I once obsessed over being happy.
It was all I ever wanted.
It just seemed so out of reach.
And then one day I stopped chasing happiness. I stopped wanting happiness. I stopped fantasising about it.
The day I stopped dreaming about being happy and started living I started to BE happy. And what do you know. The more I started BEING happy, I found I became happy!
Every now and then I stop and sense this feeling of happiness wash over me and it is the most amazing feeling.
Happiness is a habit. Cultivate it. – Elbert Hubbard
So here are ten ways to help you find more happiness in life and love.
1. Savour the moment
Make time to pause and take in every moment of each and every day. If you can’t do that, then make time to spend some time during your day to savour the moment.
Things to try
- Savour your morning coffee…sit still and really taste and smell your morning coffee. Feel the warmth … and the caffeine … spread throughout your body, enlivening you with every sip
- Bask in the glory of the morning sunlight… preferably whilst sipping on your morning coffee!
- Walk in the rain… why not act like a kid and jump in puddles!!
- Catch snowdrops with your tongue, make snow angels, or have a snowball fight!
- Be ever-surprised at the wonder of nature… the greenery, the blueness of the sky, the expanse of the ocean
- Stare lovingly at your partner, and just soak up the love you feel for them
- Enjoy your meal, every morsel, including the process that bought it to your table…
“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” ~ Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.
Laughter really is the best medicine. Especially big, infectious belly laughs that get your whole body and face moving, walls shaking, and others looking.
According to Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. (Laughter is the Best Medicine);
- Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Personally, I’m known for my loud lough (some call it a cackle…) that scares dogs and babies…
Things to try
- Binge watch a comedy series
- Go see a live comedy show
- Check out You Tube for a whole load of funniness – whatever tickles your funny bone!
3. Embrace authenticity
Be authentic in whatever it is you do. And DON’T compromise your integrity.
This means thinking before you leap. Before you say yes to anything, think to yourself if it something you really want to do? Does it sit well with you? Or does it give you an icky feeling in the pit of your gut? Deep down, would your true self do it?
If the answer is NO then say no. It’s hard at first, but it will get easier – believe me! Learning to say no was one of the best things I ever learnt to do!
If it’s not a hell yes then it’s a hell no!
4. Practice gratitude daily
There is something wonderful about practicing gratitude daily. Once it becomes a habit, it can really change the way you live your life and make an astounding impact on those around you.
So practice being grateful for one thing everyday, and build up to actually expressing your gratitude – whether it be verbally or physically (an all-encompassing hug!).
Things to try
- Keep a gratitude journal. Gratitude journals are a great way to keep track of what you are grateful for every day, and even more special to look back on months and years later.
- Keep a gratitude jar.
- Call someone or write someone a letter about how grateful you are for something they have done or for who they are.
5. Releasing negative emotions
When your mind is liberated your heart floods with compassion. – Thich Nhat Hanh
Negative emotions are exhausting and can lead lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, digestive disorders and chronic stress. And dealing with negative emotions can be incredibly daunting, especially those that have impacted us greatly and left a scar. But truth is, releasing negative emotions such as hate and anger is liberating, akin to having a weigh lifted off of your shoulders.
By releasing the hate and anger I had been carrying around for most of my teenage years and early twenties, through practicing forgiveness, I freed myself from a heavy burden I had been carrying around for years. With both my mind and body feeling so much lighter, I became healthier, happier and more positive. My health – both physical and mental – also improved.
Even if it means you have a big, heartfelt cry, try digging deep to release any negative emotions you may be carrying around.
6. Be mindful
Mindfulness is a quality of human consciousness characterized by an accepting awareness of and enhanced attention to the constant stream of lived experience. Being mindful increases engagement with the present moment and allows for a clearer understanding of how thoughts and emotions can impact our health and quality of life. – Mindfulness Research Guide
Learning to be more mindful in life will allow your mind, body and heart to reconnect, resulting in improvements to your life and health in general, and a greater sense of peace.
I found great value and saw many health benefits after attending an 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR). Completing the MBSR helped me realise how greatly stress was impacting my health. The MBSR also taught me techniques and behaviours to carry with me throughout life, helping me be more mindful and live a healthier, happier life. I highly recommend it 🙂
7. Use positive affirmations
Positive affirmations are all about turning negative thinking on its head, and flicking that switch from ‘woe is me’ to ‘yay’ me! After all, every positive affirmation sums up what you believe about yourself. And you can either be your own worst critic or your own cheer squad!
Remind yourself every day how much you love YOU. After all, you ROCK! And if that affirmation doesn’t work for you, find a positive affirmation that does. OR try flipping one of the negative thoughts you always have into an opposite and more positive one! If you have trouble telling yourself this, then write it on a sticky note and stick it on the bathroom mirror, or the fridge, or the steering wheel, so you can be reminded of it everyday.
“I am loved. I now choose to love and approve of myself. I see others with love.” – Louise Hay
Need to know how to incorporate positive affirmations into your life? Read this.
8. Smile often
Smiling really is the BEST medicine. Aside from making you look friendly, it smiling regularly can have great health benefits. Smiling also relaxes the muscles in your face. The movement of muscles in your face when smiling sends signals to the brain, which causes a release of chemicals known as endorphins and serotonini. So even a ‘fake’ smile can reap health benefits. Call it smile therapy! Try it now. Go on. Crack out a half-smile and hold it for 2 breaths. How does it feel? Now try it again. How does your face feel now? And what about your body?
Things to try
- Smile at a stranger
- Walk to work with a smile on your dial
- Smile whilst driving
- On waking, make SMILING the first thing you do!
Okay you may look like a total nutter, but imagine if everyone went around smiling at each other…how good would that feel?!
9. Good old-fashioned fun
What is life without FUN! Give yourself permission to let your hair down and have some good old-fashioned fun – often! Even if you have to schedule it in to your diary DO IT!
Get out of the house and do something crazy. Wild. Different. Just like you did in the old days. Why not hit the road for a good old road trip with your own playlist and fave snacks? Or what about hitting the town for a night of let-your-hair down dancing and good times? Or maybe … just maybe … have a good old tickle or water fight?
10. Focus on the good
Bad news, stress, gossip, general meanness. There’s a lot of it everywhere, and it can make a lot of us they make feel like shit! There’s a reason why there’s so many inspirational quotes, memes, and funny videos all over the internet. Because it makes us FEEL good! It also detracts from the negative stuff going on in the world and in our personal lives. So focus on the good and sprinkle it everywhere! Make every word that comes out of you mouth a good one, every thought that goes through your mind a positive one, and every action you make a nice one. Imagine if we all did this every minute of every day, or even just once a week!
Things to try
- Pay someone a compliment
- Smile at someone
- Walk away from gossip
- Don’t buy trashy magazines
- Turn off the news
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