Are you looking to put a little more spring in your step now that springtime is officially here? Spring is all about new beginnings. What better time to make some positive changes in your life to become a happier you!
Here are seven habits you can introduce into your life that are guaranteed to make you a happier person.
Research has shown that giving makes people far happier than receiving. As the act of giving is both a selfless and a selfish act, it ends up being a win-win situation for all. You are helping others and making yourselves happy at the same time. Giving your time by volunteering is something anyone can do. Not only is it a life-enriching experience but there is actual science behind why volunteering makes you happier. It releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine which make you feel good.
2. Take Care of Your Body
Happiness starts from the inside out. Eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep are three essential things you can to do for your body that will make you happier. Eating right provides your body with the necessary nutrients and gives you energy.
Exercising makes you feel good because it releases key endorphins that fight depression, relieve stress and elevate your moods. It also improves body image. Sleep is restorative and getting enough of it has numerous health benefits including living longer. Want to take sleep one step further? Try to wake up at the same time every day, and preferably early. This will help regulate your circadian rhythm so you feel more energized. Did you know the habit of rising early every day is one shared by many successful people, as it enhances your productivity and focus?
3. Think Positively
How does one just be positive you might ask? It’s as simple as putting the mind over the matter. You can train yourself to counter negative thoughts with positive ones, it just takes practice and a conscious effort. When faced with a less than optimal situation try to find the silver lining and view the situation as a challenge or an opportunity to learn something new. Don’t forget to surround yourself with positive people too. The saying “misery loves company” is true, so choose to envelop yourself in positivity!
4. Focus on What You Can Control
The “what if” thinking is draining and exhaustive. It will sap you of energy, happiness and cause unnecessary anxiety. Instead, focus on what you can control and what actions you can take to overcome what it is that has you worried. For example, instead of thinking “what if I inherit my father’s heart disease problems”, start implementing a lifestyle designed to fight off heart disease, including exercising, eating right and taking supplements.
5. Be Grateful for What You Have
It is easy to get caught up into the wanting of the next big thing, such as a bigger house, a raise or a new car. Instead, focus on what you do have and be thankful for it. An easy way to do this is to keep a gratitude journal. Being thankful and expressing gratitude allows you to cope with stress, have more positive experiences and helps you reach your goals. You will find that when you express your gratitude for what you have, you realize how much you have accomplished and you should proud of those things!
6. Build & Nurture Relationships
Making friends and having close relationships equals a happier and longer life. Friendships take nurturing though, but there are real payoffs to doing so. When you make a connection with someone and strengthen a bond with them you are giving yourself an actual boost of happiness. To really get that warm and fuzzy feeling, connect with people in person, you don’t get the same feelings from connecting via text, social media or e-mail.
7. Be Kind
This is a simple one, but it can make the biggest impact. Kindness makes you happy. When you are kind to others, your brain produces feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters like serotonin and you are able to build strong relationships with others, fostering positive feelings all around. The great thing about kindness is that it creates a virtuous circle; when you do something kind for another, they will be more likely do something kind for someone else, and the cycle continues. How cool is that!
Now that you are on your way to a happier you it’s time to spread the joy around. Here are five things you can do TODAY to bring joy and happiness to someone else and basically make their day.
- Buy someone else a coffee when paying for your own.
- Tell a child how well behaved they are
- Smile at strangers
- E-mail a teacher or a past coach and thank them.
- While driving, let someone cut in front of you.
Have other ways to make someone’s day and spread the joy? Leave in the comments!
Jen Van Rooy is an Appleton native, mother of two and a part time Community Manager for a Minneapolis based Social Services Company. Her interests include all things family, reading, writing and being active in the community.
Read more from Jen here.