Happiness seems like it should come easily. For many people, though, it feels like an uphill battle. Between getting enough sleep, keeping up with relationships, earning an income, and achieving life goals, who has the time to be happy?
As it turns out, everyone does! The difference between smiling through life and slogging through it with a grimace is all about how you treat yourself.
When you start your morning, do you take a moment for bagels and inner peace, or do you rush off with a cup of coffee? When you get home, do you congratulate yourself on making it back to home-base, or do you immediately think of a looming to-do list?
Being happy is a way of approaching life. By implementing small actions each day, you will form habits that can help you live a much happier lifestyle, or at the very least, start you on the right path.
Dive in with us as we explore 9 habits that will help make your life happier.
1. Stretch in Bed
When you wake up in the morning, don’t get out of bed right away. Take a moment to greet the morning. Acknowledge your room, the sunlight, the alarm. If there’s music, listen to it; if you had a dream, take a moment to remember it; if you’re already worrying about the day ahead, let your mind form its first organized thoughts.
Before you sit up, let your body stretch. Take over your whole bed. Roll around if you feel like it. Roll your shoulders out. Stretch your toes as far as they’ll go. Work the kinks out of your back. Twist up and untwist, then settle into the covers for a moment longer and relax. Then get out of bed.
What you have just done is shake up all the lactic acid that pooled in your muscles during sleep, and you have given your brain time to accept the morning. You will be clearer-headed, and your body will be more comfortable for the rest of the day. If that isn’t a mood lifter, we don’t know what is.
2. Surround Yourself with Good Smells
Smell and mood are powerfully associated. A foul odor can make you grumpy or even frightened, while a good smell can invoke warm memories and a healthy appetite. Surround yourself with good smells and remove bad smells from your life. It sounds like mystical crystal advice, but it is actually biological. Your nose is your environmental safety detector. Your sense of smell is meant to make you uncomfortable in potentially dangerous-smelling environments.
Likewise, fresh and delicious smells lift our mood and tell us we’re in a good place. The scent of lemon, mint, and baking are all great examples. Rosemary and lavender are popular herbal choices. Place air fresheners and oil diffusers in the spaces you frequent, at work, at home, or in your car.
3. Take Regular Walks Under Trees
Trees make humans happy. It’s a fact that has been studied dozens of times over. Taking a walk under a leafy green canopy of trees with sunlight filtering through the leaves will give anyone an instant boost of happiness, deep in the chest. Oxygen produced by the trees mixed with this light exercise will get your blood flowing, releasing endorphins and causing a euphoric feeling. Combine light walking with leafy tree branches, and you have a guaranteed mood lifter.
So make time for a walk under some trees. Do it daily and go wherever the view takes you. You’ll feel happy in no time.
4. Resolve to Enjoy Yourself
Often, unhappiness is just as much a habit as happiness. We get used to second-guessing ourselves. Our shoulders get used to slouching. We grow accustomed to responding to people and situations with a perplexed or serious countenance.
Dare yourself to do something—try to smile and have fun! It may seem like a weird or out-of-place resolution to make, but try it anyway. Smile. Laugh. Tell a joke, or laugh at one. Let offenses pass you by. Resolve to be a good-natured person at every gathering, or to be that good friend. Make the effort, and it will start to work for you.
5. Take Magnesium Baths
Change your body chemistry. Modern life has a way of leaving us mineral-deficient. No diet is perfectly balanced for all the rare earth minerals and salts we occasionally need to top-up. A handful of mixed nuts is a good start, but so is a magnesium bath.
Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate, a type of metallic salt that our bodies use as a muscle relaxer that balances internal heat regulation. Put two cups of Epsom salt into a warm bath and soak for 15+ minutes. Try this about once a month. If your body needs the magnesium, you’ll feel much better over the following week.
6. Chill Out with Supplements and Energy Boosters
Try one of the new supplements available on the market when you need to unwind, focus, or power-up quickly without an emotional crash. Unlike so-called energy shots, many of today’s supplements and boosters use natural mood enhancers like Vitamins B and C.
The kratom brand, K-Chill, is a new and natural option on the market that can be found in convenience stores. Kratom is made from an evergreen in Southeast Asia and has long been used in natural leaf and ground powder forms for relaxation. Drink. Relax. Be happy.
7. Take On Weekend Projects
Often, we lack satisfaction because we don’t feel we have achieved our personal goals. Success at work may be enough for survival and even some interest, but performing the same role day in, day out is not exactly the never-ending adventure we all crave. Making time on the weekends to work toward your personal goals can make all the difference!
Challenge yourself to take on new projects that can be done in one weekend or in a set number of weekends. Start building things with basic carpentry. Try your hand at painting or learning to knit. Take a cooking or pottery class. Whatever you do, try something new! Challenge yourself and feel proud of what you learn and accomplish every weekend. When you take a weekend off to chill, be proud of that, too.
8. Start a Gratitude Journal
We’ve all been told to “count our blessings” a million times, but what does that really mean? It can feel silly and even be difficult to focus on being grateful when it is just in your head. Writing your thoughts on paper or in an online journal is a tangible way to recognize what you value and love about yourself and your life.
Write down things for which you are grateful throughout the day or before going to bed. It’s okay to write things that seem trivial. Often, the things we’re most grateful for are the little things friends and family do, like folding the laundry or leaving you a covered plate of dinner. Anytime you have a grateful thought, write it down, and your gratitude will become more real.
9. Find Someone to Help
Finally, no matter how you’re feeling, find someone you can help. There’s nothing more fulfilling than using your extra time, energy, and motivation to lift someone else who really needs your help. When you’re feeling really blue, helping others can help you replace your sorrow with someone else’s joy. And if you are up, then you can use your extra positivity to make someone else’s life even better.
Find a friend who needs help moving, a family member who may be lonely, or just a person who just needs some good advice. Make a habit of helping people and you’ll never run out of that warm happy feeling.
Incorporating nine new habits may feel overwhelming, so start small. Try to incorporate just one of these ideas into your life this week, then add more over the next several weeks. You’ll find that you are happier and more calm as a result.