Forget complicated theories. Feeling happier tomorrow, than you are today, just might be as easy as practicing these 10 simple, yet powerful, patterns of behavior:
- Treat kindness like confetti. Toss it around for everyone to enjoy, and as if it were free. Oh ya, kindness is free. It’s not only free, but available to everyone to both give and receive. You don’t have to be tall, young, thin, rich or beautiful to share it. You only need to express it by throwing it up in the air so that anyone who is ready and willing to feel it, does. When you demonstrate kindness to others, perhaps by offering a nice compliment or opening the door for another person, the chances of that individual sprinkling some kindness toward someone else dramatically increases.
- Start every day with a smile. While smiling is often viewed as a reaction to a positive feeling, it can also be used to initiate joy. Consider a positive memory, perhaps looking at a fun photograph. It’s pretty difficult to remain angry, frustrated or disappointed when a smile is suddenly felt. A good rule to start every day with is to look in the mirror and smile. You gotta brush your teeth anyway, so just consider yourself not fully dressed and ready to go until you’ve put on a smile.
- Quiet “The Chatter.” Instead of listening to self-deprecating statements we tell ourselves or the negative chants repeated in our minds, quiet the vindictive voices with motivating mantras like, “I know I can do this,” or “I am an excellent communicator and ready for this challenge.” Instead of being your own worst enemy, choose to be your very best friend.
- Stop to smell the flowers…literally. Enjoying simple moments, like smelling fragrant flowers or listening to chirping birds, can bring a sense of calm and happiness that grounds you. “Stopping to smell the flowers” is also a reminder to slow down and enjoy the beauty of life. Live in the present with a deeper sense of love, gratitude and appreciation for all the incredible blessings life offers.
- Listen to music and sing along. Just like melancholy songs supplement a sad mood, cheerful and upbeat tunes compliment or trigger a happy mood. And according to the University of Manchester researchers, a tiny organ in the inner ear—called the sacculus—is connected to a part of your brain that registers pleasure. And when you sing, the sacculus registers frequency notes, giving you a warm and nostalgic feeling. So go ahead and belt out the words to your favorite beat.
- Frolic with a furry friend. In addition to companionship, pets can provide numerous other health benefits—both psychological and physical—like reducing stress, promotes social interaction, and encourages physical activity, to name a few. There are few things as consistent as coming home from work and being greeted by an excited dog, ready to engage you and demonstrate their affection.
- Infuse vitamin D. The human body produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun's rays, and research suggests that those who are deficient in the vitamin are more likely to be depressed, anxious, and tired. When possible, soak up the sunshine—with caution, of course—to lighten your mood naturally. On days when the rays don’t cooperate, a surprising source of vitamin D can also be found in mushrooms. So throw some mushrooms into your breakfast omelet or lunchtime salad and enjoy a quick vitamin D boost of serotonin in your brain, magically enhancing your mood. And for non-mushroom lovers, there is still yet another solution: chocolate! Chocolate contains tryptophan, which also boosts the production of serotonin in the brain, leading to more delighted dispositions.
- Eagerly exercise. Instead of declaring, “I’m too tired to exercise,” boost your energy and brighten your outlook with a short walk, meditation, rhythmic breathing, yoga, or relaxation techniques. Quell anxiety, promote serenity, and lift your mood—while also tightening your tush.
- Get more zzzzz’s. It’s been said that you only really need six hours of sleep a night to feel rested and ready-to-go the next day. However, I know I need nine or ten hours to be at my best. In fact, I have found that I am a more patient, friendlier, and less sensitive to negative emotions when I get the shuteye my body demands. Stay tuned into what your unique sleep requirements are, rather than those of others, and concede to those needs freely.
- Spend time with people who matter. Disconnect from the rat-race of life and instead, reach out and connect with a trusted friend or family member. Meaningful and positive relationships offer support, love and guidance, which enriches our lives and provides a greater sense of purpose. Direct time and attention to those who mean the most to you and reap the benefits those real and lasting relationships offer.
There is only one person that can make you feel happy. You. Take charge of how you feel today. Choose happiness by engaging in these 10 simple habits. Here’s to a happier you!