ve compiled a list of 13 action steps that you can take right now to live a happier life.
1. Maintain a healthy level of physical activity. (EXERCISE!)
There have been countless studies that link regular exercise with reduced levels of tension and anxiety, improved mood, and better sleep. Regularly indulging yourself in some physical activity will definitely boost your health and overall wellbeing. It does not have to be an extremely rigorous workout routine! (Though you can totally do it if extra intense workouts are what makes you happy 😉).
Basic physical activities like short walks, simple stretches, a fun game of basketball with friends, or even light yoga for 15 minutes will do wonders for your health and mind. Pick an activity that you ENJOY doing. That is important.
AND do not forget to take a shower every single day! You may have noticed that your mood feels lighter and happier after a shower. This is because showering can influence the balance of feel-good hormones in your body consequently impacting your mood.
Our overall health has a significant impact on our happiness factor. It is no doubt that you feel gloomy when you have even the littlest discomfort in your body. So, keeping your body fit and healthy can help you lead a much happier life.
2. Eat clean, healthy, and nutritious food.
Often you might have experienced that you feel an instant rush of happiness when eating a tub of ice cream or a bag of salted chips. But after a while, it makes you irritable, moody, and lethargic.
This is because processed foods usually tend to tamper with your blood sugar levels and cause them to spike up or fall down rapidly, leading to unwanted mood swings. They mess with your digestion, cause unwanted weight gain, and are detrimental to your health.
While it is okay to indulge in your favorite foods once in a while, eating unhealthy food frequently will make you less energetic, sick, and consequently less happy.
Develop a healthy eating pattern. Reduce the intake of processed sugars and excessively salty foods and eat more wholesome foods. Switch from chips and fried snacks to fruits, replace sodas with fresh juices. See the wonders these simple changes do on your overall state of mind. You will feel lighter, happier, and fit as a fiddle.
3. Learn to practice gratitude since GRATITUDE=HAPPY YOU!
It’s easy to forget the little blessings that life has bestowed on us when we’re swept up in the hustle and bustle of everyday work. Only when we dwell a little longer on the seemingly insignificant details do we discover how many miracles we have that we need to be thankful for! Our family and friends, our health, the fact that we have food on our table today when a family somewhere is probably going to bed hungry, the list can go on.
Start by appreciating the little things in life, and you will automatically feel a sense of contentment and joy. The next time your parent does your laundry or your spouse cooks for you, do not forget to say THANK YOU!! (Brownie points for hugs and kisses <3)
P.S: Do not forget to thank the Earth that blesses us with so much abundance each day. The shining sun and the glowing moon deserve our gratitude too.
If it isn’t too overwhelming, I suggest you keep a gratitude journal.
4. Be someone’s sunshine.
You might have experienced this first hand. Volunteering at an NGO or even helping a friend in need brings you a sense of happiness and satisfaction that cannot be put into words. It feels like magic!
There have been scientific studies that suggest that helping others might induce physiological changes in your brain. This impacts your happy hormones contributing to an increase in your overall happiness.
Take some time to sign up for volunteer work at a local old age home or even an animal shelter. Experience the fulfillment you will receive by helping someone in need. It is miraculous.
5. Take a break from technology.
Sometimes a digital detox is all you need to get those happy hormones running! There is no denying that social media helps us stay connected with people like never before. But it is also true that social media makes us compare ourselves and our lives to others like never before!
We tend to believe in the rosy pictures people paint on social media, which is often far from the truth. Exotic vacations, Perfect bodies, Adventurous lives, Dreamy romances! No one! I repeat. NO ONE will ever post a picture of the struggles in life, the lousy reality behind the scenes that makes us all human!
Never ever compare yourself to people on social media. Because it is unreal. The likes on your picture on Instagram or the number of friends you have on Facebook do not determine who you are! You are unique in your own way and beautiful in your own way. I always tell this, and I’ll tell it again. Do not use someone else’s life as a yardstick of your happiness. You do you, and happiness will follow.
So put down the gadgets, log out of social media and look at how beautiful the real world is! Connect with people in real than virtual. Go out strolling in the park than endlessly scrolling through Instagram. I promise you, you will feel much happier.
6. Spend time with people who matter.
Needless to say, being close to your loved ones sparks a sense of joy within you. But because of your busy college life and hectic work schedules, you end up spending less time with family and friends. (This defeats the entire purpose of you working your ass off to be able to give your family a happy life!)
Humans are social creatures. Remember, in the end, it isn’t money or possessions but people that make you happy.
Make efforts to take time out for family and friends. (P.S: Pets are family! )Go camping, watch a movie together or have a picnic at the park. Whatever the activity, if it grows your bond stronger with your loved ones, DO IT!
7. Get in touch with nature.
Spending time with nature has been found to help reduce levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Even if you cannot spare time to go on long hikes, make it a point to spend at least an hour or two every week outdoors.
Give your computer screen and mobile phones a break! Go to your local park, maybe even your own backyard garden, or go on a short hike on the weekend with your family. You will definitely find yourself much calmer and composed, ready to take on the challenges of the new week ahead.
8. Let there be self-LOVE.
This is no mumbo-jumbo. We all need those no-nonsense days where we are the main characters of our movie. Treat yourself to a self-care routine that you enjoy. This could be a session at the spa, a hike, or even a day in bed watching a movie you love. Whatever YOU like.
But know that self-love goes much beyond a massage at the spa. Learn to love yourself, your body, your voice, or literally YOU just the way you are. You do not need to compare yourself to anyone. It is just a recipe for unhappiness.
Understand that you are enough. You are more than enough just the way you are. Be grateful for what you are and all the blessings you have in life. This will boost your happiness like a rocket!
Take care of your physical and mental wellbeing. Emotional health is just as important as physical health. Do not be afraid to seek the help of a therapist if you feel you need to talk to someone about your mental health. It is crucial for a happy life that you love yourself.
9. Give compliments more often.
It is no surprise that even a little compliment can brighten your day by a billion times. Who does not love getting complimented, right? Then why not give compliments? Seeing someone happy will bring you happiness and joy. Plus, it will also deepen your relationship with them.
So the next time you see your spouse dressed well or you just want to appreciate your friend for being there for you, do not hesitate to let them know!
10. Practice Meditation.
I cannot stress enough how important meditation is for you. Meditation has the power to increase the release of feel-good chemicals like endorphins and serotonin. It helps to reduce negative emotions and keeps you happy and calm. It enhances feelings of positivity and energizes you.
Spare at least 5 minutes every day to practice meditation. Try it for yourself to discover the massive benefits it offers.
Do not prejump to the conclusion that it is hard! I know there will be a lot of chatter going on around your head, distraction and boredom too! But with time, you will get better. Sit still, take deep breathes and be present in the moment.
11. Get sufficient sleep every single day!
Do not UNDERESTIMATE the importance of sleep! DO NOT!!
A good night’s sleep is one of the most important factors that decide your mood the next day. If you haven’t gotten enough sleep, you will be irritated and cranky. Sleep deprivation has been linked to depression, anxiety, and increased stress levels. So, make sure you get an adequate amount of sleep, a minimum of 6 hours daily.
Also, try to develop a fixed sleep schedule. It helps you become more productive, keeps chronic diseases at bay, and most surely makes your mood lighter and happier!!
P.S: DO NOT TAKE YOUR GADGETS TO BED WITH YOU! YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN 5 MINUTES BECOMES 5 HOURS!!
Our schools taught us that “Early to bed and early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy, and wise” for a reason. Didn’t they?
12. Learn to accept the ups and downs of life.
This is a hard pill to swallow but an important one at that! We need to accept that life cannot be perfect all the time. There will undoubtedly be bad times, but there will also be good times! Ups and downs are nature’s way of telling you are alive, just like a heartbeat. A straight line is bad news! Oscillations are good. Learn to take every day as it comes to you with gratitude.
Just because something goes wrong today does not mean it is the end of the world. Do not sulk over things or situations that you cannot control. I am a firm believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason and that this reason is far beyond our comprehension.
Sometimes when things go wrong, I understand how tough it is to maintain a positive mindset. It seems as if the entire world is conspiring against us. But I assure you, it is all going to fall into place. Keep faith in yourself and the world.
When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do?
Just keep swimming!– Dory, in Finding Nemo
13. Smile more often!
Last but certainly not least, do not forget to wear that big beautiful smile of yours more often!
Smiling helps you relieve stress, lightens your mood, and makes you look more attractive! (Now, who would not want to look more attractive?) SMILE. 😉 It helps you stay positive and also happier! Next time you see a pretty flower, SMILE! When you pass by your co-worker, SMILE! When you see your parents in the morning, SMILE!
SMILE! It is contagious!!
P.S: If you’re unhappy despite following all of the above habits, have a look at these 10 mistakes you might be making, which could be the source of your misery!
Let me conclude this article by wishing each one of you a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life. Spread the joy in the comments section below.