June 25, 2014 by Diana M
We’ve all read the tips and tricks on how to be happier in the long run. Everything from exercising and drinking a lot of water to deepening our relationships with our family and close ones. These are all amazing articles and posts that you can find virtually anywhere on the Internet, but for someone like me who is too lazy to go to the gym (or even to get up in the morning sometimes) and needs more cups of coffee that she can count, well…you can see why that may be a difficult road to take at times. Don’t get me wrong though, these are stuff I should be doing and most probably will be doing one day. Soon. Maybe. Hopefully.
Nevertheless, for my current state of mind, body and soul, I had to find some small meaningful things that I can do to increase my day-to-day happiness. And thus, I came up with my own Daily Happiness To do List. It’s compiled of extremely simple and easy actions that can be done even by the laziest person out there (aka me).
1. Be grateful in the morning
I learned this really fun and quick gratitude exercise from Mind Body Green. It’s so simple and yet so mindblowing (to me anyway). Studies have shown that people who are grateful in general for their lives or are practicing gratitude constantly tend to be happier. And no wonder. You focus on the things that are good in your life, and that’s pretty much what you will see and feel all the time: the good in your life. There are also all these 30 day challenges (hashtags included) that you can do, but as much as I wanted to try something like that, I knew that my inconsistent personality is not really allowing me to step it up just yet. But here’s the simple yet mindblowing thing that actually worked for me. Instead of setting aside specific time for being thankful, why not do it when you’re already doing something daily, like brushing your teeth for example? In the couple of minutes when you’re taking a shower, or getting dressed or flossing, come up with a couple of reasons to be grateful today, and if you do that in the morning, you’ll notice that it will instantly put you in a good mood. I personally tried it several times already, and it lifted up my groggy morning mood.
2. Fill up your happiness jar at night
Here’s a little challenge for you. Set aside a mason jar (or box), a couple of notes and a pen by your bed. Then each night, before you go to sleep, write down on a little note one happy thing that happened to you that day. It could be about going out with a friend, a quiet evening with a book, cooking something or just walking through a park. Whatever it is, whatever made you happy today, write it down, fold the paper up and put it in the Happiness Jar (or box). To make it even more fun, write down the date of it too. Then at the end of the year, read your notes, and you’ll see just how awesome your life has been this past year by simply looking back at the small moments that made you happy. I don’t remember to do this every single night, but when I do, it gives me a little jolt of joy, knowing that I experienced a bit of happiness that day. Gotta thank Elizabeth Gilbert for introducing me to this.
Here’s a picture of my own Happiness Jar from last year. Small but meaningful. Cute minion included.
3. Achievement unlocked
Do something that you love, every single day, no matter how small it really is. Whether you want to take it to the next level at your favorite game, learn a new skill, read a new chapter from a good book or ride a bike through a park, make sure you do it. And every time you do it, make a mental note that you unlocked a new achievement: you’ve practiced your skill another day, you won at your game, one step closer to ending your book, or exercised for half an hour while having fun with your bike in the park, it’s all a pat on the back for you, and a happy thought for your jar.
4. Find the silver lining
It’s so easy to fall into a vicious circle of complaining, whining, gossiping and blaming everyone and anyone around you instead of taking responsibility for your own actions and your life. Once you’re in that spot it’s pretty hard to come out of it. But try this: find the silver lining. Instead of complaining about your boss, put yourself in their position and try to see things from their perspective for once. Instead of whining about your terrible day where nothing went right, think about the things that did go right or focus on what you can do now to make it better. Instead of gossiping about your colleagues, try to find something nice to say about them. Instead of blaming every external circumstance for why you’re not doing your job or are not happy, find the things that you are grateful for in your life at this moment and start working up from there.
I was very frustrated when my boss sent out an email to the entire team with a cool teambuilding idea. Coming up with creative ideas and activities was supposed to be part of my job, and the fact that he sent it without discussing it with me first made me feel like I wasn’t doing a good enough job or that he didn’t appreciate my work enough to talk about this with me. But then I started putting things in a different perspective and realized that he actually did me a favor. It’s a great activity for the whole team to get involved in and beside, I had so much work that week that I wouldn’t have had the time to come up with something like this anyway.
5. 20 seconds of courage
An awesome quote from We Bought a Zoo goes like this: “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come out of it”. If you combine this with SoulPancake‘s video about the courage to tell someone they’re amazing (meaning this cute video right here) then you’ve got some magic happening today. If you think someone is cute, or really smart, or just overall amazing, have the guts to tell them. All you need are 20 seconds of pure honesty, to express your feelings and make someone’s day. You’ll feel lighter from speaking your mind, and you’ll get to make a little change in someone else’s life, even if it’s just to put a smile on their face. It doesn’t matter if you’re calling up your mom or telling your crush that you kinda like him or her, what matters is that you had the guts to tell someone something positive. By bringing a little happiness in someone else’s life you brought some happiness into your own.
What are some tips and tricks from your own Happiness To Do List?