When are you “happy”?
Can you be happier than you are right now?
What makes you happy?
Life is so busy, hectic and filled with challenges. There are also myriad opportunities for personal enrichment, satisfaction, friendship, love, finding purpose and doing good for others. Still, while the desire for and pursuit of happiness can sometimes seem elusive and fleeting, there are effective ways to increase your happiness.
Find joy in the little things
For most people, life consists of an accumulation of small moments. There are, of course, momentous events that occur in a person’s life that can precipitate a dramatic shift, changing direction, embarking on a new path. It is in the little things that you can find your joy and boost happiness. When you allow yourself to be joyful, it’s easier to find joy. Feel the deliciousness of descending into cool water in a lake on a hot day. Savor the aroma and taste of a favorite meal and enjoy the presence of loving family. These are the little things that are taken for granted
Start each day with a smile
When you smile, you trigger smile muscles in others, and you also benefit. Smiling activates neural brain circuits associated with well-being and happiness. It also feels good to smile, regularly.
Connect with others
Time motivates people to choose being with family and friends more than working. Happiness is a “collective phenomenon,” with people’s happiness dependent on the happiness of those with whom they connect
Do what you’re most passionate about
If you get swept up in what you do for a living, barely noticing the passage of time, or can’t wait to get to your job or do things with your children or participate in an activity with friends, you’re engaging in what you find most passionate. Pursuing your passions is conducive to increased happiness and, when you do what you’re most passionate about, you’re helping develop your potential, broadening your horizons and contributing to higher self-esteem and overall well-being
Reflect on your blessings and be grateful
Everyone has something in their life to be grateful for. Most of us have many blessings. A simple ritual of daily reflection is enough to center in on them and allows us to take a few moments to express personal gratitude for all that we have been given in life
Choose to be positive and see the best in every situation
It does take practice and a willingness to confront your fears and reject their power to control you. If you’ve always seen life as a glass half-empty proposition, turn that assumption around and strive to see situations as a glass half-full. Positive emotions can counteract the effects of adversity
Take steps to enrich your life
Seek knowledge, explore unknown areas, pus yourself to go beyond your current skill set or experience, strive to learn something new
Create goals and plans to achieve what you want most
If you expect or desire to achieve a certain standard of living, aspire to earn a college degree, receive a promotion, buy a house, marry and have children or any other goal you find meaningful and purposeful, you must identify the goal first and then create action plans to help you achieve what you want
Live in the moment
When you focus on now, you are more aware of your surroundings, your breath, how you feel, what’s going on with your loved ones, family, friends, co-workers, other drivers and everything in your immediate environment. You’re alive and fully aware of it
Be good to yourself
Embark on a lifestyle that includes healthy behaviors: eat nutritious foods, cut down or cut out alcoholic intake, get sufficient and restful sleep, hydrate well, exercise regularly and take frequent breaks so that you give yourself breathing time between tasks
Ask for help when you need it
Another person may have a suggestion that works or discussing what’s perplexing you may stimulate a solution you hadn’t realized before. If you’re bogged down with financial problems, ask for assistance to overcome them
Let go of sadness and disappointment
Remember, you deserve to be happy. To get there, ditch negative emotions and replace them with more uplifting ones
One is loving kindness meditation, opening hearts to positive emotions. This type of meditation has many other benefits, including increasing social connectedness
Walk in nature
Exercise releases endorphins in your brain that elevate mood and make you feel better. Walking in nature also highlights greater appreciation of natural beauty, thankfulness that you’re alive and healthy enough to be physically active, helping to tone your body and improve cardiovascular, lung and other vital bodily functions
Laugh, and make time for play
It’s impossible to see someone else laugh and not be affected by it. Do what gives you pleasure, engage in discovery, let your creativity flow. Laughter can reduce levels of stress and inflammation and benefit heart functioning