There’s good news and bad news! Let’s start with the bad news you already know– there’s no magic happy pill for run-of-the-mill blues*. No big quick fix. Now, the GOOD news: there are small steps you can take that will change the way you feel and view life. Happiness can be yours without costing you a cent. We’ve assembled these 10 simple, do-able steps to a happier life!
What makes you laugh? Funny pet videos, Jimmy Fallon’s crazy skits/games, cheesy knock knock jokes, movies with silly physical comedy, whatever your flavor… take a little break from reality and find something to laugh about. Life can be much too serious. If you don’t have people in your life who make you laugh often, it’s time to seek it out.
Take a quick walk. Do some simple yoga poses. Join a gym. Head up the nearest flight of stairs. Getting your body in motion releases endorphins that make you feel better almost instantly. Regular physical activity has been proven to ward off feelings of depression and anxiety. Put on some music and have a dance party in your kitchen!
Sometimes, listening to people more helps take the focus off of problems in our own lives. It also puts our own problems into perspective. We often get bogged down worrying about our issues and forget that other people often have much bigger problems. Take the opportunity to ask a friend “What’s been going on in your life lately?”
Compare yourself only to yourself.
We all have strengths and you have weaknesses. Are you focused on improving yourself over time? Instead of focusing on the areas where you don’t measure up to others, think about the things you do well and focus your efforts there. No one is a master of all things. Someone who is an amazing cake maker may be super unorganized. Someone who sings like an angel may not be able to draw a straight line with a ruler. Someone who seems like a good mom with her Pinterest-perfect life may be drowning in debt. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do things better, but do it with the right intentions. Build on your existing strengths and talents. You have something to offer the world – and you waste it by spending time thinking you don’t measure up.
You set the tone in your home and family. If you don’t know how to say “no”, then you are setting yourself up for lots of undue stress. When you can’t say “no”, you put yourself and family in a situation where you can’t give your full attention to anything because you’re spread too thin. Need help saying “no”? Read these tips from Lifehack.org.
Saying “no” can become a hard habit to break. If your knee jerk reaction when you’re asked to do something is to say “no”, you need to evaluate why. Saying “yes” to a night out with friends or to volunteer at a soup kitchen might be a nice step outside of the comfort zone (which isn’t really THAT comfortable) you’ve created. When you’re not feeling happy, changing the way you do things is often a step in the right direction.
This isn’t an invitation for people to walk all over you. It’s the open door for releasing yourself from the weight of carrying a grudge. Forgiveness is freeing.
Until you feel it, that is. Sounds shady, but there’s real science that backs it up. Sometimes, going through the motions triggers real emotional responses. For instance, you don’t feel like doing something, but you do it anyway and the next thing you know, you’re actually enjoying yourself. This is NOT the same thing as hiding your feelings. Going through life pretending that everything is wonderful when it isn’t is NOT the same thing as faking it until you feel it.
Sit down and start making list of the things in your life that are good. Be thankful for those! You’ll find that once you start taking note of them, more will quickly come to mind. Make a happy thoughts jar and you can take it out and re-read them when you need a boost!
Don’t try to go it alone.
We tend to tell ourselves that we can handle everything ourselves and that asking for help only reveals weakness. That’s the farthest thing from the truth. Sharing the load makes it lighter. If you’re not feeling happy, maybe asking someone for help is the first step in the right direction. Similarly, offering help could be just the feeling of connection you need!
Looking for a more in-depth happiness resource? We recommend The Happiness Project! (affiliate)
One last tip-
*not to be confused with Depression, a real medical condition requiring professional guidance.