Ten Tips for Increasing Your Happiness
Happiness is an elusive thing. It comes and goes, often in ways that we can't understand. Sometimes, we'll look at our lives and realize that we have a lot to be happy about, but we just aren't ... it can be a horribly frustrating experience. But there are things that you can do to increase your happiness in small ways on a daily basis. By doing so, you won't always avoid the downtimes but you'll significantly improve your average level of happiness.
Here are ten tips for increasing your happiness:
1. Make a list of 100 things that make you happy. Do it right now. Sound intimidating? Once you start to brainstorm the little things that give you pleasure, you'll see that the list adds up. Include everything that makes you even slightly happier than you are now. Examples would be seeing a rainbow, hearing your favorite ring tone, and making someone else laugh. Include big things (like being with family) as well. Post this list somewhere where you can see it every day.
2. Keep a happiness journal. A big part of happiness is being able to focus on what makes you happy. Your list is a good start but it's only a beginning. You should also regularly check-in with yourself about your own happiness. Spend ten minutes at the end of each day writing down the things that made you happy each day. At the end of each week, you can use these entries to make a new list of items to add to your original 100 ‘happy things' list.
3. Eat well. You probably don't want to hear it, but it's true. If you're surviving on a diet of caffeine and sugar, you are probably experiencing a bunch of emotional ups and downs throughout the day. A healthy diet will make your emotional self more consistent and allow you to feel a more stable sense of happiness.
4. Be healthy. If you are sick, you aren't going to be able to be truly happy. If your unhappiness and general sense of ill-being continues for an extended period of time, you should check in with a doctor and make sure that there's not a deeper problem.
5. Simplify. Stress is a major cause of people's unhappiness. To increase happiness, you need to reduce your stress levels. To do that, you need to simplify your life. If you're running around every day like a chicken with its head cut off, you aren't going to be happy. Figure out where you can cut back on work so that you can add more fun into your life. Reducing your debt, decreasing your commitments and making your home management more efficient are all related to simplifying your life.
6. Adopt childlike wonder. It's true in some ways that children find happiness more quickly than adults. A big reason for this is that they approach the world with a sense of awe. They ask questions about the things that they see around them instead of just taking them for granted. They get excited about small things like wishing on dandelions. Try to adopt an attitude of childlike wonder when you are out in the world. Ask yourself what is new about the situation and why it is the way it is. Search for answers with abandon. You'd be surprised how much lighter this can make you feel.
7. Experience new things. Part of being able to capture that sense of wonder is by not always doing the same things that you usually do. Schedule time to experience new things on a regular basis and approach them with an eye towards enjoying them. These can be small things in your hometown like walking a trail that you've never walked before. They can also be big things like learning to scuba dive, taking a vacation to a foreign country or starting a new business. Always push your own limits and you'll stretch your capacity for happiness.
8. Surround yourself with positive people. One of the biggest drains on our happiness is the people around us who like to sap our energy. It's time to do some assessment about your life and really look at who does and doesn't belong in it. If your sister Sally calls every day and complains about her life and asks for your advice and generally expresses neediness, she's bringing you down. Nothing says that you have to cut her out of your life completely, but minimize the number of calls that you'll take so you can maximize your own happiness.
9. Stop complaining and seek solutions. The more that you complain about anything negative that's going on in your life, the more likely you are to feel unhappy. Misery breeds more misery. Every time that you catch yourself complaining about something, stop yourself. Ask yourself, ‘what am I going to do about it?' In this way, you'll find solutions to your unhappiness on a regular basis. And if you regularly find that you're not willing to do anything about it, you'll have a better basis for understanding why it is that you are unhappy.
10. Accept sadness as a part of life. A major part of being happy is knowing that you're not going to be happy all of the time. When you have genuine reasons for being sad, let yourself feel that emotion. Curl up in bed with a good book and a comfy pair of PJs and wallow for awhile. Acknowledging your other emotions and taking them seriously will give yourself more of a chance to feel true happiness.
There are many things that you can do on a daily basis to improve your own happiness. Some are going to be more difficult than others. You'll have to mix and match ideas to find out what really works for you. But the key thing to remember is that you want to spend time focusing on the things in life that are making you happy instead of the things that are not.