While happiness means different things to different people, it’s probably safe to say that we all want more of it in our lives. For some, joy seems to come more easily, either due to natural optimism, an intentionally positive mindset or just a stroke of good luck. For others who might struggle with health issues, depression or personal challenges, happiness might seem more elusive.
There’s no such thing as a perfect life, and everyone has their own struggles and setbacks. It’s not possible--or even healthy--to pretend everything is hunky-dory or try to block out all negativity. But pursuing more moments of happiness throughout the day can help you lead a healthier, more productive life.
- Find a new perspective—literally. This might mean laying down in the grass to soak up the sun, taking a chair out into the backyard to gaze up at the stars or maybe just eating a meal in a different part of the house. Looking at the world from a different vantage point can have an uplifting effect on your mood.
- Sing. No, you don’t have to be good at it. No, it doesn’t matter what song you choose. No, the lyrics do not have to be right. It’s pretty darn near impossible to be gloomy while belting out a favorite tune.
- Smile more often. Even when you’re not feeling particularly upbeat, getting your grin on can actually help boost your mood, research says.
- Compliment someone. Saying something nice doesn’t just make the recipient’s day, it leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy, too. So next time you notice something admirable, point it out!
- Ruminate on your dreams. No, we don’t mean what happened last night while you were sleeping, but rather your aspirations for future success. By allowing yourself to entertain even your loftiest goals, you’ll lift the curtain and peek into the possibility of them coming true.
- Practice mindfulness. Set aside a few minutes each day for a mindfulness meditation session, or whatever type of meditation speaks to you. This practice has been shown to increase feelings of well-being, positivity and relaxation.
- Declutter one small space. Tackle that jam-packed junk drawer, wipe down a shelf in the fridge, purge your car’s glove compartment or refresh your gym bag. No matter the place, the physical act of achieving cleanliness and organization will leave you feeling lighter.
- Buy some fresh flowers. Why wait for a surprise delivery? Stop at a flower shop and treat yourself to a bouquet of your favorite blooms. Display them in a prominent place and soak in their beauty.
- Surround yourself with happy people. They say “misery loves company,” and the same can be said for happiness. Positivity is contagious. Seek out friends and companions who possess the joyful attributes you want to possess yourself.
- Make a friendship appointment. In our busy world, it’s all too easy to let months or even years slip by without checking in with those we love. Make an effort to meet up with someone you care about, even if it’s just for a quick cup of coffee or a walk outside.
- Read a book. Maybe not the whole book, but just 10 or 15 minutes of reading for pleasure can help you de-stress, rekindle your creativity and boost your happiness.
- Spend time with pets. Research has found that quality time with furry friends—whether it’s a long walk with your dog or a cuddle session with your cat—can make for a happier, healthier life.
- Get outside. Many studies have found that the simple act of venturing into the great outdoors can help to alleviate depression and anxiety. Set aside a few minutes each day to get some fresh air and sunshine (if available), and soak in your natural surroundings.
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