How to Be Happy Every Day: It Will Change the World | Jacqueline Way | TEDxStanleyPark
How to Feel Happier
You may think that there’s nothing you can do to feel a little bit happier. In reality, being happier is completely within your control, no matter what situation you’re in. If you want to be happier, then you have to be willing to change your perspective to be more accepting of whatever life may throw at you, while also trying to change the things that aren’t working. If you want to feel happier in no time at all, just follow these steps. But sometimes you just have to do what you think you might need to do or make happen.
Changing Your Mindset
Think more positively.The easiest way to become happier is to make an effort to be a more optimistic person. You may think that some people are more negative than others, but this is lazy thinking that can keep you from being happier than you are today. Your personal situation may not be in your control, but you can always control your perspective, and making the effort to look at the bright side of any situation instead of focusing on all of the negative aspects you see will make you be a happier person.
- To think more positively, you have to be ready to monitor your own thoughts. Notice when negative thoughts are creeping up and fight them with positive thoughts – and logic. How many of your negative thoughts are just a part of “worst case scenario” thinking or of your insistence on expecting the worst in any situation?
- An easy way to think more positively is to hang around more positive people. Their optimistic energy will rub off on you.
Make a gratitude list.Reminding yourself of all of the things you have to be thankful for will instantly make you feel happier. Take a pen and paper into a quiet room and write down at least 10-15 things that you are grateful for. They can be as big as the friends and family in your life and as small as the new garden that was planted near your home. Think of anything that makes you smile and which makes your life a little happier. Having all of these things written down will help you see how much you have to be thankful for – and happy about.
- Keep your list handy and add to it every Sunday. Make a ritual of reading it over every time you come back to it, or reading it over at the end of every year to see how much happiness you have in your life.
- If you want a variation on this, you can make a “happiness jar.” Write down something that makes you happy on a piece of paper and throw it in a jar. Wait for the jar to fill up or wait until the end of the year and then have fun reminding yourself of all of the fun memories that have made you so happy.
Appreciate the little things.If you want to be happier, then you have to work on appreciating the small pleasures in your life as well as the big ones. Stop and smell the roses. Literally – stop and check out all of the flowers growing near your house and see how amazing they are. Try the little pastry at your local café and enjoy its rich and complicated flavors. Spend an extra minute feeling happy after your best friend sent you a hilarious text message. These little things may not seem significant, but they do add up.
- Make a goal of noting at least five small things that made you happy each day. Once you start doing it, it will begin to feel natural, and you’ll find yourself smiling at things you never thought were so special before.
Live in the moment.Another trick to being happier is to learn to embrace the present moment instead of feeling regret for the past or dreading the future. Learn to enjoy the conversations you have, instead of thinking about where you’re going to go next or worrying about that thing you said twenty minutes ago. Learn to appreciate the things in front of you, the good time you’re having, and to cast away all thoughts of anything outside of your immediate experience. Obviously, this takes a lot of dedication, but you’ll see your happiness level rise dramatically once you get the hang of it.
- Being present takes practice and you can learn to do it faster if you commit to yoga or meditation.
Make time for reflection.Finding time to take stock of your experiences and to sit back and consider what the day has brought you can make you happier. You may not be very happy because you feel like you’re just going through the motions and doing have time to just sit still and ask yourself, “What the heck just happened?” Find a time each day – or at least each week – where you can just sit still, stare at some scenery, and think about all of the events that happened to you. You’ll feel a sense of calm and will begin to feel less overwhelmed with everything in front of you, and yes, this will make you happier.
- Though reflecting can be best done on your own, if something keeps churning through your mind, calling up a good friend to talk about it can also help you think about the events in your life in a new light.
Stop comparing yourself to others.If you learn to look at your life on its own terms instead of wishing you had as much money, as many friends, or the same amazing body as the person next to you, then you’ll be able to let go of bitterness and jealousy. Remind yourself that each and every person has his own struggles and strong suits, and that you can’t have everything – and neither can anyone else. Focus on doing your own thing instead of looking around you and you’ll quickly feel happier for it.
- You may think you know a person who has “everything,” but chances are, that person can find something about you to envy, too.
Feel more compassion.Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, once said, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion; if you want to be happy, practice compassion.” You may think that feeling compassion for others has nothing to do with your own level of happiness, but in fact, being able to feel compassion for a friend or stranger in a difficult situation can make you a more whole, self-aware, and grateful person. If you’re so busy obsessing over your own struggles and never look around to see how other people are feeling, you’re bound to be less happy than a truly compassionate person.
- The next time you spend time with a friend, make an extra effort to feel compassion. Understand the situation from your friend’s perspective and ask extra questions about how your friend is feeling and show that you really care.
Changing Your Actions
Spend more time with your loved ones.Spending more time with the people you love – and the people who make you happy – is guaranteed to make you feel happier. If you’re feeling just a little bit down in the dumps, call up a good friend or family member instead of wallowing, and plan something fun to do later. You may feel like your mopey mood will drag people down, but instead, being with your close friends will lift you up and make you feel happier.
- Spend time with happy people. Laughter – and happiness – really is contagious, and you should be around people who are feeling happy if you want to feel happy, too. In fact, a study done by Harvard and UC San Diego found that happiness isn't only determined by a person's individual journey, but by his social network as well.
- Don’t spend time with people who complain. People who are always negative, love to whine, and who see the worst in every situation, are guaranteed to make you see the worst, too. Avoid these people as much as you can, especially when you feel like lifting your spirits.
Fix anything that’s broken.Another way to feel happier is to take a good, long look at your life and to change whatever you can change to make yourself feel happier. Though you may not be able to make dramatic changes, like changing your career all of a sudden, there are small things you can do that can make a big difference. If something’s not working for you, then fixing it will definitely make you happier.
- Sure, you may not be able to find a more suitable career overnight. But what you can change is your attitude about your work – remember that your career isn’t the be all, end all, and that you have other things to be happy about.
- Small things can make a big impact. If sitting in traffic for an hour before work every morning makes you feel irritated the whole day, wake up half an hour earlier to avoid the traffic jam.
- Maybe you’re unhappy because you suspect that you’re selfish, unfriendly, a bad listener, or not being a great friend. Well, do what you can to improve in these areas – if you feel happier with yourself, then you’ll feel happier overall.
Spend more time outside.Just going outside and breathing in fresh air and letting the sun fall on your face is guaranteed to make you feel happier. If you have something to do that you can do outside, change your plan to accommodate the sunshine. If you were just going to read a book in your dark, stuffy room, go read in the park instead. If you’re having lunch with a friend at a café, ask for outdoor seating. Being outside – provided that you’re not in the middle of a storm – is guaranteed to make you feel happier.
- Try exercising outside over exercising in a gym whenever you can. Running that 5K in the sunshine will make you feel even happier – and will be more fun – than running on a treadmill that faces a wall.
Minimize your stress.Though it’s impossible to stop stressing out all at once, if you make an effort to minimize your stress, you’ll feel happier in no time. Start with the small stuff – clean and organize your space so you don’t get stressed out looking for something to wear every morning. Make your social calendar 25% less packed so you have more time for yourself. Avoid people and situations who cause you great stress. You’ll be surprised by how much of an impact this will have on your level of happiness.
- Try meditating. Meditating can help you calm down your mind and body and can help you live in the moment instead of worrying about all of the things around you.
- Write in a journal. This can help you keep track of your life and will help you feel less overwhelmed by it all.
- If you’re really feeling so stressed that you can barely cope with your everyday life, then consider talking to a therapist.
Mix up your routine.If you want to feel happier, then all you may need is a little change. If you’re not happy, it may be because you feel like you’ve fallen into a rut and that you’re sick of doing the same old thing day after day. Try having something different for breakfast. Take that yoga class at night instead of in the morning. Hang out with a new friend instead of the same old ones. Walk to work instead of driving. All of these little things can add up and make you feel happier.
- Just doing one new thing a day, even if you don’t necessarily like it more than that old thing you did, can make you feel happier.
Spend more time pursuing your passion.Anyone would feel happier if he or she spent more time doing the thing he or she really loved. If you’re a photography fanatic, spend more time taking pictures. If you love to write poems, wake up half an hour earlier each morning to work on your craft. If you love cooking, make time to cook at least twice a week. You may not think that pursuing your passion is a worthy pursuit when you have so many more “practical” things to consider, but it will definitely make an impact on your level of happiness.
- Take a look at your schedule. See if there are ways that you can be more efficient to find more time pursuing your passion, or if there are some not-so-fun activities that you can cut out of your life pretty easily to make time for the things you love.
Developing Happier Habits
Get enough sleep.Making a habit of sleeping at least 7 or 8 hours each night will definitely make you feel happier. You’d be surprised by how much a good night’s sleep can improve your mood – and by how much a bad night’s sleep can make you think that you hate everybody and that the world is a terrible place. Happier people make taking care of their minds and bodies a priority, and this is something you should prioritize if you want to feel happier, as well.
- Try to go to bed around the same time every night and to wake up around the same time every morning.
Exercise regularly.Regular exercise has been proven to make people feel happier and even just 30 minutes of exercise a day can have a significant impact on how happy you feel. You may not want to hit up the gym or go for a quick run when you’re feeling down in the dumps, but that’s precisely what will get you up. If exercising alone is too boring for you, then take a group yoga, dance, or barre class or join a team sport.
- Choose physical activity over transportation any time you can. Even walking 15 minutes to the grocery store instead of driving or walking four flights of stairs up to your office instead of taking the elevator can make you feel happier.
Smile more.Studies show that smiling more actually does make people feel happier. Even if you don’t feel like you have anything to smile about, trying to smile more than usual will trick your mind into feeling happier. Smiling at the people around you will make them smile back, and being around people who are smiling will also make you feel happier. So, smiling is a win-win situation, even if you feel like frowning instead.
- Fake it until you make it. You may feel that your smile is fake, at first, but you’ll be surprised by how quickly you begin to actually feel happier when you try to smile even when you’re not feeling it.
Make time for happiness.Take a look at your day and see which things really make you the happiest. Though you can’t start working one hour a day and hanging out with friends for five hours every day, you can make small adjustments to spend more time doing the things that actually make you happy. If you find that yoga makes you happy, then spend two hours less watching television each week and two more hours doing yoga; if you find that hanging out with your best friend makes you smile, then cut back on those happy hours with your co-workers and make more time with your friend instead.
- Maybe you haven’t put that much thought into which hours of your day actually make you the happiest. Make a list of everything you do each day and figure out where the happiness comes in the most.
Do nice things for others.One study shows that people who were given a cash bonus at work were happiest when they spent a significant amount of it on other people. This doesn’t mean that you should spend all of your cash on your best friend, but it does mean that you should make a more concerted effort to do nice things for others, whether you’re helping a friend cope with her breakup just by being there or you’re volunteering at a homeless shelter. No act is 100% selfless, and it’s okay to help others while helping yourself feel happier, too.
- You should do at least a few nice things for other people “just because” each week. It is guaranteed to make you feel better.
- Don’t just do nice things for a friend because it’s her birthday. Give a friend a nice gift just because you’re thinking of her, and see how great it makes you both feel.
Make time for “me time.”If you want to feel happier, then you have to spend more time thinking about yourself. This doesn’t mean you should be completely selfish, but it does mean that you should schedule times when you can just be alone with your own thoughts, ideas, and favorite activities. Your life may be hectic, but there’s always time to squeeze in a half hour or an hour here and there just to be by yourself, whether you’re taking a walk, writing in a journal, or just reflecting on the week.
- Spending time with yourself allows you to decompress, relieve stress, and feel happier.
- Don’t let a friend’s last-minute plans horn in on your alone time. Treat a date with yourself like it’s a date with your favorite celebrity.
Let go of control.If you really want to feel happier, then you have to let go of the idea that you have control over all of the things that happen to you – from the successes and failures in your career to the health of your favorite pet. The fact of the matter is, you have almost no control over all of the things that happen to you, including how long you’ll live. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can realize that you don’t have control over what life may bring – but that you can control your reaction to it. The power to be happy or sad is in your hands.
- Of course, it’s a little scary to admit that a lot of your life is controlled by the powers that be. But the sooner you accept that, the sooner you will be able to see that your own happiness is within your control.
QuestionHow can I be optimistic about my life and its happenings?Top AnswererOne day last summer, I missed the bus to the train station, and when I asked a cyclist for directions, he offered to carry me to the station. How nice! How many examples of happy things in your life can you list, that you did or someone did for you? Take ten minutes: the first five to think of something nice to do, and the last five to do it. Life has nothing to offer if not optimism, and if you honestly think about it, you realize there are a lot of happy things people do for each other. You don't need to be optimistic about life, it is better to realize that life is optimistic, whether you are or not.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I be happy if I don't know what I'm sad about?Top AnswererYou don't have to be happy every day. It's OK to be sad; trust yourself that you'll feel happier soon. It comes in ups and down. There's also not always a reason. Feelings can be like wisps of cloud drifting through the streets, suddenly deciding for no discernible reason to rush into you. Just because a feeling rushes into you, though, doesn't mean you have to suffer it. You can just step aside and show it to the door.Thanks!
QuestionI can't sleep at night due to something that happened to me. What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf it's something traumatic, it will probably help to talk to someone about it. Therapists/counselors are great for this. They can help you work through the trauma. If this is not an option, try writing about it in a journal or diary. Then when you're falling asleep, try relaxation and meditation techniques to take your mind off things.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I be happy when I laugh for a second and then I just go and cry again?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you're really upset all the time, maybe try seeking out a professional. They can help you make a plan to change your diet/exercise/routine or anything else that could change how upset you are. Also, eating lots of fruit and drinking water will help you feel more refreshed!Thanks!
QuestionHow can I be happy when I've been having daily emotional breakdowns?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you're having daily breakdowns, you need professional help. There's no shame in finding a therapist who can help you work through these feelings and manage them in a healthy way.Thanks!
QuestionWhy do I cry every night without knowing the reason?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMaybe you're lonely, or maybe you have some unresolved feelings that you're not expressing. Try writing in a journal about your feelings or talking them over with someone you trust. If this doesn't help, consult a therapist.Thanks!
What do I do when I get that pit feeling in your stomach?
I can't stop crying. I cry 3 times a day. How can I help this?
||Want to be happier? This video shows how you can be happier based on the latest findings by researchers.|
If you want to feel happier, try going outdoors for a walk or run, because exercise and sunshine can lift your spirits. If that doesn't work, think of some things you are grateful for, like a delicious meal or a kind word from a friend, and write them down to help you forget your worries and focus on something positive. Even though it can be hard, try to smile, even if you have to fake it, because smiling can make you feel happier. If you find that you are always unhappy or depressed, consider reaching out to a mental healthcare professional
- Eat a proper and healthy meal! It can make your body feel satisfied, therefore, making you happier.
- When you are sad or angry, it is sometimes good to find a quiet place to be alone. Observing or watching objects helps. Keep yourself entertained to get your mind off the anger or sadness.
- Be grateful for what you have.
- Try to spread your own happiness toward others.
- Exercise! It improves circulation and releases happy hormones.
- If no one wants to speak to you and you are angry, it can be a good idea to punch a pillow or squeeze a soft toy. If you are sad it can be a good idea to cry everything away then you have nothing to cry about. If there's another reason why you are not happy you could think of a solution.
- If you don't have any parents, siblings, boyfriends or girlfriends, no relatives, no one to talk to, just try to keep things in perspective, not take your negative feelings out on anyone else, and smile.
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