If you live long enough you realize that life isn’t always a walk in the park, but if you’re wise you realize that it’s all about what you make of it. Still, let’s be honest. Even the most optimistic person has moments when they forget how to be happy. And if you’re not one of those ‘glass half full’ type of people, it’s even harder for you to step into and maintain your happy space.
While I’m not the most pessimistic person, I’m certainly not an eternal optimist and oftentimes have to remind myself to be happy. Hopefully some of these ‘happy habits’ will help you, like they’ve helped me.
Start the day off right
How you start your morning should reflect how you want your day to go.
Make it a point to breath, pray, meditate and have a moment of silence (whatever brings you a sense of peace) before you get started with a hectic schedule. It’s important to feed your soul before you set out to take on the day.
Make a “Happy Playlist”
I know it sounds pretty corny but music fuels the soul. When you’re feeling down, have a go-to playlist of songs that immediately lift your spirits.
Run It Off
Research shows that exercise is a mood-enhancer. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins.
These chemicals are known to produce positive feelings. So instead of going to sleep when you’re feeling down, hit the gym or go for a run around the neighborhood instead.
Show Your Gratitude
Oprah has endorsed the idea of keeping a gratitude journal for years. Focusing on the things you’re grateful for is a surefire way to deflect your mind from the negative.
Keeping a gratitude journal is a good way to track the things you’re thankful for in your life. Every day, make it a point to reflect on the good things happening and write it in your journal; and when you need a reminder during the times when things aren’t going so well, go back and flip through the pages of what you’ve written.
Most of us have seen the fictitious character Mary Jane Paul and her use of sticky notes filled with affirmations. It may seem like a bit too much, but it works. Affirmations, if repeated over and over, become second nature in our minds. Most times we don’t see their benefit because we don’t repeat them as often as we should. Find a few affirmations that work for you and constantly repeat them to yourself when you need a pick-me-up. If you need it every day, plaster them on your walls and mirrors like Mary Jane.
Switch Up Your Routine
It’s pretty simple: If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you will continue to get the same results. Don’t expect to get out of a rut doing the same ol’ same ol’. If you’re feeling down and your immediate behavior is to sleep it off but you wake up feeling just as bad, change it up. As mentioned earlier, exercise is a better option to lift your spirits.
Or if you normally hold things in that are bothering you, talk about them with a close friend instead. If what you have been doing to get out of a bad mood hasn’t worked, it’s time to stop doing it and switch things up.
Take A Happiness Inventory
Sometimes, actually most times, we are not as happy as we can be because we have too many unhappy things or people in our lives. If there is someone who causes you more hurt than happiness, it’s time to let them go. If there is a situation that stresses you out more than you would like, let it go.
There are instances when it’s not wise to abruptly leave a situation, like a job or your marriage, simply because you’re angry. Nonetheless, just as Maya Angelou said, “if you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
Volunteering and helping others not only serves the person you’re assisting, but it helps you as well. Instead of wallowing in your own self-pity, spend time helping those who are less fortunate. Make giving back a consistent practice in your life. Join an organization that holds you accountable for helping and volunteering, that way you won’t back out of it even when you’re not feeling up to it. You’ll be happier and a better person for it.
Sleep Is Essential
Don’t attempt to be superwoman and forgo your sleep. It may be good for business, it’s detrimental to your health and happiness.
While some doctors suggest getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night, do what feels right for your body. If you can operate without being groggy on six hours, then so be it. Just make sure you get enough rest.
This is so simple that it almost sounds silly, but smiling, even if it’s fake, can help you become a happier person.
If you’re not a person who smiles often, try to incorporate it more in your life. Greet people with a smile. When people are talking, instead of giving them a blank stare, try giving them a smile (not a big ol’ cheesy one though, as that might be awkward).
Hang Around People You Like Often
Many times we get so consumed with work and daily routines that we forget to talk to or spend time with people who mean the most to us. Make it a habit to connect with friends and family regularly. Don’t let mundane daily tasks stop you from spending time with the people who make you smile, and be sure to hang with those who bring you happiness and not stress. You should spend less time with the latter individuals…
Work On Your Goals Daily
Setting goals gives you something to look forward to. Whatever you’re working towards accomplishing, make it a point to do something to take you one step closer to that every day. Not only will the momentum make you feel better, but you’ll also be spending time investing in yourself.
Eliminate Constant Complaints
Make a conscious effort to refrain from complaining. If it’s cold outside and you hate being cold, instead of blurting out your disgust, keep it to yourself or shift your mind to something more pleasing. Or even better, think of something you do like or are grateful for instead. No one likes being around someone who constantly complains, and I’m sure even you will get sick of it.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It
If you’re feeling frustrated, irritated or sad, simply repeat to yourself, “I am happy,” even if you’re not. This is not to say that you should not be honest about your feelings (and seek help if you’re really feeling stuck in a rut you can’t get out of), but if you’re trying to be a happier person, pretend as if you’re already that person until you become her.