Does happiness matter? Or is it an unachievable concept that we’re taught we should want from a young age? These are reasonable questions.
The truth is that working on your happiness does matter. It’s critical for both your mental and physical well-being. And when you’re happy, you experience greater satisfaction and fulfillment on a daily basis.
This article will help you understand the best ways to achieve happiness. Because finding happiness doesn’t have to be complicated.
- Why working on happiness is important
- 15 of the best happiness tips
- 1. Practice mindfulness
- 2. Get creative
- 3. Prioritize your relationships
- 4. Watch your plate
- 5. Find a job you don’t hate
- 6. Get in the sun
- 7. Focus on abundance
- 8. Use affirmations
- 9. Laugh often (especially at yourself)
- 10. Don’t focus on getting more “stuff”
- 11. Walk anywhere, anytime
- 12. Slow Down
- 13. Do a good deed daily
- 14. Give yourself permission to be sad sometimes
- 15. Be your authentic self
- Wrapping up
Why working on happiness is important
It’s easy to say happiness is important. But what does science tell us?
Research indicates that our happiness and our health are strongly correlated. In other words, not focusing on how to be happy could have negative implications on your health.
If being healthy doesn’t motivate you to pursue happiness, perhaps money will. A study found that individuals who were happier also seemed to make more money.
Another research-backed benefit of being happy is we’re better equipped to learn and be creative.
You can see there is a strong argument that being happy will influence almost every aspect of your life. So I think it’s fair to say it’s worth your while to figure out tangible ways to pursue happiness.
15 of the best happiness tips
Without further ado, here are 15 of the best ways you can increase your happiness right now.
1. Practice mindfulness
The best place to start when it comes to being happy is your mind. Our minds and the way we think largely determine our happiness.
So how do you change your mind to be happy? The answer might be found in starting a mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness helps you get grounded in the present moment. You put aside the stressors of the future and focus on the good in the here and now.
You can practice mindfulness through:
- Breathing patterns.
- Gratitude lists.
- Finding a form of movement that puts you in a flow state.
Personally, I do best with short bits of mindfulness meditation throughout my day. I set a timer for two minutes. In those two minutes, I force myself to only focus on my breath.
I have a little reminder on my phone to do this three times during the day. It’s a mental practice that draws me into the moment. And as a result, I’m immediately in a happier state of mind.
2. Get creative
Sometimes we don’t feel happy because we’re not tapping into our own creativity.
Now I can already hear what you’re thinking. “I’m not creative”.
It’s a lie. We are all creative with distinct gifts and passions that bring us joy.
Creativity doesn’t have to look like being an artist or a musician. It can be as simple as dancing in your bedroom to your favorite song. It might look like intentionally taking time to dream about your future.
Tapping into this creative mindset will help you further explore your own limits. And break away from the day-in and day-out logical brain that may keep you feeling dissatisfied.
Apply creative thinking in your workplace. You’ll find you enjoy your job much more.
For me, getting creative looks like learning how to crochet. It’s an outlet with no rules that brings me immense joy.
Express your creativity and you are bound to find happiness.
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3. Prioritize your relationships
If you want to feel happy today, start making your relationships a priority.
Research tells us that family and friends are on the list of top 10 factors responsible for our happiness.
So why are we not focusing on the people in our lives who make us the happiest?
If you’re anything like me, it’s because you get busy and start to prioritize work.
But have you ever regretted going to grab coffee with a friend? Or did you regret going to visit that grandparent on a Sunday afternoon?
Never! In fact, these experiences have probably helped to form some of your fondest memories.
The stressors of life will always be there waiting for you. But you have to actively choose to put loved ones first.
4. Watch your plate
Don’t skip this tip. I know it’s tempting to want to disregard anything about diet.
But do you realize that your diet directly influences your mood?
Focusing on fueling your body is a quick way to increase your happiness. Generally focusing on whole foods is a good place to start.
If you want more specifics, research suggests that Omega-3 fatty acids may minimize depression. You can find this in sources like fish, nuts and seeds, and particular fortified foods.
Now I’m not suggesting your diet needs to be perfect. But paying attention to what goes on your plate may have profound effects on your mood.
I personally have noticed any time I overindulge in “junk food”, I tend to have more anxiety.
Try a personal experiment and aim to eat healthily for one week. See how you feel. It’s a tangible way to boost your happiness.
5. Find a job you don’t hate
This advice may sound cliché. But there’s a reason everyone talks about finding work that’s meaningful to you.
You spend the better part of your waking hours working. So doesn’t it make sense that you should aim to find an occupation that brings you joy?
Now I don’t want to suggest that this means you’ll never have bad days at work. Because we all have bad days no matter how much we love our job.
But a surefire way to increase your happiness is to engage in purposeful work. Work where you feel like you are contributing to society.
Do some research. Explore where your interests and hobbies align in the form of occupation.
Or maybe consider cutting back on work hours. This is what I had to do.
No matter what your scenario, remember it’s never too late to make a career change.
6. Get in the sun
If you find yourself feeling blue, it’s time to find some sunshine.
Sunshine has been found to have many benefits for your health. One of the well-known benefits of sunshine is increasing your levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency has been correlated with depression. So opting to get in the sunshine will give you a vitamin D boost that improves your mood.
As someone who used to work in an artificially lit clinic, I can’t even begin to tell you what a difference it made when I got in the sun.
The moment the sun touches your skin, it does something for you. It makes you feel alive again.
And it brings you back to the present moment and the beautiful world we live in.
So get outside in the sun if you need a quick happiness fix.
7. Focus on abundance
A quick way to bring happiness into your life is to start focusing on manifesting abundance.
When you start to believe you are the creator of your reality, everything can shift.
You begin to see that you can use the power of your mind to bring your deepest desires to life.
And when you start thinking about abundance, you simply feel good. This causes you to take action toward those desires which generates more happiness.
I try to make this an intentional part of my morning routine. I journal out what I want to happen that day.
It sets my mind up for success and gets me excited for the day ahead.
You don’t have to journal it out. But you do need to find a way to regularly draw your attention to creating the reality you want.
8. Use affirmations
Pause your eye roll, please. I get it. I used to be the biggest skeptic of affirmations.
Staring at myself in the mirror saying positive things sounded terrible to me. But the research convinced me I should give it a try for my anxiety.
I started simply with a few statements saying things like, “I am confident. I am safe. I am enough.”
Within a few days of saying these statements with emotion, I did feel better. And I was able to create a daily affirmation ritual that helps put me in a good headspace.
One of my new favorite affirmations is, “Good things flow to me”. Simply reading that statement makes me feel happy and content.
It’s important when you make your affirmations that they are personal to you. Make them statements that resonate with how you want to feel and exist in the world.
Try it for a few days. It’s a free and research-backed way to start feeling more joy.
9. Laugh often (especially at yourself)
I’ve gone my whole life hearing people say that laughter is the best medicine. And you know what? The people are right.
Try to genuinely laugh and feel sad. It doesn’t work well.
When we laugh, we’re letting go of our cares and enjoying the moment.
And perhaps most importantly, you need to learn to laugh at yourself.
You are going to make mistakes and do embarrassing things. It’s part of being human.
Yesterday, I tripped while walking down the hallway to greet a new patient at work. Old me would have felt super embarrassed and tried to cover it up.
New me laughed and told the patient that maybe they needed to help me with physical therapy.
Instead of beating yourself up for mistakes, learn to laugh about them. It’s an easy way to stay happy.
10. Don’t focus on getting more “stuff”
Our modern culture is constantly spewing the message that you need this new “thing” to make you happy.
It’s splattered over social media, t.v., and billboards you pass every day.
But your happiness is not tied up in buying things. It might give you a quick spike of joy, but it won’t last.
Lasting happiness can be found by pursuing less.
Now I’m not saying you have to give up all the things you love or never buy anything again.
I’m saying getting intentional about what you do and do not own will increase your happiness.
For me, pursuing minimalism has freed up more money for experiences and time with loved ones.
Instead of focusing your energy on buying the next new thing, you can put energy towards activities and people that bring you joy.
11. Walk anywhere, anytime
I am a big fan of using your own two feet to make you happy.
Walking is an accessible and easy way to boost your mood. A short walk may be the key to reducing your anxiety and stress.
Walking gets you out in the sun and grants you time to reflect.
If I find myself stuck on a problem or in a funky mood, I make it a point to get out and walk or run. By the end of that walk, I tend to feel immensely better.
Walking can also be a way to catch up with loved ones or listen to your favorite podcast.
And the best news? You always have access to this happiness tool no matter where you are.
12. Slow Down
Do you feel super rushed all the time? Trust me, you are not alone.
Sometimes I feel like I wish I could find the pause button on life.
But the truth is we all have the ability to stop rushing. It takes intentional effort.
Figuring out how to not rush is key to feeling more happy in our daily lives.
A few days ago, I found myself rushing through folding my laundry. I felt annoyed by the task and wanted to get on to the next thing.
But then it hit me how silly it was that I was trying to hurry up. There was no reason for me to be in a rush.
And when I slowed down, I was able to put on a podcast and enjoy the chore.
Take a breath and enjoy your life. Because rushing through everything will only leave you dissatisfied.
13. Do a good deed daily
It’s counterintuitive, but you can find more happiness by not focusing on “you”.
When you focus on making others happy, you will experience happiness in return.
A tangible way to make others happy is to aim to do one good deed a day. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture.
A good deed might look like this:
- Holding the door open for someone.
- Writing your partner a love note and leaving it on the counter.
- Taking out your neighbor’s trash.
- Making dinner for a friend who is struggling.
- Asking how you can help out a stressed coworker.
Helping others makes us feel good. And it helps us put our own problems into perspective.
So take the time each day to think beyond yourself because that’s where real happiness is found.
14. Give yourself permission to be sad sometimes
You thought you were reading an article about tips for happiness. So why are we talking about feeling sad?
Well, it turns out it’s just as important to allow yourself to be sad if you want to be happy.
When you expect yourself to feel happy all the time, all this does is create disappointment when you don’t feel that way.
It’s normal to be sad sometimes. And it’s okay to let yourself feel sad.
This is what helps you appreciate the contrast of what it feels like to be happy.
But you can’t dwell in sadness if you want to experience joy. So let yourself feel your emotions for a bit, but don’t stay there.
Find healthy ways to process and work through your emotions without dismissing them.
15. Be your authentic self
We saved the best tip for last. If you want to experience happiness, it’s important to be your authentic self.
When we try to be somebody we aren’t, we rob ourselves of the chance to be happy.
I remember I had a boyfriend years back and I pretended to like everything he enjoyed. I desperately wanted to be liked and accepted by him.
All this ended up doing was creating a relationship where I felt like I had to “fake it” all the time. And that never led to me feeling happy or safe in the relationship.
Fast forward to today, where I feel like I can be my goofy and transparent self with my husband. It’s a healthy relationship where I feel safe and happy because I am myself.
The world needs you. Don’t force yourself to change for trends or to make someone else happy.
Because your happiness depends on you being willing to be your authentic self.
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Happiness is not some idyllic concept reserved for everyone but you. You deserve to experience happiness. And you can find happiness right here and now by implementing the tips from this article. You’ll quickly realize that happiness is always available to you. You just have to make the choice to pursue it.
Now I want to hear from you. What's your favorite happiness tip? Share your thoughts in the comments below!