“Oh, how I long for a sad, dark, depressing, lonely life,” said no one ever! We know we only get one shot to make life as good as we can make it. Sometimes we succeed, other times we fail, but that is the natural ebb and flow of human existence.
To be happy and live a happy life, you need to do it on purpose. You can’t necessarily change every situation or circumstance in your life, but you can adjust your outlook and the way you react to it.
If your life needs some spice with a sprinkle of sunshine, here are 7 things you should be doing – every day.
1. Write it down. Get yourself a journal, a diary, or a plain ol’ notebook and start writing. The act of writing aimlessly from the heart can be very cathartic. Release what is bothering you by getting it out through writing. Once it is written, let it go.
2. Give away hugs. Hugging someone can be beneficial for your mental, emotional, and physical health. Stress levels dissipate and sensations of calm overcome the body. An embrace can cause your body to release oxytocin which is a chemical associated with happiness and cuddling.
“…the power of vitamin D is what your body needs.”
3. Spend time outdoors. Did you know that being outdoors is beneficial to your health? If you are down in the dumps, a little time outdoors may be just what you need. Fresh air is always good for the lungs, but the power of vitamin D is what your body needs. Not only does it keep your body from having a deficiency, but it also causes the release of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical in the brain.
4. Pay it forward. Unless you are a complete Scrooge, you know that doing something nice for someone else brings on a warm, fuzzy feeling. So, why don’t we do it more often? To live a happier life, pay it forward every single day. It doesn’t have to be an exuberantly large tip for your server at dinner or even paying for the groceries of the man in line behind you at the grocery store. Simply holding the door for the person behind you, offering a close parking space to someone else, joining in a community cleanup effort, etc.
“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” — Maya Angelou
5. Listen to music. There are many people who find that listening to music can affect their mood. It may depend on the era, the genre, the artist, or the song, but pay attention to that melody or those lyrics that strike a chord with your happy self. Listening to music like this regularly can positively impact your mood – and your life.
6. Unplug. Were people happier in years gone by? We often hear about people speaking of simpler times. They could truly be on to something. If you incorporate some unplugged time into your life, you may be surprised at the happiness you will find. Consider turning off your screens for an hour each day or for one whole day each week. Watch what happens.
7. Find gratitude. Perhaps the most important item on this list is a reminder to be grateful for everything in your life. When you nurture the ability to be thankful for the small things, you can always find a ray of hope among dark clouds. Take a few minutes each day to write down something you are grateful for – and don’t forget to look back at all your blessings, too.
If you are looking for an opportunity to add some light and positivity to your life, then find a way to introduce at least a few of these activities to your everyday routine. It doesn’t matter how difficult your situation is, there is always a way to have a happier life. Find it.