Are you happy? Your gut instinct may be to reply, “Yes, of course I am!” However, a survey found that just 14% of Americans would consider themselves to be very happy, which is down from 31% in 2018. What’s changed?
Day by day, we tend to fall into routines. For the most part, this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, since we’re such creatures of habit, routines keep us focused and productive. But are you intentionally creating time each day to make yourself happy? If not, now is the time to build it into your schedule! We’re talking about little things like playing your favorite song in the car or buying a pastry on your commute … things that require minimal effort but can also lead you to a positive mood shift. Here are some small ways to get you living your best, happiest life in no time.
Seems simple, right? That’s because it is! Smiling is one of the easiest ways to flip your mood around. In fact, research shows that it releases those feel-good endorphins and serotonin, which helps you release anxiety.
We get it, if you’re not feeling great or if you’ve just received some bad news, it can be tough to turn that frown upside down. But smiling has been proven to get you into that “fake it ’til you make it” mentality by helping you recover from stress quickly and reduce your heartrate. So, the next time you’re having a bad day, it’s worth it to make an effort to muster up a smile … it might just turn your whole day around!
Give yourself something to look forward to.
Sometimes all it takes to be happier is to plan something fun for yourself like a lunch date or maybe a massage! Having something on the calendar, big or small, helps you to build up anticipation, and that can make all the difference in your outlook on life.
If you need some ideas of things to add to your schedule ahead of time, here are some of our favorites:
- Have a movie night.
- Get a facial (you can even do this at home … find some tips, here).
- Go to a workout class.
You may be thinking to yourself, “I have no time for any of that.” The truth is that setting aside time to make plans for yourself is just as important as anything else you have on your to-do list. You deserve to treat yourself every now and then. If you do, your happiness will surely benefit.
Give someone a gift.
Is it better to give or to receive? Well, contrary to popular belief, giving to others is the most effective way to boost your happiness! A 2008 study gave 46 volunteers an envelope of money and had half of them spend it on themselves and the other half spend it on others. Each volunteer recorded their happiness level before they spent their money and after. The conclusion was that the people who had spent it on others had higher happiness levels at the end of the day than those who spent it on themselves.
Some people are just natural gift givers, but for most of us, this can be a tough task. Here are a few cost-effective, meaningful gift ideas for you to consider:
- Bath and body products
- Candles (check out this article for steps on how to make your own at home!)
- Homemade pastries
Giving to others is a win-win because not only does it make you feel better, but it also shows the recipient how much you care.
A happy life doesn’t have to involve traveling the world, eating at the most expensive restaurants, or quickly checking your wildest dreams off a bucket list. While all of that is certainly fun, having it all doesn’t necessarily mean you’re happy. It’s the little things that lead to a truly fulfilling life.
Feel like you’re nowhere near living your best life? It might be time to reestablish your “why.” Read our blog post here for the two most important questions to find your purpose.