6 Habits that make you happier

Do you want to be happier?

Then stop scrolling on Facebook. (kidding, but not kidding at all – I took the app off of my phone and it’s so much better for my mental outlook!)

Some people seem to naturally beam with happiness, others not so much.

If you are the one who is always smiling, close out now, but if you are more like me and you have to remind yourself that it’s okay to not be so serious all of the time, then read on.

Happiness can be a habit you develop and here are some tricks.

1.Smile. You smile when you’re happy AND smiling makes you happy. I once read about a study that had people rate their moods and then sit down in front of a mirror and smile for 20 minutes (their cheeks must have gotten tired). Afterwards, they re-tested and the subject’s mood had significantly improved!

2. Practice Gratitude. Being grateful is one of the best ways to change your emotional state. Remind yourself of the everyday things – last week I was very grateful to get a new washer and dryer after Hurricane Ida because doing laundry at your friends and family is a pain in the neck. I am also grateful for those friends and family who so willingly let us use their machines:)

Or it can be bigger things – I am grateful for my health and strong body. I say this one daily.

3. Exercise. If you workout now, you know how it relieves stress and improves your mood. I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of times a woman has left the studio saying “I felt annoyed/moody/shitty/frustrated/etc. before I came and now I feel so much better!”

Vigorous activity is really good for this, but if that’s not possible, simply go for a walk, do some jumping jacks or even a few minutes of focused breathing can be good exercise of the lungs and respiratory muscles!

4.Getting enough sleep. This is big-time (poor) habit based.

  • Go to bed at the same time, wake at roughly the same time
  • Shut down electronics an hour before bed
  • Don’t drink alcohol (for most people it is a stimulant)
  • Keep your room cool and dark and make it a sleep sanctuary

5. Eat the proper foods....and avoid foods that make you unmotivated, anxious or irritable. If you’ve ever kept a food journal, you’ve noticed what foods trigger irritability (think sugar, wheat, dairy, Twinkies and so on). You might also have noticed days when you are clear headed, focused and feeling pretty good – those days you ate protein, veggies and fruit, and healthy sources of fat (like olive oil, coconut oil, butter/ghee) and avoided TV dinners, fast food, cinnamon rolls, crackers and cookies.

6. Help someone else. I read about people who’ve been persecuted for their religion, people who’ve been through war, people who’ve suffered in genocide (maybe I should stop reading this stuff, but it gives me great perspective and makes me so grateful for living in the U.S. and for those who serve our country) and for as much as they’ve suffered, they go on to help other people – it’s the only way for them to get through their life. They find a purpose other than to be bitter and hateful.

They may be extreme examples, but think about your own experiences. Have you ever dropped a few bucks in the Salvation Army red bucket, helped at Grow-A-Row, or donated to the food pantry?

It makes you feel pretty good, right?

Find ways to contribute to the betterment of other people’s lives and if you need a really quick happiness boost, give someone a sincere compliment. That’s a quick and easy way to help someone else feel good and to help you feel happier, too.