Could you imagine feeling happy all the time? Or could you imagine feeling happy even just most of the time? How would your life be different?
Perhaps a better question is – What would you need to do to get there so that you do feel happier more often?
A British research team boiled down the things that genuinely happy people do differently and according to their findings, there are several factors involved in happiness.
From their research, here are are 10 tips for more happiness in your life:
1. Plant something and nurture it.
The same as when you water and feed plants, they grow, so do your hopes and dreams. Do the things you need to do to water and feed the seeds of your interests and watch them grow.
2. Reduce media time.
While watching a little bit of television is perfectly fine, research shows that more hours spent watching TV is related to a decrease in happiness. How long do you spend watching TV? The same is true for time spent on social media, mobile phones and other electronic devices.
3. Be grateful.
Throughout your day stop and think how fortunate you are. Try it right now. Think of five things in your life that you are grateful for. Do this throughout the day and especially at the end of the day before you go to sleep. The feeling of gratitude is directly related to happiness.
A great way to cultivate gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal that you write in each day. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. But just jotting down 5 things each evening is shown to increase happiness.
4. Be good to yourself.
Be gentle with yourself. Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Learn from them. Acceptance of self is directly correlated with greater happiness. Work on your confidence, self-worth and self-love. Be good to yourself.
5. Be good to strangers.
Each day smile at and/or say hello to a stranger. Smiling is a natural happiness booster – even if it is forced. Faking a smile has been shown to generate real feelings of happiness.
6. Cultivate relationships.
Work on your relationships with others. Recognize and remove yourself from or reduce toxic relationships as much as possible. Keep in touch with the people that matter to you. Be forgiving, generous and accepting of those you love. Maintaining healthy relationships is key to increased happiness.
7. Do things for others.
Take time in your week to do something good for someone else. Whether it’s a coworker that needs help, a friend that needs an ear or a homeless person on the street. Doing good for others is shown to positively impact your intrinsic worth resulting in greater happiness.
In other words, you must exercise. It doesn’t have to be fancy or time-consuming. You just need to move your body. Our bodies were made to move. Make the effort to engage in regular exercise. A great resource for how movement increases happiness is Spark by John J. Ratey. Movement makes you feel good and boosts happiness. It has been shown to be just as effective as various anti-depressants in reducing depression.
Laughter helps to stimulate our happiness. Research has demonstrated that people who have had a heart attack are less likely to have a second attack, need less medication and have lower blood pressure if they allow themselves to see and laugh at humorous situations each day. If you don’t laugh enough, make an effort to do so regularly.
There are no doubt people in your life that you trust and that you can share your stories with. Our stories are what make us real. Share your stories with people. The simple act of unloading our story in a stressful time has been shown to reduce the stress it causes us. Talk it out with your trusted friends and family and feel happier.