Daily Habits for a Happier Life
Many people believe that happiness is something that happens by chance, but this is not necessarily true…
Instead, think of happiness as a life skill, something that you can work on and develop to ensure that you are feeling consistently happy each day.
Wondering how to do this?
It’s easy. All you need to do is adopt each of these habits into your daily life…
For someone who has not bought into the idea of meditation, the thought of doing this on a daily basis can seem pointless.
However, meditation has been proven to have so many different health benefits, from increasing focus and concentration to improving memory. In addition to all of this, meditation on a regular basis can permanently rewire the brain to increase happiness levels.
Meditation is not something that has to take much time either…
When just starting out, all you need to commit to is a couple of minutes of meditation a day. Even if you are extremely eager to get started, it is always best to begin small, so that you can turn this into a habit that you will stick to.
Pick a time of the day to set aside for meditation, and find a quiet spot somewhere. Sit down comfortably, and then do the following:
- Focus on your breath as you breathe in, following this through your nostrils, throat, lungs and stomach
- Do the same as you breathe out, counting your breaths if this helps
- If you find that your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to your breath
- Repeat this process for a couple of minutes
It does not matter if your eyes are open or closed, so long as you do this process each and every day. After a week, you can increase your two minutes of meditation to five minutes, and keep doing this in five minute intervals each week.
It will take about a month for this to become a habit, after which time you will likely also notice the benefits that this brief daily meditation is bringing to your mind and body.
Keep Busy, But Don’t Rush Yourself
There is an incredibly fine line between staying busy and feeling rushed, but it is this balance that can really make a huge difference to how happy you feel.
Research has shown that feeling rushed will inevitably lead to stress, and therefore unhappiness, while having too much free time results in boredom and dissatisfaction.
On the other hand, being productive can really boost your happiness, but you need to do this at a pace that feels comfortable for you.
Are you someone that often takes on more than you can handle?
The best way to handle this is to stop and think each time an opportunity or project comes your way. Unless you are really and truly excited and passionate about it, you need to learn how to say no.
Do you do some form of physical activity each day?
If your answer is no, this is a habit that can really help with your happiness.
Because exercise triggers the release of certain proteins and endorphins in the brain, all of which will make you feel happier.
Exercise also helps to boost productivity, which will help with the point mentioned above about keeping busy.
Think you do not have the time to exercise each day?
Here are a few ways in which you can easily incorporate more exercise into your everyday life:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
- Do some window shopping, but at a fast stroll
- Stand more, whether this may be on public transport or while watching television
- Do a ten minute long squat each day, or start with a shorter time and build this up each day
- Install a pull-up bar onto a door frame in your house, and then do one or two reps each time you pass underneath it
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
In order to really be happy, you need to be able to challenge yourself, and succeed at those challenges. Taking risks and embracing change is so important, even though it may seem frightening at the time.
Don’t like the idea of having to step out of your comfort zone each day?
This does not need to be anything crazy, like jumping out of a plane…
Instead, just try to do something small that you have never done before, whether this may be eating a new ingredient, styling your hair in a different way, or taking a new route to work.
Improve Your Diet
Your diet has a direct impact on your mood, and, even if you already eat quite healthily, the majority of people out there could likely easily make a few changes to improve their diet.
On a daily basis, you should be eating at regular intervals, as this helps to keep your mood stable, and make sure that you do not skip meals.
There are certain foods out there that have been proven to boost the mood, such as:
- Protein – including eggs, seafood, poultry and tofu
- Vitamin D – obtained through sun exposure, but also comes from egg yolks and soy milk
- Vitamin B-12 and Folate – comes from broccoli, lentils, oatmeal, cottage cheese, lean beef and salmon
- Fiber – comes from fruits, vegetables and oats
On the other hand, there are certain foods that can really throw your mood off, making it much more of a challenge for you to feel happy. The main culprit here is sugar, as well as refined white starches. While sugar may give you a short burst of energy, this will soon drop back down, leaving you feeling even crankier than before.
So, how do you implement all of this on a daily basis?
Small changes are the key here, as you do not need to completely overhaul your entire diet overnight.
Instead, aim to improve a small part of your diet each day in a way that you would not have normally done. This could be anything from adding one less spoonful of sugar to your morning coffee to incorporating some extra leafy greens in your dinner to swapping your white bread for a wholegrain version.
Whether showing appreciation for someone else, or for yourself or what you have, being appreciative has been proven to significantly increase happiness levels, with some studies even showing that it can boost this by up to 25%.
The idea of being more appreciative may seem easy in theory, but how do you actually go about doing this on a daily basis?
Simply verbally expressing appreciation for someone, whether this may be for something that they have done or just an aspect of their personality, is a great way to start. Alternatively, try writing a handwritten thank you note to somebody each day, but make sure that you are only sending this with sincere appreciation in mind.
Wake Up Earlier
When you first start working on implementing this habit, the earlier starts to your day will likely not immediately make you feel happy, but this is something that will develop quite quickly.
Waking up earlier will help to keep you feeling invigorated and energized throughout the day. It also gives you extra time in your day, which can help with productivity, which also then results in happiness.
To top it all off…
Early starts mean that you are likely to start going to bed earlier, and will be able to maintain a much healthier sleep routine.
Just like with changing your diet, this is not something that you need to get drastic about.
Instead, set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than you usually would, and give yourself a few days to a week to get used to this change. Once your body has adapted, set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier again, and keep repeating this process until you have begun to naturally rise at a time that suits you.
Learn Something New
Human beings have a core need for psychological well-being, and a natural desire to learn new things and progress in life.
There are numerous studies out there that suggest that education can directly increase happiness, thanks to the way in which the mind is being challenged.
Don’t want to go back to school?
Fortunately, you do not need to, as there are so many other ways in which you can learn new things. Here are a few ideas:
- Arrange a skills swap with friends
- Ask a keen gardener to teach you how to develop your green thumb
- Take up a new hobby
- Sign up for a free online course
- Think of a skill or activity you would like to do, and use the power of the internet to teach it to yourself
Of course, there is no denying that learning new skills can often cause stress…
However, research suggests that while the actual learning process can sometimes feel stressful, your overall levels of happiness and satisfaction will be higher when you look back on your day and all that you have learned.
Give Yourself a Treat
Research shows that in order to be truly happy overall, you need to have plenty of small positive experiences along the way. The frequency of these experiences is actually more important than the intensity, which is why treating yourself on a daily basis can really help to boost your happiness levels.
Wondering what to treat yourself with?
Everything from breakfast in bed to purchasing gourmet coffee beans rather than instant to setting aside some time each day where you can curl up with a good book.
Spend Money on Experiences, Rather than Material Goods
There are quite a few studies out there that show that experiential purchases, meaning spending money on experiences, makes people far happier than buying material goods.
For a few different reasons:
- Material goods get old quickly, while experiences can be shared throughout a lifetime
- Experiences get recalled and revisited frequently, boosting happiness
- Experiences are much more unique in nature
- Experiences tend to be social, and humans are social animals
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Do you remember constantly comparing yourself to other people when you were in your teenage years?
Hopefully, this is not something that you do quite as much now, since comparing yourself to others can really minimize happiness.
If you catch yourself making comparisons to others…
Turn this around and instead compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself. Think about your qualities that have improved over the years, as these are much healthier comparisons to be making.
Keep a Journal
If you have never kept a journal before, the thought of starting one can seem a little daunting…
However, a journal is a great way to help your mind to process the events that are happening in your life, building up your awareness and increasing your clarity.
Even if you only manage to jot down a few lines a day, this can really help in the long run.
The easiest way to get started with this is by grabbing a pen and a piece of paper, but there are also journaling apps that you can download. These will send you notifications each day to remind you to write, which is always helpful when you are first trying to build a habit.
Not sure what to write about?
Just about anything will do! Start by writing down the events of the day, or even what you have eaten. You can also jot down your goals and dreams, as well as any worries or fears that you may have, as just the act of writing these down will help you to work your way through them.
Taking proactive steps to be happy means that you are much more likely to experience consistent happiness in your life, and it makes happiness more of a sure thing, rather than you just waiting and hoping for it to appear. Each of these daily habits are so easy to incorporate into your life, so have another read through the list and then pick a few that you can begin to implement right now.