Achieving happiness is no easy act, but it’s something we all strive for.
March 20th marks the annual International Day of Happiness which was founded by Jayme Illien with the purpose of inspiring every human being to take a step back and work towards increasing the overall happiness and wellbeing for all.
Even if you love your job or subject of study, too much of one thing can become overwhelming. It’s easy to lose yourself in work or family obligations and forget the reason you’ve been working so hard – to live a happy and fulfilling lifestyle.
For this year’s International Happiness Day, the theme is ‘Happier Together’, we’re encouraging you to take the day to be kind to yourself.
Not sure what that looks like? Below, we’ve compiled a list of 10 simple ways to make yourself happy.
1. Take 10 deep breaths
This might sound trivial at first. But bear with us. Achieving happiness can be as simple as taking 10 deep breaths.
In the rush of every day life, we can forget to slow down and take a moment to relax. Remember why you’re doing those things that are making you feel stressed, whether that be work obligations or something else, it is crucial to achieving that ‘inner zen’ we all crave.
All you need is two minutes in a quiet space where you can take the time to breathe, let go of all your worries and we guarantee you’ll feel rejuvenated for the day ahead. Deep breathing sends a message to the brain to calm down which loosens tense muscles and allows positive free thinking.
Taking a moment to breathe can influence your productivity and allow ideas to formulate naturally rather than by force.
It’s a cliché for a reason. A smile can spread like wildfire. If you take the time to smile every day, you may just find that small moment of positivity affects your entire day and even the way others see you.
Similar to taking deep breaths, smiling induces a chemical reaction which helps lift your mood. It can even boost your immune system and relieve stress. Take a positive outlook on those small daily struggles and you might just find they’re not as stress-inducing as you first thought.
Smiling can be a trick to the brain into thinking you’re happy. It spreads positivity to those around you and can affect your entire day. You’ve probably done it yourself without realising, but most humans’ perceptions and reactions of a person happen the moment they see them. If you start the day with a smile, you’re more likely to encourage others to react in a similar fashion.
Who knew the simple act of smiling could create so much change?
3. Appreciate yourself
The one piece of advice we all can take is to appreciate ourselves more. As a society we no longer wait for others to appreciate us, but rather appreciate ourselves and acknowledge how far we’ve come.
Many of us remain stuck in the mindset of personal or professional competition with others, not recognising the achievements we’ve made, but measuring our own successes against others.
Appreciating yourself can be as simple as deciding you are worth being valued. It’s easier said than done, but continuing to think positively about yourself will slowly create a different mentality and outlook about yourself.
Another excellent way to appreciate yourself is remembering how far you’ve come. Thinking back to a year ago, five years ago or ten – did you ever think you’d be where you are now?
Did you get a promotion, buy a new house or complete a 10K run? Did you get a First on an assignment or get into your dream university?
Whatever that goal was that you’ve achieved, remember that the next time you consider tearing yourself down or comparing your achievements to others.
Achieving happiness starts with appreciating yourself and your own accomplishments.
Similar to previous advice, meditating is one of the key ways of helping to reset your mind. It allows you to sort through your thoughts in a calm and non-judgemental manner and even helps you leave your problems at the door for a short while.
Meditation has also been said to inspire your creative side and problem solving skills, as well as allowing you to sleep easier without those intrusive thoughts keeping you awake at night.
It provides mental clarity for solving those every day problems whether that be personal or work related.
Spending 20 minutes a day in a quiet space focusing on your breathing will help negative thoughts dissolve and encourage you to focus better when returning to the tasks at hand.
5. Spend time with your loved ones
If you have depression and anxiety, it can be easy to fall into the habit of staying at home unless you have to leave. But tasking yourself with visiting loved ones at least once a week will begin to get you out of the habit of saying no and keep you socialising.
It’s important to have meaningful relationships outside of obligations and not shut yourself away from society. Maintaining a strong relationship with friends and family is much more likely to help you achieve ultimate happiness than staying in bed (no matter how appealing it might be).
It can be as simple as going over to a friend’s house, or taking a walk through the park for a few hours and we guarantee it’ll have you feeling much better in no time at all.
Remember – there’s always time to enjoy having a lazy day in bed, but time with loved ones is priceless.
6. Go Outside
With so many things being accessible at the touch of a button, it’s easy to take advantage of what’s at your fingertips. Take a day to leave the confines of your house and go outside by spending the day with a friend.
Or simply take a walk with the family pet through the park and enjoy the sights. Even just a few minutes of fresh air has been proven to brighten your day. It even has physical benefits by improving blood pressure and boosting your mental health.
It not only encourages more exercise into your daily routine, but many find it incredibly beneficial to their concentration and productivity at other times of the day. It can be suffocating to stay in one place all the time, therefore going outside allows you to physically take yourself away from those stressful situations until you’re in a better frame of mind to deal with them.
Part of the problem with many mental health issues is the isolation. If you feel able to force yourself out of the house, it’s well worth scheduling part of your day to leaving the house, even if you don’t have a particular direction to go in.
Even just 10 minutes can change your mood for the better.
7. Put down your phone
With everything becoming so available on mobiles in recent years, it can be easy to sink into those obligations and create more stress for yourself. Answering work or university emails is made all the easier with smartphones, therefore it’s important to spend time away from temptations and unplug.
Are you the type that finds themselves worrying when you can’t find your phone after five minutes of no-use? Worrying you’re missing notifications or texts from loved ones?
Then it’s all the more important to choose a hobby that doesn’t include any form of technology, even if it’s just for an afternoon a week.
Read a book. Some find it incredibly satisfying to curl up with a good book in hand and get lost in a fictional world. Reread one of your favourites, or explore a new adventure.
Focusing on something other than your phone helps you leave all those stresses and worries behind and focus on relaxing.
Whether you’re the type of person who’d enjoy hiking up mount Snowdon, or a short walk through the streets on your lunch hour, we completely recommend exercise as the fuel for your overall happiness.
You’ve probably heard it all before, but even 30 minutes of exercise in the morning will increase your mood, and set you up well for the day ahead.
Exercising isn’t just for the physical benefits of maintaining a healthy body, but it also affects your mental health. By raising your pulse, exercise allows more oxygen to reach your brain which helps to reduce anxiety, depression and boost your overall happiness.
We’ve all felt it. Achieving something you never wanted to do in the first place is bound to make you feel as if you’ve achieved something and exercise is a good example of this.
Most of us would rather not do it, but you can’t deny the feeling of complete satisfaction knowing you’ve spent half an hour or an hour sweating it out.
9. Learn something new
Learning isn’t just for school or university. We’re all constantly learning new things whether we realise it or not. It’s just a part of life and it shouldn’t be something to shy away from.
Learning a new skill or subject is always beneficial and you never know when it might be of use.
When we learn something new, our brains get a rush of dopamine which helps to motivate us to completing a task, usually in search of some kind of reward.
That reward could just be the satisfaction of having finished.
This not only helps you feel accomplished but gives you more skills and knowledge which could relate to the interests of those around you and help you better socialise.
There’s nothing that gets a friendship off to a great start like a common interest. You’ll naturally build more self-esteem, relate to those around you and empower you to achieve more with your life.
Take a drawing class, learn how to play the guitar or take on the challenge of learning a new language. Master the art of tai chi or choose to simply read one book a month. Whatever you’ve always wanted to know how to do – take the time to do it.
10. Help others
Sometimes this can be as simple as getting your colleague a cup of tea. A little kindness can go a long way to achieving that happiness we all crave.
Think about it for a second. If you’re having the worst day and a colleague or friend complimented a piece of work you did or brought you a drink when you felt too busy to make one yourself – you’d feel so grateful your day may even brighten just that little bit.
Spreading a positive attitude is equally as rewarding as receiving it. You never know what goes on in the lives of those around you and your kindness could be exactly the thing that person needed to restore their faith in humanity.
Even faith in themselves and the work they’re doing. Whenever you get the chance, we advise helping others to achieve their goals and desires.
We’re not promising you’ll live longer or anything, but a good deed promotes similar behaviour and those same people you helped could potentially be your rock the next time you’re having a bad day and need some support.
So, what do you think of our top 10 choices? What works best for you? Try our simple tips for achieving happiness and discover how they encourage the long-term benefits.