When someone tells you to be happy, it’s often hard to figure out the why. Of course you’d be happier if you knew how. And there might be some things that would make you happier, such as being able to take out an auto loan and buy a new car, or to afford a home makeover. But sometimes, the means to become happier aren’t always so clear. It is easy to picture happiness as a result, but what about the driver for results? Happiness begets happiness—it’s that easy.
Productivity, memory, and success are all improved when we’re happy. Happier people accomplish more things. Although becoming happier may seem like a daunting task, great things are brought about by small changes. Here are four simple hacks, broken down into steps, to be happier.
Focus on your physical well-being:
Exercise. Yes, we know you don’t have time for exercise. Neither do we. But, a scientific study shows that something as little as seven minutes could dramatically impact your happiness. That’s less time than most lines for coffee or groceries, or about the same time you spend daydreaming or doodling before getting back to work. You can also make exercise fun, such as by planning hiking excursions with friends or family for the weekend, instead of sitting around watching TV on your days off. Just make sure that if you do, you have the proper equipment for a safe hike.
Sleep. It’s another one of those things that we know we should do, but don’t prioritize it anyways. However, sleep affects how negative stimuli from your environments are processed. Less sleep means more negativity, and more negativity means a less happy you. If you aren’t getting the proper sleep, it may be time to upgrade to a new mattress for a full night’s rest.
Get Your Health to an Optimum. Sometimes there are other things affecting your physical well-being that simple exercise and sleep can’t help with. If you’ve got vision problems, for instance, then what you need is to call a vision and eye care doctor. If you’ve got dental issues, you’ll need to book an appointment with a dentist. It’s important to take care of all aspects of your body to ensure that you are healthy all around.
Go outside. Of those experiences to invest in, one could be as simple as going outside. Far too often we lock ourselves into physical cubicles, like at work, or mental ones, like the phone you’re constantly checking for updates that keep you tied to work. Take a walk around the block in some fresh air, and appreciate the things you ignore everyday because you’re too busy. Your brain and happiness will thank you.
Don’t forget about mental health:
Mediate. Being a happier person begins with changing your mindset. That’s really hard to do in today’s world that frowns upon slowing down, even in the name of health. However, taking some time to meditate and rewire your brain to be more receptive of the positive around you will help you negate unhelpful responses, thus raising your overall happiness
Remember to smile. We aren’t sure which to place this under, fake it until you make it, or practice makes perfect. It’s so easy to let your face sit in grumpy mode, or furrow your brow in the name of concentration. Instead, try to smile more. You’ll reduce premature aging in your appearance, and find that you’re happier, even if it starts by laughing at yourself for smiling all the time. It’s one way to reduce stress via the facial feedback hypothesis due to embodied cognition. Your face is smiling, and it confuses your brain into thinking that there must be something to be happy about, even in times that it may not be apparent.
Let go of the material things.
Money Can’t Buy You Happiness. As much as the consumerism in us all tries to tell us differently, money really can’t buy happiness. Sure, it’s fun to gamble for a chance to win big in online casino, but the pleasure of it should be in the game, not a desperate attempt to win more money. It can buy things that create happiness, however briefly, as a result, but we’re focusing on happiness as the driver here. Of course, if you’re trying to save money, such as by switching to a more affordable web host, then do so by all means. However, stop spending money on short term result happiness, and start investing it in experiences to drive your happiness.
Help others. Humans are social creatures. We’re not supposed to isolate ourselves, but that’s what we do on a daily basis. We aren’t saying you have to become a full fledged volunteer, but make it a point to find some way to help something that matters to you. If you aren’t feeling, the social aspect so much today, find a project that allows you to better your surroundings. Studies say that about 100 hours each year, or about ten working days, is the magic number.
Reduce your workload all around.
Quit commuting. We know this is far easier said than done, but shortening or at least altering your commute is an underutilized happiness booster. If you’re commuting simply for the sake of a bigger house, realize that it isn’t worth the sitting time in traffic that you aren’t spending at said house. If you can’t shorten it, find a more scenic route to take so you aren’t staring at a million tail lights around you.
Look at what you can reassign. This too, is one of those more difficult habits to change. We’re encouraged to continuously go and do more in the name of income and making a better life, but that does you no good if you’re upset all of the time.
Becoming a happier person takes time. Although you don’t realize it, becoming an unhappy person took time, too. Overall happiness begins with changing small habits, and those small changes will add up into a happier you.