Psychologists have found that happiness and health can be linked to simple habits.
Behavioral scientists spend a lot of time studying what makes us happy and what doesn’t. Happiness can predict longevity and health, and happiness scales can help to assess social progress and public policy success. Happiness isn’t something you can just happen to. Everybody can make small changes to our behavior, environment, and relationships to help us live a happier lifestyle.
No matter your definition of happiness, you can live a happier and more fulfilled life. You can make a few changes to your daily Habits to help you reach your goals.
In This Article
Habits are important. You know how hard it is to break bad habits if you have tried.
Happiness is often found within. Learn to manage your negative thoughts and approach each day with optimism.
Good habits are also deeply ingrained. Make positive habits part of your daily routine.
These are some habits that can help you get started on your journey. Remember that every person’s definition of happiness is different, and so is the path to it.
You can eliminate any habits that cause stress or don’t work. You will learn what works for you with a bit of practice and time.
These daily habits can help you to achieve greater happiness in your everyday life.
When you are happy, it is easy to smile. It’s a two-way street.
Smile because you’re happy. Smiling causes your brain to release dopamine which makes you more comfortable.
Although not perfect, researchers found that smiling can be linked to happiness. This could be due to the “facial Feedback Hypothesis,” which suggests that facial expressions might slightly influence emotions.
This does not mean that you should always have a smile on your face. Try smiling the next time you feel low. Start your day by smiling in the mirror.
Exercise does not just benefit your body. Regular exercise can reduce stress and feelings of anxiety as well as symptoms of depression. It also helps to boost self-esteem.
A modest amount of physical activity can make all the difference. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to do a triathlon or climb a cliff.
It is important not to put yourself under too much pressure. You may feel frustrated and sore if you suddenly start a strenuous routine.
These are some exercise starters to consider:
- After dinner, take a stroll around the block.
- Register for a class in yoga, tai-chi, or other beginner’s classes.
- Get started with 5 minutes of stretching.
You might recall any past activities you enjoyed but have lost touch with. You could also consider trying new activities, such as bowling, golf, and dancing.
3. Sleep well
Adults need at least 7 hrs to sleep each night. Your body could tell you that you need more sleep if you feel tired or irritable or have trouble concentrating.
No matter how much society tries to make us sleep less, we know that enough sleep is essential for good health, brain function, emotional well-being, and sleep quality. Your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and depression is reduced if you get enough sleep.
These are some tips to help improve your sleep habits.
- Note how much sleep you get each night and how tired you feel. You should be able to see how your sleep habits have changed over the past week. An app can be used to track your sleep.
- Every day, I get up and go to bed simultaneously. This includes weekends.
- The hour before bed should be reserved for quiet. Relax by taking a hot bath, reading, or doing something else. Avoid excessive drinking and heavy eating.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool.
- Buy quality bedding.
- You can limit the amount of time you take a nap to 20 minutes if it is necessary.
Talk to a doctor if you have trouble sleeping. A sleep disorder may be a possibility.
4. Feel the mood and eat with it
Your overall health and well-being may be affected by your choices in food. But certain foods can also impact your mental state.
Take, for example:
- Carbohydrates produce serotonin. This is a “feel good” hormone. Simple carbs and foods high in sugar or starch should be kept to a minimum. Otherwise, you will crash. You can avoid hitting by choosing complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, beans, and whole grains. This will still provide serotonin.
- High in protein are lean meats, poultry, legumes, and dairy. Dopamine and norepinephrine are released from protein-rich foods, which increase energy and concentration.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which can improve your brain health. Talk to your doctor if you don’t like fish.
- High-processed or deep-fried food can make you feel down, so it’s worth skipping meals.
You can eat according to your mood by choosing one food each day.
You can swap a large, sweet breakfast pasty for Greek yogurt with fruit. The sweetener will still satisfy your sweet tooth, and the protein will keep you from going hungry in the middle of the day. You might consider adding a new food option each week.
5. Practice gratitude
Being grateful can boost your mood and provide other benefits. A two-part study showed that practicing gratitude can significantly affect your feelings of hope, happiness, and security.
Start each day by being grateful. This can be done while you brush your teeth or wait for the alarm to go off.
Keep an eye out for the positive things in your daily life as you go about your day. These can be essential things like knowing someone is in love with you or promotion.
They can be small things like a neighbor waving to you or a coworker offering you a cup of coffee. It could be as simple as the sun’s warmth upon your skin.
You can even be more aware of the positive things in your life with a bit of practice.
6. Give a compliment
Research suggests that acts of kindness can also improve your overall health.
A sincere compliment can make someone’s day brighter and give you a boost of happiness.
Smile and catch the eye of the person. It might surprise you at how great it makes your feel.
If you wish to compliment someone’s physical appearance, be respectful.
7. Deeply breathe in
It’s a tense feeling. Your shoulders are tight. You feel like you might “lose it”.
Your instinct may tell you it is time to slow down and take a deep, long breath.
It turns out that this instinct is good. Research supports that slow breathing and deep breath exercises can reduce stress.
These steps will help you get through any stress or anxiety.
- Close your eyes. Imagine a happy memory or a beautiful place.
- Slowly, deeply inhale through your nose.
- Slowly exhale through your nose or mouth.
- Continue this process until you feel calm.
Try counting to five in your head for each inhale or exhale if you have trouble taking slow, deliberate breaths.
8. Recognize the unpleasing moments
A positive attitude can be a great thing. However, bad things happen to everyone. It’s part of everyday life.
Do not pretend to be happy if you have bad news, make mistakes, or feel down.
Recognize the feeling of sadness and let it go for a while. Next, focus on what caused you to feel this way and how you might recover.
Do deep breathing exercises help? Take a long, brisk walk outside. Are you talking to someone about it?
Take a deep breath and let the moment pass. Keep in mind that no one is always happy.
9. Keep a journal
A journal can be a great way to organize your thoughts and feelings, make plans, and analyze them. You don’t need to be a writer or a genius to use a journal to reap the benefits.
You can simply write down some thoughts before you go to sleep. You can always rip it off if you are nervous about writing certain things. It is the process that matters.
10. Take control of stress.
It’s impossible not to be stressed out in life.
It’s not necessary. Stress doesn’t always have to be harmful. We can change our attitude about stress. Sometimes there is an upside to stress.
Remind yourself that stress is something everyone experiences — it doesn’t matter if you cannot avoid them. Chances are you are stronger than you think.
Do not let yourself become overwhelmed. Instead, confront the stressor head-on. Having an uncomfortable conversation with the person or doing extra work might be necessary. But the sooner you address the stressor, the sooner your stomach will start to heal.
11. Do not compare yourself with others.
It doesn’t matter if you do it on social media, at work, or at yoga; it’s easy for you to compare yourself with others. What’s the result? The result? More discontent, lower self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.
It takes practice to stop comparing oneself to another, but it is worth it for your inner peace and happiness.
Start with the tips that will help you draw your attention inwardly to yourself. These include journaling and deep breathing. For perspective, you might also want to talk with a therapist.
These tips will help you feel happier.
While it may sound like a colossal project, I am decluttering can be done in 20 minutes per week.
What can you accomplish in just 20 minutes? Lots.
You can set a timer on the phone to take 15 minutes to clean up one area in your room. For example, you could tidy up your closet or junk drawer. You can put everything in its place and toss or throw away any clutter that isn’t serving you anymore.
Keep a designated box for giveaways to make things easier and avoid clutter.
Take 5 minutes to walk around your home and remove any stray items.
This trick can be done once a week or once daily, depending on how chaotic your space feels.
13. Make friends
Humans are generally considered social beings. Research is mixed about how socialization affects happiness. However, there is a consensus that social relationships can make us happier.
Who do you miss? Reach out to them. Set up a time to meet or just have a lengthy telephone conversation.
It can be challenging to find new friends in adulthood. It’s not about how many people you know. It’s about meaningful relationships, even with just one or two people.
You can get involved in your local volunteer group or take a class. These activities can help you connect with other like-minded people in the area. They may also be looking for friends.
Companionship does not have to be restricted to humans. Multiple studies have shown that pets can provide similar benefits.
Are you a lover of animals but don’t want a pet? Volunteer at your local shelter to meet new people — both animal and human.
14. Plan your week
Do you feel like you are flailing around? Take a few minutes to sit down and make a list for the next week in the end.
Even if your plan doesn’t work, it can be helpful to block out time for laundry, grocery shopping, and other tasks.
While you can buy a fancy planner or fancy app, a simple sticky note on your laptop or scrap paper can suffice.
15. Get rid of your phone.
Evidence is mounting to support the idea that excessive use of your phone can cause brain changes and affect your mood. one review also shows more severe cognitive and emotional problems in teens and young adults.
Turn off all electronics and leave your earbuds in place for at least an hour weekly. If you need them, they’ll be available for you later.
You might be amazed at the impact unplugging can have on your life. Allow your mind to wander for a while. Read. Meditate. Take a walk, and pay attention to the surroundings. Get along with others. You can also be your person. Simply be.
Does it sound too intimidating? You can try unplugging for shorter periods, several times per week.
16. Get out into the natural world.
According to one study, spending 30 minutes or more per week in green spaces can help lower blood pressure and reduce the likelihood of developing depression.
You could have a green space in your backyard, your backyard, or roof — any place you can enjoy and appreciate nature and fresh air.
For even more benefits, you can add outdoor exercise to the mix. According to the same study, people who spend more time in green spaces are more likely than others to exercise regularly and for more extended periods.
17. Meditation is a great option.
There are many ways to meditate. They can be focused, movement, spirituality, or a combination of both.
Meditation does not have to be complicated. You can sit quietly for five minutes and let your thoughts drift away. Even deep breathing exercises can be used as a meditation.
18. Therapy is an option.
Learning how to overcome obstacles makes us happier. Think back to the times you have overcome similar problems in the past when you are faced with a problem. It would work here. Is there anything else you can do?
Talking to a professional such as a therapist weekly is a good idea if you feel stuck. To seek therapy, you don’t have to suffer from a mental disorder or an overwhelming crisis.
Mental health professionals have been trained to improve people’s coping skills. There is no obligation to continue after you have started.
Even a few sessions can add new items to your emotional toolbox.
19. Create a self-care routine
In a fast-paced environment, it’s easy to forget self-care. It is crucial to make time for yourself to take care of your body and support your passions, thoughts, and spirit in this fast-paced world.
Perhaps it’s relaxing in a hot tub after a hard day at work. You might also try a skin care regimen that makes you feel luxurious. You could also set aside an evening to do nothing but put on your most comfortable clothes and watch a movie.
It doesn’t matter what it is; set aside time. If you have to, put it in your planner. But make it a priority.
These monthly habits can help you improve your happiness.
20. Give back
Consider establishing a monthly routine where you give back to boost your mood if you find that daily compliments can provide a lift to your mood.
Perhaps it’s volunteering at a food bank every third weekend or watching your friends’ kids for one night each month.
21. Get out and enjoy the outdoors.
Don’t you have anyone to go with you out? You can’t go on your own.
You might consider going to your favorite restaurant or watching a movie and taking that dream trip.
Even if your social life is a bit chaotic, some alone time can help you reconnect to the things that make you happy.
22. Make a list of ideas.
You arrive at your appointment in 10 minutes. What are you going to do with the extra time? Grab your phone and scroll through social media. Do you worry about the hectic week ahead?
These brief moments can be an excellent opportunity to gain control over your thoughts.
Make a list of positive memories and things you look forward to at the beginning of each month on a piece of paper or your smartphone.
The list can be used when waiting in line for a ride or at the grocery store. It can also be used when you are feeling low or need to make a change.
Try following these habits at least once a year to reflect on your happiness and plan for the future.
23. Reflection is a good idea.
While the beginning of a new year is an ideal time to take stock of your life, it’s also a great time to establish yearly habits for any period of the year. Take some time to get to know yourself, just like a friend.
- What are you doing?
- What are you up to lately?
- Are you happier today than you were one year ago?
Try not to judge yourself too harshly about your answers. It’s a reason for celebration that you’ve made it this far.
Talking to a professional in mental health or a doctor if your mood hasn’t improved significantly over the past year is advisable. You may suffer from depression or an underlying condition affecting your mood.
24. Reexamine your goals
You change. So think about where you are now and where you want it to be. It’s okay to change your plans.
Any goals that don’t serve you anymore, even though they may sound great on paper.
25. Take care of yourself.
This is something you’ve probably heard before. Your mental and physical health are interrelated.
You can improve your happiness by creating habits. You must keep up with your routine appointments.
- A primary care physician is required to perform an annual physical.
- We are discussing and addressing chronic conditions with a healthcare professional and seeing recommended specialists if necessary.
- Visit a dentist to have an exam and oral cleaning. Follow-up is recommended
- Get your vision tested.
26. Judges should be let go.
This is often a difficult task. It is important to remember that you are not doing this for someone else. This will help you be more open and willing to start the process.
Offering forgiveness and dropping a grudge can be more about self-care than compassion for others.
Assess your relationships with other people. Do you feel resentful or angry toward anyone? You might want to reach out to someone if you feel sore or ill-willed.
It does not need to be a reconciliation. It may be enough just to end the relationship and move on.
You can also send a letter to express your feelings if reaching out is impossible. It doesn’t have to be written. Letting your emotions out and sharing them with the world can be liberating. If you wish, you can also shred the letter.
27. Limit your alcohol intake
It’s tempting to drink alcohol when times are tough because it “numbs” painful feelings.
It can make you angry or aggressive, and it can also exaggerate certain feelings. You may feel depressed or angry.
Learn more about the health effects of alcohol and simple ways to cut it down.
28. A well-balanced diet is a good choice.
Healthy choices in your diet can help you feel happier emotionally. Positive actions for yourself can increase self-esteem.
Good nutrition is essential for brain and body health. You should aim to eat a balanced diet, which includes all major food groups.
29. It is being able to overcome negative thinking.
Humans have a tendency, like Eeyore and Tigger, to dwell more on negative experiences than on good ones. This is an evolutionary adaptation. Learning from painful or harmful situations in life (bullying and trauma, betrayal, etc.) helps us to avoid them in the future. It also allows us to react quickly in times of crisis.
This means you will need more effort to overcome negative thoughts. Here’s how:
Stop worrying about negative thoughts. This will only make you worry more. Instead, accept your worries. Recognize when you’re in a negative spiral. “I worry about money.” “I obsess about work problems.”
Be kind to yourself. If you feel down, think of what advice you would give a friend. Try to implement that advice for yourself.
Challenge negative thoughts. Socratic questioning refers to the act of challenging and changing irrational thought patterns. Studies have shown this method can decrease depression symptoms. It is designed to transform your pessimistic outlook (“I’m a failure.”) into a positive mindset (“I have had a lot of success in my career. I don’t think this is a reflection of me. You can learn from it and improve.” Here are some questions to ask yourself to challenge your negative thinking.
Write down what you are putting on your mind. For example, “I am having problems at work” or “I am doubting my abilities.”
- Ask yourself, “What evidence supports this idea?”
- “Am I basing it on facts?” “Or my feelings?”
- “Could I be misinterpreting this situation?”
- “How could other people see the situation differently?”
- “How would I see this situation if it were to happen to me?”
The bottom line is Negative thinking happens to everyone. However, if we acknowledge and challenge it, we can make a massive step towards a happier life.
30. Get Moving
People tend to be happier when they move around, even a little. An analysis of the moods and movement of cellphone users revealed that people report more happiness when moving for at least 15 minutes than when they have been sitting down or lying down. It wasn’t a strenuous activity that made them happy, but gentle walking did the trick. We don’t know whether moving makes us happy or if we just need to move more. But we know that exercise is associated with greater happiness and better health.
31. Plan a vacation
It’s easy to forget about time off when you have a hectic schedule. Planning a trip can bring you even more benefits, regardless of location.
Research supports both the mental and physical benefits of taking that needed vacation. One such study looked at stress levels and heart rates during holidays. Researchers found that breaks themselves positively affected stress levels, as did the weeks preceding the trip.
Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family?
This simple question forms the basis of a new area of psychological research called “self-compassion” — how kind people see themselves. It turns out that people who find it easy and comfortable to support others and be understanding of their mistakes, such as being overweight or not exercising, are often surprisingly low in self-compassion tests.
It’s time for you to take a break and practice self-compassion. High scores on self-compassion tests lead to less anxiety and depression, as well as being happier and more optimistic.
Kristin Neff is a University of Texas psychologist and the author of “Self-Compassion” Dr. Neff developed a self-compassion scale to help people assess their level of compassion. This mini-test will help you determine if your self-compassion is strong or weak. You can use a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being more likely to feel the same way and 1 being less likely.
- I’m disapproving and judgmental about my own flaws and inadequacies.
- When I’m feeling down, I tend to obsess and fixate on everything that’s wrong.
- When I fail at something important to me, I become consumed by feelings of inadequacy.
- When times are really difficult, I tend to be tough on myself.
- When I see aspects of myself that I don’t like, I get down on myself.
- When things are going badly for me, I see the difficulties as part of life that everyone goes through.
- When something upsets me, I try to keep my emotions in balance.
- When something painful happens, I try to take a balanced view of the situation.
- When I fail at something important to me, I try to keep things in perspective.
- I’m tolerant of my own flaws and inadequacies.
It is obvious that you will be very hard on yourself if your scores are high on the first five questions but low on the rest. You are practicing self-compassion if your highest scores were in questions 6-10.
Dr. Neff recommends a series of exercises for those who are low in self-compassion. These include writing a support letter to yourself, as you would to a friend. It is also recommended to list your strengths and weaknesses and think of ways you can improve yourself.
Meditation and “compassion breaks” are other exercises that can be used. These include repeating mantras such as “I’m going TO BE GENTLE TO ME IN THIS MOMENT.”
Dr. Neff reminds us that being kind to oneself takes practice.
She said that “it’s difficult to undo the habits you have learned over a lifetime.” “People must actively and consciously learn the habit of self-compassion.”