How many times did you smile today? Think back. Is it too many to count, or did you struggle to remember even one?
No matter your answer, everyone can bring more happiness into their life, and it can be easier than you think. Mindfulness, one of our 5 Strategies to Reclaim Hope, can be used every day in small ways to find moments of happiness. Here are some ideas for you to try.
Physical activity can be an incredibly powerful mood lifter. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy (check with your doctor if you need to before you start) and see your happiness rise.
Find something to look forward to
Anticipating something can light up the pleasure centers of your brain. Sometimes the anticipation can be more of a reward than the actual thing you’re anticipating.
Commit a conscious act of kindness
Decide that sometime today you’re going to do something nice for someone, just because. It can be something as simple as leaving a kind note on your coworker’s desk, or as complex as throwing a surprise party for a friend. Whatever it is, do it with purpose.
Brighten your surroundings
You may not have full control over what your surroundings look like, but try to add something to brighten them. Add a personal picture to your car, a bright flower to your office, or buy a pair of red shoes so you can add to your happiness with every step you take.
Learn what brings happiness to you
Next time you smile or laugh or feel happy, pay attention. What made you feel that way? What can you do to bring more of it into your life?
If your happiness starts to slip, think of one thing that you’re grateful for. Be as specific as you can. For instance, if bad weather is putting a damper on your mood, remind yourself, “I’m grateful for my boots that are warm and keep the wet off of my feet. I’m grateful that they’re bright yellow and that I was able to buy them for 50% off last year. I’m so glad I remembered to put them on before I left the house…” The more in-depth you go, the more grateful you’ll feel and the happier you’ll be.
Spend time with happy people
Your mood is directly influenced by the people around you. Surround yourself with the happiest people you can find.
Do something for yourself
A little self-care can go a long way to raise your happiness quotient.
Spend time in nature
Put your phone on silent and reconnect with the natural world. Even if you’re not an outdoorsy person, go to the park and sit under a tree. Listen. Be quiet. Let yourself be fully present in the moment.
These are just a few ideas. Take a minute to find a little bit of happiness today and every day. Mindfulness is all about living in the moment, and you’ll find that you’re happier when you take the opportunity to be present in your life.
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