Most of us think happiness is just a feeling, but it is so much more than that: it is a way of life. When we allow ourselves to be happy, we make a choice to be mentally healthy, and physical and mental health go hand-in-hand.
Sometimes the daily routine of life gets the better us. All the stress and anxiety people carry around is bound to bring anyone’s happy flow to a screeching halt. That is why everyday, when I wake up, I make a conscious effort to allow myself to be happy. Over the past few months I learned that even when things are not going my way, it does not mean I cannot be happy. Here are a few tricks I have embraced to help me stay happy and positive when life gets me down:
1. Start your day with a positive affirmation. There is no reason to wake up in a bad mood. Ignore that project due at work or financial troubles when your alarm first goes off. Take a minute to be thankful for a new day that is full of possibilities. “Today is going to be a good day.” “I believe in myself and my abilities.” Whatever affirmation works for you, repeat it several times before you get out of bed.
2. Eat healthy & workout. I did not realize how much my eating and workout habits actually affected my mood until I made them a priority. The healthier I eat and the more consistent I am with my workouts, the happier I feel. Studies have proven even 20 minutes of cardio releases endorphins into our brains that make us happy.
3. Meditate. You do not need to meditate for an hour, just try to find 10 minutes in your day to sit in silence and let go of everything going on around you. Regular mediation releases happy chemicals into your brain like serotonin, dopamine and endorphins; all are linked to better moods.
4. Make a “happy” playlist. Is there a song that makes you smile or want to bust a move every time you hear it? Those are my go to happy songs. Create a playlist of all the songs that make you feel good. So when you start feeling down you can turn it on and get that little boost of happy you need.
5. Make someone’s day. We get so wrapped up in ourselves that we forget there are plenty of people going through tough times, too. Try complimenting a stranger or buy the guy behind you at Starbucks his morning cup of coffee. Sometimes the smallest gesture can brighten a person’s day, including yours.
6. Try something new. The work, gym, home, and straight to bed routine can get a little repetitive. Be bold. Go try that indoor rock-climbing place you keep driving past or join a running club in your neighborhood. Whatever piques your interest: do it. You will be happy you tried something you never thought you would.
7. Get outside. If the sun is out, you need to spend at least 10 minutes outside. Getting some sunshine (and possibly the Vitamin D it produces) is one of the best natural ways to feel better. And who does not like feeling the warm sun hit their face while breathing in some fresh air to break up the day?
8. Acknowledge the little accomplishments. We often forget that embracing the little things in life can be just as rewarding as the big things. Give yourself a pat on the back for finally beating that level on Candy Crush you spent a week on. Maybe you finally worked up the courage to ask out that person you have been crushing on. Whatever the accomplishment, you should allow yourself to feel good about it. No accomplishment is too small.
9. Stop being a perfectionist. Always trying to be perfect can be exhausting. When you stop worrying about being perfect at everything, you will start to enjoy life more. It is okay if you are not perfect, so stop trying to be.
10. Dismiss envy. We are all guilty of this. Jealousy and envy do not look good on anyone. Stop envying what other people have that you do not. Instead, be happy for those around you and you will be able to appreciate the life you have more.
Now go on and find your happiness. If all else fails, in the words of Pharrell Williams, “Clap along if you feel happiness is the truth, because I’m happy.”