With all that is going on in the world, and in our own lives, it is easy to lose our smile. The daily hustle and bustle, financial woes, parenting frustrations, marital mishaps and countless other scenarios can take their toll. How can we turn that frown upside down?
Take these simple steps to work yourself happy!
1. Decide to be happy.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But it is a step many of us skip. In order to feel happy, we need to make a conscious decision that we will choose to BE happy. When you make happiness a goal, you can work towards finding ways to achieve that goal. This might include changing your environment or personal network to allow for more joy to flow, learning some self-help techniques to manage an issue you have been struggling with or, re-thinking your value system to allow more forgiveness and kindness in.
2. Be thankful.
Most of us believe we are grateful and, in truth, we are. But it is very easy to lose sight of what we already have when we are so focused on all the things we don’t. Every day, take just 5 minutes to think about 5 things you have to be grateful for. From the little things to the larger ones, we all have something to give thanks for.
3. Remember the basics.
Getting to bed at a decent hour (skip that extra Facebook time), eat regular meals (including some healthy choices), try to work some exercise into your schedule (this will release endorphins into your body that bring on a positive feeling) and, limit your alcohol intake.
4. Let it go.
Being angry and bitter all of the time certainly won’t help your path to happiness. Yes, it can be difficult to forgive and forget. Try putting your current gripe into perspective. Will this matter in 6 months from now? a year? Can you do something to change it? If so, take action. And remember, you can’t change other people. However, you CAN change the way you react to them. If someone in your life is toxic, take a step back. Even if the person is a family member, you can love from afar.
5. Kill them with kindness.
This classic advice rings true. Studies have shown that doing good for others and showing compassion to those we meet actually makes us feel better. And, when we feel good about ourselves, it is easier to be happy. Not to mention that when you’re nice to someone who dislikes you, they will be forced to return the favour.
6. Stop to smell the flowers.
Don’t forget to slow down and savour life’s simple pleasures. Watch a sunset, give a hug, make a sandcastle or go on a picnic. Be aware of your surroundings; the warmth of the sun, the smell of freshly cut grass, the delight in a child’s smile or the sight of fresh dew on a flower can lessen our troubles for a moment.
7. Embrace your passions.
Remember how you used to enjoy drawing or how you always wanted to write a short story? Do those things! It doesn’t have to be perfect, just embrace the activities that you are drawn to and enjoy them. You might not be good with a paintbrush, but research has repeatedly shown that the creative process intersects heavily with your overall happiness. So paint! Colour! Glue paddle-pop sticks to feathers, whatever it is that makes you calm and happy, do it!
8. Fight the blues.
When those negative thoughts try to take over, be ready to beat them. It is normal to have negative thoughts, we all do. The problem arises when we believe them. When a negative thought pursues, ask yourself: Is this true? Is this important? Learn from the thought and move along. Breathing exercises, meditation or even a cup of tea (studies have shown warmth correlates with happy feelings) may help you re-group and get back on track.
Be patient. Total bliss won’t happen overnight but if we are diligent in our efforts, progress will be made. We can be happy and, we deserve to be!
Are you embracing your passions and stopping to smell the flowers? SHARE the things that keep you happy below!
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