So you’ve been too busy lately to make happiness a priority, we totally get it. Diving into work or dealing with personal stuff at home can make your own mood an afterthought. It’s technically a good thing to be able to “put your problems on the shelf” and worry about happiness at a later date. But eventually, that later date has to be today. But, what ways can you feel happier starting today?
If you’ve been feeling down about everything, pessimistic, suspicious, or generally just feel awful there’s something you can do about it. Actually, there are a lot of science-backed ways to feel happier starting right now. Today. And they don’t require any supplies or planning to get started, so we might as well jump in head-first into these intentional-happiness techniques.
1. Take Care of Your Body
Getting sick is, physiologically, the same thing as getting depressed. If you haven’t been eating well, sleeping enough, or getting enough exercise then you’re going to feel crappy. You’re going to start taking everything the wrong way and you’re going to start feeling tired and awful no matter what you do. So start taking care of yourself. Add fruit to your breakfast and salad to lunch and dinner. Take out fried food in favor of delicious combo-nutrient meals like stir-fry and soups. Start sleeping more than six hours a night (I know, what a drag, but do it), and make sure you work up a cardio heart-rate and a sweat at least once a day. Which takes us to tip number two.
2. Work Up a Sweat
Exercise can make you happy in three ways. First, it makes you healthier and a healthy body is more capable of feeling good. Second, exercise creates endorphins, also known as a “runner’s high” which makes you feel exhilarated and accomplished. Third, hitting your exercise goals will make any work-oriented go-getter feel like a winner. And being a winner makes you happy. This is one of the best biological ways to feel happier.
Go for a Run (stick to a treadmill at home for now)
Strap on your shoes and take off running. It doesn’t matter where. It doesn’t matter for how long. Go somewhere with greenery and get the double-whammy of nature plus exercise. Nature scientifically makes you happier, too.
Dance it Out
Don’t want to leave the house? That’s fine. Crank up the tunes and jazzercise (dance like crazy) until you drop. Laugh at yourself, get up, and do it again.
Pump Iron (stick to bodyweight exercises at home for now)
Not a runner or a dancer? That’s cool, too. Hit the gym and pump iron until you feel “pumped.” That pumped feeling is pretty closely related to happiness.
3. Write It All Out
If there are negative thoughts that keep floating around in your mind, especially if you are feeling pessimistic and suspicious or unfocused, writing can help. Especially for an ambitious person, writing focuses your mind, clarifies your thoughts, and lets you process through things that are holding you back from happiness.
Define Your Negative Thoughts
Put your negative thoughts on paper. Don’t self-edit, at first. Let your nastiest, least charitable or most pessimistic thoughts be written down. Look at them. Apply logic to them. Be the rational person you are and these thoughts won’t keep their hold on you anymore.
Frame Your Positivity
Now write down all the things you want to think, or that you know you ought to be thinking. They become more real written down.
4. Smile and Speak Positively
The act of turning up the corners of your mouth (and crinkling your eyes) into a smile releases neurotransmitters that make you happy. It’s brief, but it’s scientific and real. So even when you want to frown, smile. Practice smiling. Smile at people when they say nice things. Then stack onto that by saying nice things back. It can take practice to get back into being a good, happy person. But make an effort to rejoin “the happy people” in being positive and nice. Even if you feel like the Beast in the classic Disney movie at first. It’s okay if you’re a little rusty at being happy.
This is our personal favorite of these 6 Proven Ways to Feel Happier Starting Today.
5. Listen to Music With Happiness In Mind
Did you know that listening to music just to enjoy it can make you happy? Especially if your actual goal when turning on the music is to get happier. This is a little bit of music therapy, a little bit of self-training. It doesn’t matter what you listen to. Listen to upbeat stuff if you feel it or let your mood guide you. Many people lift up into “happy” through sad or even angry songs to start with, and that’s okay too. As long as it works for you.
6. Dive Into a New Hobby or Skill
Finally, get into something enjoyable and fun. For a go-getter, your best bet is to pick a skill you want to learn and learn it. This an excellent way to feel happier starting today. Those beginning phases of learning are often the most enriching. You can blow through early lessons fast or pour yourself into learning something new and challenging. Try something you’ve always wanted to learn, like a language or carpentry or acrylic painting, and just do it. Or, if there’s an old skill you haven’t done in years, pick it back up and see how long it takes before you’re performing at better than your old abilities. You might be surprised how good you feel when you come “back to yourself” after time spent learning.
A few final thoughts…
If you’ve been stuck in a rut of feeling bad and focusing on things other than your happiness, you can change all that in a single day. Just putting one or two of these tips into action can start to rebuild your mood and your ability to be casually happy about things that happen day-to-day.
If you feel like you have been missing some social contact while staying at home lately check out these 4 Ways Moms can Socialize While Social Distancing.