If you truly want to be happy in life, start doing these 9 things every day

Posted 21 Nov 2023, by

Tina Fey

Being happy isn’t as complicated as we often make it out to be. It all boils down to our daily habits.

Are we filling our days with activities that nurture our well-being? Or are we stuck in routines that drain us? The difference can be quite significant.

The key to daily happiness isn’t found in large, life-altering transformations, but rather in small, consistent actions. You don’t need dramatic changes, just a few tweaks in your everyday routine.

In this article, I’ll guide you through some simple changes that can have a big impact on your overall happiness.

So let’s dive in.

1) Practice gratitude

There’s no shortage of research suggesting the powerful impact of gratitude on our happiness levels.

Gratitude trains our brain to focus on the positive aspects of our lives. It’s about appreciating the good, even in the midst of challenges. It’s about acknowledging the things we often take for granted.

Consider a daily gratitude practice. This could be as simple as writing down three things you’re grateful for each day. Or maybe it’s saying a silent ‘thank you’ to yourself for something special that happened during your day.

The key here is consistency. Making gratitude a daily habit can shift your perspective and create a more positive outlook on life.

Happiness isn’t just about big wins or grand gestures.

Often, it’s found in the little things, and practicing gratitude can help you see that.

But remember, it’s not just about recognizing these moments – it’s about truly appreciating them.

2) Incorporate physical activity

Exercise is a potent happiness booster. It releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, and it can also help reduce stress and improve sleep.

I’ve seen the effects of this firsthand in my own life. I used to be someone who would always find an excuse to skip a workout. “I’m too tired”, “I don’t have enough time”, “I’m just not in the mood” – you name it, I’ve used it.

But then, I made a commitment to myself to start incorporating more physical activity into my day, no matter how small.

I started with just a 10-minute walk around the block during my lunch break. Gradually, I increased it to a 30-minute run in the morning.

And let me tell you, the difference has been significant. Not only do I feel more energetic and focused throughout the day, but my mood has also noticeably improved.

No matter how busy your schedule may be, try to find time for some form of physical activity. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous workout; even a brisk walk can do wonders for your happiness.

3) Connect with nature

Despite living in an increasingly fast-paced, urbanized world, we humans are inherently wired to connect with nature. This connection can have a profound impact on our sense of happiness and well-being.

A study from Stanford University found that people who spent 90 minutes in a natural area, as opposed to a high-traffic urban setting, showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in mental illness.

So, whether it’s taking a walk in the park, gardening in your backyard, or simply sitting under a tree reading a book – make time to immerse yourself in nature.

These moments of peace can help reset your mind, reduce stress, and ultimately, boost your happiness.

4) Cultivate positive relationships

Happiness and human connection go hand in hand. We are social creatures, and having supportive, positive relationships in our lives plays a crucial role in our overall happiness.

Invest time in nurturing relationships with family, friends, colleagues or neighbors. This could mean having a heart-to-heart conversation with a close friend, spending quality time with family, or even just sharing a laugh with a coworker.

But it’s not just about quantity but also quality. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people who inspire and encourage you. And don’t forget to be that person for others too.

In a world where we are more connected than ever digitally, make sure you’re not neglecting the importance of real-life, meaningful connections.

5) Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is all about being present and fully engaged in the here and now. It’s about acknowledging your thoughts and feelings without judgment.

Practicing mindfulness can help you enjoy life’s pleasures as they occur, stay fully engaged in activities, and deal with adversity more calmly. In essence, it can help you live a more content and happier life.

You don’t need to be a meditation expert to practice mindfulness. It can be as simple as paying full attention to your daily activities like eating, walking or breathing.

When you’re sipping your morning coffee, take a moment to fully experience the aroma, the warmth of the mug in your hands, the flavor. This simple act can help you cultivate a sense of presence and joy in everyday life.

6) Practice kindness

Believe it or not, one of the most rewarding things you can do for your happiness is to do something kind for someone else.

Kindness creates a sense of connection and community, and studies show that it also triggers the release of feel-good hormones in our brain.

But practicing kindness doesn’t have to mean grand gestures. Even the smallest acts can make a big difference. A simple smile, a warm compliment, helping a neighbor with their groceries – these are all acts of kindness that can brighten someone else’s day and, in turn, boost your own happiness.

Kindness is like a boomerang. When you throw it out into the world, it comes back to you. And in this process, you create a ripple effect of positivity and happiness that extends far beyond yourself.

In a world where you can be anything, be kind. It’s good for your heart and even better for your soul.

7) Prioritize self-care

In our busy, always-on-the-go lifestyles, it’s easy to neglect our own needs and well-being. We often put others’ needs before our own, or we feel guilty for taking time for ourselves.

I remember a time when my days were packed with work, errands, and taking care of everyone else around me. I was so focused on getting things done that I forgot to take care of myself. And guess what? It took a toll on my happiness.

Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s necessary. It’s about taking the time to replenish your physical, emotional, and mental energy. This could mean taking a relaxing bath, reading a book, going for a run, or simply saying ‘no’ when your plate is already full.

When you take care of yourself, you’re better equipped to handle life’s challenges and you’re more likely to feel happier. So remember to put yourself on your priority list. Your happiness depends on it.

8) Embrace imperfection

In a world filled with social media highlight reels and societal pressure, it’s easy to fall into the trap of striving for perfection. But the pursuit of perfection can often lead to stress, anxiety, and ultimately, unhappiness.

The truth is, no one is perfect. We all have strengths, and we all have weaknesses. It’s our imperfections that make us human and unique.

Instead of beating yourself up for your mistakes or flaws, embrace them. See them as opportunities for growth and learning. Give yourself permission to be a work in progress.

Adopting this mindset can help you develop a healthier self-image, reduce stress, and promote happiness. Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection.

9) Choose happiness

At the end of the day, happiness is a choice. It’s about choosing to focus on the positive, choosing to be grateful, choosing to be kind, and choosing to be present.

We may not have control over everything that happens in our lives, but we do have control over how we respond. We can choose to let it bring us down, or we can choose to find the silver lining.

Choosing happiness doesn’t mean ignoring negative emotions or pretending everything is perfect. It simply means acknowledging those feelings and then deciding not to let them define you.

You have the power to choose your attitude, your reactions, and your mindset. And in doing so, you have the power to choose your happiness.

The essence: Happiness is within

The pursuit of happiness is a universal quest, deeply woven into the fabric of our existence. It’s not something that can be bought or achieved through external accomplishments. Rather, it’s an inside job.

Our daily habits and attitudes play a significant role in shaping our happiness. And the beauty of this truth is that it puts us in the driver’s seat. It empowers us to take control of our well-being and create a life that brings joy and fulfillment.

Happiness is not about waiting for the storm to pass but about learning to dance in the rain. It’s about embracing each moment, nurturing positive relationships, expressing gratitude, and most importantly, choosing happiness every single day.

So, whether you’re taking a walk in nature, sharing a laugh with a friend, or simply savoring your morning coffee, remember that these simple daily habits can pave the way to your happiness.

And as the Dalai Lama famously said, “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” So go ahead, take action towards your happiness. After all, it’s within your reach.

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