Everyone wants to be happy. And even though happiness is an emotion that differs for each person, there are proven ways to make you happier. A recent poll showed that 2/3 of Americans said they were not very happy. If you aren’t very happy, here are 10 tips that can help.
1. Exercise more often.
Exercise is a great way to fight depression, or just make yourself feel better. The effects that it has in the long run, like making you feel better about your body, are great, but it also releases chemicals that counter stress. In studies, people who exercised were more successful in maintaining wellness and staying happy than people who took drugs for the same reason. Exercise will make a difference if you put in the time.
2. Get proper sleep.
When you sleep well you more easily recall pleasant memories as opposed to when you are sleep deprived. Taking a nap if you need it also enhances positive emotions and has been linked to positive personality characteristics. People who sleep the right amount are more optimistic and have less difficulty solving complex problems.
3. Shorten your commute.
Long commutes to work are stressful and draining. So if you can move closer to where you work, or work closer to where you live, you can avoid some of that stress.
4. Strengthen your relationships.
Make sure that you keep your friends and family close. Having loved ones by your side is very helpful in times of struggle. People who spend social time with loved ones are much happier.
5. Go outside.
Just getting some fresh air and sunshine can make you feel a lot better. Spending 20 minutes outside is all it takes to be significantly happier. Some studies have even found that the best temperature to maximize happiness is 57 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Help others.
Helping others is a great way to increase your psychological wellbeing and may even lead to a “helper’s high” which occurs when you do good things for others and your body releases hormones that make you feel good. These types of activities lower stress and give you a sense of satisfaction.
Smiling gives signals to your body that you are happy. Not only smiling, but standing with your shoulders back, chin up and smiling will change areas of your brain and actually make you feel better. And if you smile at others, they will usually smile back, which causes a loop of happiness for yourself and them.
8. Plan a vacation.
Studies show that even just planning a vacation makes you happy. You don’t even have to be able to take the vacation, but the excitement and anticipation of a vacation are sometimes even more fun than the vacation itself.
9. Be still.
Sometimes you just need to take a break and de-stress. Taking deep breaths and finding a quiet place to be alone can make you happier. Focus on thinking about positive things that are calming. With all the hustle and bustle, sometimes we just need a little quiet and relaxation.
10. Practice gratitude.
Making sure that you’re thankful for what you have helps you feel happier. People who do so can better cope with stress and are more positive in general. Keep a gratitude journal or list that you can add to everyday and review and it will make you happier. People who do this also tend to be of better physical health than those who don’t.
One theme that can be found from the above suggestions is that they all come from the inside. Happiness can’t be bought, but it’s something that you can choose. Choosing to think about the positive parts of the day, as opposed to the negative, will make you happier automatically and help you respond to situations in a more positive way. Even though we all want success, we need to realize that to be truly successful we should be able to be happy even when things don’t go quite right. When you focus on the good in life, your life will improve and you will start feeling happier.