Happiness. It’s one of those things that everyone wants, can seem elusive at times (or all the time), and is an important driver of our life decisions. I’ve always been an optimist and really positive guy – I was even voted “most likely to brighten your day” senior year of high school – and so the concept of happiness has always been interesting to me. A few summers ago, I created this list of ten tips and tricks for living a happier life, and I’ve been using it in conversations, workshops, and life ever since. I don’t mean to make this idea of happiness simple and easy because it’s not. And this is not about avoiding our pain or struggles; it’s about seeking happiness in our lives through it all.
When we take the time to understand and show gratitude for all of the gifts and blessings in our lives, we experience more positive emotions and express more kindness.
Only Control Your World
There are so many ideas, actions, and people that are not in our control; but if we focus on the parts of our world that are in our control (our attitude, the people around us, our habits, etc.) we feel more ownership over our ability to be happy.
When we compare what we have to others, we create an environment of envy and jealously; instead, let us appreciate the people and things we have in our lives.
Even in times of despair or solitude, the physical act of smiling sends a signal to our brain that we can and should be happy during that moment; so…smile more!!
Create Good Habits
What are the activities that keep you balanced, centered, and happy? Create habits out of these activities so that you engage in them every day. Maybe some of your habits are on this paper!
Science demonstrates that exercise (walking, running, sports, yoga, etc.) increases our endorphin levels (feel-good chemicals) and decreases cortisol levels (stress-related hormones).
Have you been working hard to balance school, family, friends, and extra-curricular activities? Be sure to take time to treat yourself – to ice cream, your favorite TV show, or getting an extra hour of sleep.
In our incredibly busy, fast-paced, 24/7 lifestyle, it’s important that we take time to reflect upon all of the parts of our lives – the blessings, the challenges, the learnings, and the opportunities. Whether it’s journaling, meditation, or talking with friends, take time to reflect.
Choose Your Attitude
No matter our environment, we always have the ability to choose our attitude and the way in which we approach and engage in various situations; let’s make the choice to be happy.
When we experience happy moments, it’s hard to not want to spread that joy to the people around us and help them have a happier life as well. So…take that joy and spread it!!