How to Be Happy: Small Habits to Add to Your Routine
Regardless of your definition of ultimate happiness, having a better, more fulfilled life is possible. A few changes to your daily routine will help you get there.
Habits are important. If you’ve ever attempted to quit a bad habit, you know how ingrained they are.
Good habits, on the other hand, are profoundly ingrained. Why not concentrate on incorporating good habits into your daily routine?
Here are some daily, monthly, and annual habits to get you started on your journey. Remember that everyone’s definition of happiness is unique, as is their road to reaching it.
If any of these behaviours cause you stress or just do not match your lifestyle, get rid of them. With a little time and experience, you’ll discover out what works and what doesn’t.
The following daily routines may assist you in achieving more happiness in your life.
When you’re pleased, you tend to smile. However, it is a two-way street.
We smile because we are pleased, and smiling leads the brain to produce dopamine, making us even happier.
While not totally conclusive, researchers discovered that the relationship between smiling and pleasure might be ascribed to the “facial feedback theory,” which states that facial expressions may have a little impact on emotions.
That doesn’t mean you have to go around with a phoney grin on your face all the time. But the next time you’re feeling down, try smiling and see what happens. Alternatively, try beginning each day by smiling at yourself in the mirror.
Exercise is beneficial to more than just your physical health. Regular exercise may help decrease stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms while also increasing self-esteem and enjoyment.
Even little physical exercise may make a difference. You are not required to train for a triathlon or scale a cliff unless that is what makes you happy.
The key is to avoid overexertion. If you force yourself into a tough schedule, you may get frustrated (and sore).
Consider the following workout suggestions:
- Every night after supper, go for a stroll around the block.
- Sign up for a beginner’s yoga or tai chi lesson.
- Begin your day with stretching for 5 minutes.
- Remind yourself of any pleasurable hobbies you used to like but have since abandoned. Alternatively, you may begin things you’ve always wanted to do, such as golf, bowling, or dance.
- Get plenty of rest.
The majority of individuals need at least 7 hours of sleep every night. If you find yourself resisting the need to sleep throughout the day, or if you just feel tired, your body may be alerting you that it needs more rest.
Regardless of how much our contemporary culture encourages us to sleep less, we know that proper sleep is essential for healthy health, cognitive function, and emotional well-being. Getting adequate sleep also lowers your chances of getting chronic diseases including heart disease, depression, and diabetes.
Here are some pointers to help you develop a healthier sleep routine:
- Keep track of how many hours you sleep each night and how refreshed you feel. You should have a better notion of how you’re doing after a week. You might also try tracking your sleep using an app.
- Every day, including weekends, go to bed and get up at the same hour.
- Set aside an hour before bed for quiet time. Take a bath, read a book, or do anything else soothing. Eat and drink in moderation.
- Maintain a dark, cool, and quiet bedroom.
- Purchase some quality bedding.
- If you must snooze, try to keep it to 20 minutes.
- If you have trouble sleeping on a regular basis, see a doctor. You might have a sleep condition that needs to be treated.
- Eat in accordance with your mood.
You may already be aware that your eating choices influence your overall physical health. However, certain meals might have an effect on your mental state.
As an example:
- Carbohydrates cause the release of serotonin, a “feel-good” hormone. Simply limit simple carbohydrates — meals heavy in sugar and starch — since the energy boost is fleeting and you’ll collapse. Complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, may help you avoid a crash while still supplying serotonin.
- Protein-rich foods include lean meat, poultry, lentils, and dairy. Protein-rich diets stimulate the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, which improves energy and focus.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, present in fatty fish, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that extend to your general brain health. If you don’t consume fish, you may want to chat to your doctor about supplementing.
- High-processed or deep-fried foods, as well as missing meals, might make you feel depressed.
- If you want to start eating with your mood in mind, choose one meal decision for your mood each day.
For instance, instead of a large, sugary morning pastry, try some Greek yoghurt with fruit. You’ll still fulfil your sweet appetite, and the protein will keep you from feeling drained in the middle of the day. Consider incorporating a new food exchange each week.
- Show appreciation
Simply being appreciative may improve your mood and provide other advantages. A two-part research, for example, discovered that cultivating thankfulness may have a considerable influence on sentiments of optimism and pleasure.
You may try beginning each day by expressing gratitude for one item. This may be done while brushing your teeth or while waiting for your snoozed alarm to go off.
Consider keeping an eye out for nice things in your life as you go about your day. They may be significant events, such as discovering that someone loves you or receiving a well-deserved promotion.
They may also be little gestures, such as a coworker offering you a cup of coffee or a neighbour waving to you. Perhaps it’s simply the warmth of the sun on your skin.
You may even become more conscious of all the great things around you with little practise.
- Pay compliments
According to research, committing acts of kindness may also assist boost your general well-being.
Giving a genuine praise is a fast and simple method to brighten someone’s day while also increasing your own pleasure.
Catch the person’s attention and say it with a grin so they know you’re serious. You may be shocked at how amazing it feels.
If you want to complement someone on their physical looks, be sure you do it in a courteous manner.
- Take a big breath.
You’re tense, your shoulders are stiff, and you’re afraid you’re going to “lose it.” We’ve all experienced it.
To calm yourself down, instinct may urge you to take a long, deep breath.
That instinct turned out to be correct. Slow breathing and deep breathing techniques have been shown in studies to help alleviate stress.
When you’re feeling anxious or at your wit’s end, follow these steps:
- Shut your eyes. Try to imagine a pleasant recollection or a lovely location.
- Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose.
- Exhale slowly via your mouth or nose.
- Repeat this method numerous times until you feel yourself relaxing.
- If taking deep, purposeful breaths is difficult for you, try counting to 5 in your brain with each inhale and exhale.
- Recognize the sad times
Although having a cheerful attitude is typically beneficial, awful things do happen to everyone. It’s just a fact of life.
If you get terrible news, make a mistake, or just feel down, don’t attempt to pretend you’re pleased.
Recognize your dissatisfaction and allow yourself to feel it for a minute. Then turn your attention to what caused you to feel this way and what it could take to heal.
Would a deep breathing practise be beneficial? A lengthy stroll outside? Discussing it with someone?
Allow the time to pass and focus on yourself. Remember, no one is always happy.
- Maintain a journal
A diary is an excellent tool for organising your ideas, analysing your emotions, and making goals. You don’t have to be a literary genius or a prolific writer to gain.
It may be as basic as scribbling down a few ideas before going to bed. If writing certain things makes you anxious, you can always destroy it after you’re done. It is the procedure that is important.
Not sure what to do with all of the emotions that spill into the page? Our advice to managing your emotions may be useful.
- Deal with stress head on Life is full with stresses, and it’s difficult to escape them altogether.
There’s no reason to. Stress isn’t always bad, and we can even modify our thoughts about it. There is sometimes an advantage to being stressed.
For those pressures you can’t avoid, remind yourself that everyone experiences stress, so there’s no need to blame yourself. And chances are, you’re stronger than you realise.
Instead of allowing yourself to get overwhelmed, attempt to confront the stressor head-on. This may include starting an awkward discussion or doing additional work, but the sooner you tackle it, the less the pit in your stomach will become.
- Do not compare yourself to others.
It’s easy to compare yourself to others, whether it’s on social media, at work, or even in a yoga class. The end result? You may feel more dissatisfied, have reduced self-esteem, and even suffer from despair and anxiety.
It takes discipline to quit comparing yourself to others, but it’s well worth it for the sake of inner peace and pleasure.
Start with some of the other suggestions on this list, such as deep breathing and writing, to help focus your attention inside to yourself. You might also chat to a therapist for some perspective.
The weekly behaviours listed below may assist you in feeling happy.
- Clear the clutter
Decluttering may seem to be a large undertaking, but putting up only 20 minutes each week may have a significant effect.
What can you do in 20 minutes? Lots.
Set a timer on your phone for 15 minutes and devote that time to cleaning up a particular section of one room, such as your closet or that out-of-control trash drawer. Put everything back in its proper place and eliminate or give away any excess clutter that is no longer helping you.
To make things a bit simpler, have a separate box for freebies (and avoid creating more clutter).
Use the remaining 5 minutes to go around your living area and put away any stray objects that come into your path.
You may use this method once a week, once a day, or whenever you feel your space is out of hand.
- Visit friends
Humans are usually regarded as social organisms, and although studies on how precisely sociability affects happiness is conflicting, the general agreement is that having social ties may make us happy.
Who are you missing? Make contact with them. Make a date to meet or just have a lengthy phone conversation.
Making new acquaintances as an adult might seem almost impossible. However, it is not about the number of friends you have. It’s all about establishing meaningful connections, even if they’re with only one or two individuals.
Consider joining a local volunteer organisation or taking a class. Both may assist you in meeting like-minded individuals in your neighbourhood. They’re probably seeking for pals as well.
Companionship does not have to be confined to human beings. Several studies have shown that pets may provide comparable advantages.
Love animals but unable to keep a pet? Consider volunteering at a local animal shelter to meet new human and animal friends.
- Schedule your week
Do you feel like you’re flailing around? At the conclusion of each week, sit down and make a simple list for the next week.
Even if you don’t follow to the plan, scheduling time to do laundry, go grocery shopping, or focus on assignments at work might help you relax.
You can buy a sophisticated planner or software, but a sticky note on your computer or a scrap of paper in your pocket will suffice.
- Get rid of your phone
There is emerging evidence that heavy phone usage may cause brain alterations and affect your mood, with one study indicating more substantial cognitive and emotional abnormalities in teenagers and young adults.
Turn off all gadgets and store your earphones for at least one hour once a week. They’ll still be there for you if you need them afterwards.
If you haven’t disconnected in a long time, you may be shocked at how much of a difference unplugging makes. Allow your thoughts to roam for a change. Read. Meditate. Take a stroll and observe your surroundings. Be gregarious. Or you may be alone. Simply be.
Does it seem too difficult? Unplug for a shorter period of time many times every week.
- Spend time in nature
According to one research, spending 30 minutes or more each week in green areas may help decrease blood pressure and the risk of developing depression.
Your green area might be someplace you can appreciate and enjoy nature and fresh air, such as a local park, your own backyard, or a rooftop garden.
Better still, throw in some outside exercise for added benefit. The same research indicated that persons who spent time in green settings were more inclined to exercise more often and for longer periods of time each time.
- Investigate meditation
There are several meditation techniques to try. They might include movement, concentration, spirituality, or a mix of the three.
Meditation does not have to be difficult. It might be as easy as sitting quietly for 5 minutes with your own thoughts. Even the already described deep breathing techniques may be used as a type of meditation.
We surely feel better when we learn to deal with challenges. When presented with a dilemma, consider what helped you get through a similar situation in the past. Would it work in this situation? What other options do you have?
If you feel like you’re hitting a brick wall, try meeting with a mental health expert on a weekly basis, such as a therapist. You do not need to be diagnosed with a mental illness or be in an overwhelming crisis to seek counselling.
Mental health specialists are educated to assist individuals in improving their coping abilities. Furthermore, there is no commitment to continue once you begin.
Even a few sessions might help you add new tools to your emotional toolkit.
Concerned about the price? Therapy may be afforded on any budget.
- Create a self-care routine.
In today’s fast-paced environment, it’s easy to forget self-care. However, finding as much time as you can to nourish yourself is crucial in supporting your body’s obligations of transporting your ideas, desires, and soul through this world.
Perhaps it’s relaxing after a long, hot bath. It might also be establishing a skin care regimen that makes you feel pampered. It might also be as simple as setting up a night to put on your softest pyjamas and watch a movie from beginning to end.
Make time for whatever it is. Put it in your calendar if necessary, but make it a priority to do it.
You might attempt these monthly routines to boost your happiness.
- Give something back
If you find that delivering daily praises lifts your attitude, try developing a monthly habit of giving back on a greater scale.
Perhaps it’s volunteering at a food bank on the third weekend of each month or offering to babysit your friend’s children one night every month.
- Take yourself out.
You don’t have somebody to go out with? So, what rule says you can’t go out by yourself?
Consider going to your favourite restaurant, seeing a movie, or taking that vacation you’ve always wanted to take.
Even if you’re a social butterfly, making time for yourself may help you reconnect with the things that actually make you happy.
- Make a list of ideas.
You arrive 10 minutes early for an appointment. What do you do with your free time? Take out your phone to check your social media? Concerned about the hectic week ahead of you?
Trying to manage your thoughts during these little periods of time might be beneficial.
Make a brief list of good memories or things you’re looking forward to at the beginning of each month on a little piece of paper or on your phone.
When you’re waiting for a ride, in line at the grocery store, or simply have a few minutes to waste, pull out the list. You may also utilise it when you’re feeling low and need to modify your ideas.
Follow these practises at least once a year to reflect and prepare for happiness.
Take some time to contemplate.
While the start of a new year is an excellent opportunity to take stock of your life, you may establish annual habits at any time of year. Set aside some time to catch up with yourself like you would an old friend:
- How are things going for you?
- What have you been up to lately?
- Are you happier now than you were last year?
However, try not to be too tough on yourself for your responses. You’ve made it through another year, and that’s enough to rejoice.
If your mood hasn’t improved much in the recent year, see a doctor or mental health expert. You might be suffering from depression or some underlying health problem that is influencing your mood.
- Rethink your objectives.
People change, so examine where you’re going and if it’s still where you want to go. It is not a sin to alter your plans.
Allow yourself to let go of any ambitions that no longer serve you, even if they seem appealing on paper.
- Look after your body.
This is probably something you’ve heard before, including numerous times in this post. Your physical and emotional wellbeing are inextricably linked.
As you develop behaviours to boost your happiness, it is important to follow up with regular consultations to assist you care for your body, such as:
Visiting a primary care physician for an annual physical; discussing and addressing any chronic health conditions with a healthcare professional; and seeing recommended specialists as needed; visiting a dentist for an oral cleaning and dental exam, with follow-up as needed; and getting your vision checked
- Let rid of resentments
This is often easier said than done. However, recognising that you are not doing it for another person or persons may help you be more receptive to starting the process.
Offering forgiveness or letting go of a grudge might be more about self-care than compassion for others.
Examine your interpersonal interactions. Do you carry any animosity or malice against anyone? If this is the case, try reaching out to them in an attempt to bury the hatchet.
There is no need for a reconciliation. You may simply need to call it quits and move on.
If reaching out isn’t an option, consider writing your emotions down. You are not even required to submit it to them. Simply getting your emotions out of your head and into the environment may be liberating. If you like, you may destroy the letter later.
- Arrange a vacation
With an ever-increasingly stressful schedule, it’s easy to forget to arrange something essential to your well-being: time off. Planning a vacation, whether near to home or far away, might provide even additional rewards.
Furthermore, evidence supports both the emotional and physical advantages of having a well-deserved holiday. In one such study, researchers examined stress and heart rate in relation to vacationing. They discovered that not only did the vacation itself lower stress, but so did the weeks preceding up to it.