If you have lost inspiration or zest for life, it is time to recalibrate and reinvigorate the joyful energy that is buried inside you. Instead of seeking quick fixes for a mood boost, these little daily habits and mindset shifts can help you build long-lasting happiness so you can enjoy life again.
Here are 65 research-proven ways to be happier, healthier, and make the most out of life.
Reminder: We are honored to help you find more happiness and joy in your life! If you are still looking for the help you need, please note that all content on this website should not be considered professional medical advice. It is always best to consult a doctor or licensed therapist with any questions or concerns concerning your physical or mental health. You can check out Mental Health America’s helpful list1https://www.mhanational.org/finding-therapy of good resources for therapists.
What is Happiness?
Happiness is a feeling of pleasure, cheerfulness, and joy in everyday life. It is that spark that tells you “keep going” even on the bad days. Science tells us that close relationships are the number one indicator2https://www.adultdevelopmentstudy.org/grantandglueckstudy of health and happiness. In addition, the happiest people tend to take better care of their health3https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2019-66253-001, practice spirituality4https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-007-4611-4_8, and serve their communities5https://news.gallup.com/poll/174785/americans-serving-communities-gain-edge.aspx?utm_source=add_this&utm_medium=addthis.com&utm_campaign=sharing#.U-pK7uNhqns.twitter.
But happiness still means something different to everyone. It is easy to feel but difficult to define.
Some argue that happiness is fleeting, but fulfillment and inner peace are the ultimate goals. Whatever word you choose, it’s clear that finding more ways to enjoy life can dramatically improve your mental and physical health.
How to Enjoy Life More: 65 Science-Backed Ways to Be Happier
Have you ever noticed someone with the “happiness glow?” They exude peacefulness, well-being, and general positive energy.
1. Forgive people who have hurt you
Forgiveness is not always easy, but it can liberate you from carrying the burden of resentment. It is very difficult to happily move forward in life when grudges and bitterness weigh you down toward people from your past.
“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”—Saint Augustine
While people need to take accountability for how their actions harm others, giving yourself the closure and freedom you need to move forward is also important. Forgiveness is a key tenet in positive psychology6https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2013-17394-009 that is correlated with improved health.
“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”—Mark Twain (quoting an asylum inmate)
Action Step: Write a letter to someone who has really hurt you and explain to them in detail what they did, why it hurt, and how it affected you. You can either edit the letter and send it or crumble it up and throw it away. Either way, when you get that bitter emotion onto a page, you can look at it separately from you and finally release the ties to that person.
Sometimes this requires the help of a licensed therapist or mental health professional. If you need a resource for therapists, you can check out Mental Health America’s helpful list1https://www.mhanational.org/finding-therapy.
2. Do a social media detox
Social media impacts mental health7https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/MHSI-06-2020-0039/full/html in both positive and negative ways. Like most things in life, the outcome of the tool depends on how you use it. Social media helps spread positive messages, build community, and share educational information. But it can also cause issues with comparison, low self-esteem, poor sleep, low productivity, cyber-bullying, and beyond.
There has to be some sort of happy medium to allow us to reap the benefits without so many drawbacks! If you notice yourself feeling lonely, anxious, envious, or less confident after scrolling on social media, it may be time to detox. Try:
- Limiting your social media usage to 15 minutes per day.
- Unfollowing any accounts that make you feel poorly.
- Reducing social media scrolling in the mornings and evenings.
- Setting timed reminders to get off social media.
- Following positive and educational accounts like @vvanedwards
Here is more on How to Do a Digital Detox: 3 Easy Steps for Success.
3. Connect with your inner child
Children are naturally joyful. They see life through this dreamy, almost psychedelic lens, where everything is magical and playful. When you are young, life is a game. It’s only when children grow up that society and adults indoctrinate them with this need to be serious all the time.
This rigidness and stress can rob us of daily joy. Thankfully, as adults, we can hone back into that inner child that lives in all of us by being more playful.
This doesn’t mean abandoning all responsibilities but rather taking time to do things that are just pure fun and silly. Here are some ways to channel your inner child:
- Return to childhood passions: If you loved to paint or play with Legos as a kid, set aside an hour or two per week to enjoy the mindless fun of getting lost in a creative activity.
- Musical expression: Turn on music in your room and sing and dance and laugh and be silly. We all need time to let loose and be silly.
- Play with pets: Chase your dog around the yard or play a game of fetch.
- Play games with children: Whether you have children of your own or you have nieces, nephews, and friends with kids, make time to let loose, be goofy, and play imaginative games
- Play sports: Adult sports leagues are an excellent way to meet people and make new friends.
- Join improv: Try looking for a local improv comedy class to reignite your spontaneity and funniness.
4. Always have something to look forward to
Research shows that prospection8https://ggsc.berkeley.edu/images/uploads/White_Paper_Future-Mindedness_LR_FINAL.pdf (thinking about the future) adds more meaning and happiness to your life. Future-mindedness allows you to use your imagination to mentally time travel and imagine a positive feeling in the future. When you constantly have something to look forward to, the anticipation for the event is like a reward for overcoming any stressors you are facing in the present.
Action Step: Plan an exciting event and put it on your calendar. This could be going to coffee with friends, going out to dinner, or taking yourself on a spa day. Whatever the activity, make sure that it brings you genuine joy and doesn’t add any stress or worry to your life. When you’re feeling down, take a moment to imagine that joyful upcoming experience.
5. Practice gratitude every day
Studies reveal that gratitude dramatically improves mood9https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4507265/, sleep quality, and overall happiness. When you focus on what you don’t have, it’s easy to get stuck in a mindset of lack. But when you appreciate the things you have, you magnetize more positive energy toward you.
Appreciation puts life in perspective because there are so many people in the world who barely have their basic needs met. Simply having a roof over your head, clean water to drink, and the technology to read this article are massive blessings.
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”—Robert Brault
Celebrities like Oprah and Steve Harvey are huge proponents of a daily gratitude practice. Here is everything you need to know about starting a Gratitude Journal: 35 Prompts, Templates, and Ideas to Start.
6. Lead with your values
A life guided by values is far more fulfilling than one driven by the pursuit of achievements and temporary pleasures. Data shows10https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0209821 that people who value social relationships, spirituality, and collective goals are happier than those who prioritize extrinsic motivators (such as money, power, work, or physical appearance).
Of course, you can find great fulfillment in achieving these external successes, but it’s important to address the underlying values that fuel these goals. For example:
- Do you seek career success because you value providing for your family?
- Do you want to improve your physique because you value health and longevity?
- Do you want more money so that you can travel the world?
- Do you prioritize your free time because you value inner peace and calmness?
Action Step: Take some time to reflect on what matters most to you. Use this core values list and guide to define your values and determine how you can act in alignment with your internal compass.
7. Get moving
Data from over 1,100 scientific studies across the world proves that the happiest people are physically active11https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/S10902-018-9976-0. In addition to an abundance of physical health benefits, movement can dramatically improve your mood. Exercise boosts serotonin12https://www.jpn.ca/content/jpn/32/6/394.full.pdf and reduces depression and anxiety13https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01049.x.
Incorporate daily movement with quick and simple activities:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Try a walking meeting.
- Sign up for a weekly yoga or workout class.
- Do 15 minutes of weight training.
- Play with your dog.
- Go for a walk or run.
8. Start a side hustle
Do you love woodworking, painting, jewelry making, writing, or web design? Have you always been interested in real estate, investing, e-commerce, or making YouTube videos?
One study found14https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2017-32512-001 that self-employed workers feel happier and more accomplished than those working for an organization. But it doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and pursue your passion full-time.
Instead, think about a passion project that you could turn into a side source of income. Devoting just a few hours per week to your side hustle could pay big dividends for your happiness and your wallet! Side hustles are closely correlated with empowerment and motivation15https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/amj.2018.0164. The growing gig economy and local marketplaces offer a wealth of opportunities for starting a side hustle that can generate more income and happiness.
9. Eat more healthy fats
Modern doctors agree16https://drhyman.com/blog/2016/12/28/know-im-eating-enough-healthy-fat/ that high-quality fats are the foundation of a healthy, vibrant life. After all, every cell in your body is encased in a layer of fat called the lipid bilayer.
Dietary fat intake directly impacts serotonin17https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/29/Supplement_1/ckz034.032/5480766 production and brain function. When you don’t eat enough healthy fats, your brain has trouble producing the “happiness hormones” you need to enjoy life. In addition, low-fat diets and eating trans-unsaturated fats (from processed foods) are linked to a higher rate of depression18https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016268.
Dr. Mark Hyman, the author of Eat Fat, Get Thin, recommends specific fats for greater happiness and fitness:
|Eat More of These Healthy Fats||Avoid These Refined Fats|
|Wild fish||Margarine and vegetable shortening|
|Extra virgin olive oil||Canola oil|
|Coconut oil||Safflower oil|
|Grass-fed butter or ghee||Sunflower oil|
|Nuts and seeds||Corn oil|
|Flax and hemp seed oils||Soy oil|
10. Look for the lessons
The happiest people understand that life is always going to have a series of ups and downs, but every challenge brings with it a valuable lesson. People will come and go. Money will come and go. Memories will come and pass. It is what you do with these experiences that make life worthwhile.
“There is a lesson in almost everything that you do, and getting the lesson is how you move forward. It is how you enrich your spirit.”—Oprah Winfrey
When you look at everything as a lesson, you can see that life is happening for you and not to you. You are not the victim of your circumstances. When you adopt a mindset of “everything is happening to teach me a lesson,” you become the victor! The inevitable valleys of life give you the tools you need to reach the next mountaintop.
Action Step: Think about all the things you have overcome in your life so far. From a bad breakup to a major health journey to bankruptcy to getting laid off from your job—make a quick list of the greatest obstacles you’ve faced.
Now, consider the lessons you learned from these negative experiences. Perhaps you learned what you really want in a life partner. You learned how to manage your money better or create multiple income sources. Whatever the circumstances, you probably would not be the person you are today if you didn’t face those tribulations and come out with a lesson learned.
If you are currently facing a negative experience, it’s OK if you can’t see the lesson yet. It takes time to reveal what we need to learn. Find a peaceful environment to reflect on these questions and gain more insights as you work through this challenging period:
- Five years from now, what advice do you think your future self would give to your present self?
- If someone you love was going through the same tough time as you, how would you help them find the light at the end of the tunnel? What would you say to help them recognize their resilience?
- What skills are you developing as you move through this challenge? Are you becoming more patient, a better problem-solver, or a better communicator?
- How do you think this obstacle could be part of your overall success?
11. Savor your alone time
It is hard to find a truly happy person who doesn’t spend some time in solitude. Spending time alone correlates with greater confidence19https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140197118301957?dgcid=rss_sd_all, creativity20https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1468-5914.00204, emotional intelligence21https://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/vistas/exploring-the-role-of-time-alone-in-modern-culture.pdf?sfvrsn=95441979_11, and self-awareness22https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9781119576457.ch24.
When you’re alone in your energy, you can connect with the depths of who you are with all external forces and opinions stripped away. You can see yourself naked beneath everything to understand what you genuinely want, irrespective of any influences around you.
Action Step: Set aside at least one hour per week for a “solo date.” Go to one of your favorite places like a beach, forest, hiking trail, spa, room, or anywhere where you can enjoy quality time. Consider journaling, meditating, listening to a podcast, or simply taking in your surroundings.
Want more? Read this guide: Are You Afraid of Being Alone? How to Overcome Your Fear.
12. Talk to strangers
Have you ever met someone who changed the way you see the world? Not every connection will blossom into a lifelong friendship, but just one conversation can shift your mood and open your mind.
When you regularly put yourself in situations to meet new people, you enliven your daily routine with fresh perspectives and the potential for new friendships.
Learn How to Talk to Strangers Like a Pro (& Avoid Awkwardness), including:
- Why should you approach them with your palms showing
- The best conversation starters to avoid small talk (Hint: Ask them questions!)
- How to read someone’s body language
- Why you should focus on positive discussions and avoid negative topics
13. Smile more
A smile is the universal signal of happiness. Science shows that smiling can lower stress levels23https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23012270/, boost your immunity24https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2009/143853/, and even lengthen your life25https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277953615301222. A genuine smile also makes you appear more attractive and trustworthy26https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22913033/.
As long as you aren’t fake smiling or using the contempt microexpression (an asymmetrical grin), you can’t go wrong with a smile!
Action Step: Make it a point to smile at someone every day. Whether it’s a stranger in the grocery store or a coworker passing you in the hallway, a smile can brighten someone’s day just as much as it brightens yours. Learn these 9 Simple Tips to Smile Better (in any situation!)
14. Feel your feelings
Living a joyful life does not mean being happy all the time. In fact, toxic positivity can harm your mental health by making you pretend to be happy when you aren’t.
Instead, allow yourself to feel your feelings as they arrive. Hiding or avoiding your emotions is a maladaptive coping mechanism. In other words, psychologists have found27https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165032715306960 that suppressing your negative emotions can cause them to rear their ugly heads later on.
When you feel an icky emotion, let that anger, sadness, or frustration flow through your mind and body. Allow yourself to cry, scream into a pillow, or punch a punching bag if that’s what it takes to move through the feeling. You are allowed to grieve and feel down for a little while. Negative emotions are part of the human experience.
If you bottle things up for too long, you may become like a shaken soda bottle that eventually explodes. Face your feelings as they arise so that you can feel freer to experience more happiness later.
15. Master your emotions
Emotions can get messy when you don’t have ways to cope. Have you ever witnessed a child having a meltdown in the middle of a restaurant? They haven’t yet gained the emotional mastery necessary to keep their cool in public.
Emotional regulation is the ability to control your emotional state and respond to emotions in a productive way. Psychologists have found28https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sander-Koole-4/publication/240236228_The_psychology_of_emotion_regulation_An_integrative_review/links/6047980c299bf1e0786933a6/The-psychology-of-emotion-regulation-An-integrative-review.pdf that people who regulate their emotions tend to experience better mental and physical health, more positive relationships, and more productivity at work.
Learn to identify and self-regulate your feelings with The Emotion Wheel: How to Use it And Master Your Emotions.
16. Eat foods that nourish your microbiome
Recent advancements in microbiology and psychiatry prove that trillions of bacteria and beneficial microorganisms in your gut play a crucial role in mental health29https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31530002/. Cumulatively called the microbiome, these invisible microbes directly impact your happiness via the gut-brain axis and a giant nerve running from your digestive system all the way up to your brain.
In other words, your gut flora is communicating with your brain to make you happier30https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Famp0000058 (or more depressed31https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/revneuro-2017-0072/html). According to science, you can nourish a more diverse, thriving microbiome with these daily votes for a happy gut:
- Eat probiotic-rich fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and kombucha.
- Spend more time outdoors in nature.
- Eat more fiber (prebiotics), like bananas, legumes, artichokes, and carrots.
- Drink filtered water.
- Avoid alcohol and cigarettes.
- Avoid processed sugary foods.
Here are 6 Ways to Optimize Gut Health for More Happiness, Productivity & Energy32https://loganhailey.medium.com/6-ways-to-optimize-gut-health-for-more-happiness-productivity-energy-2cd2a35fc062.
17. Create a morning routine
If you feel like your life is a mess or just dull, try spicing up your mornings. The human mind loves predictability, and there is no shortage of success gurus promoting the productivity of a morning routine. Instead of aiming for a two-hour routine that looks like an influencer’s TikTok, create a series of daily rituals that are customized to your schedule and needs.
Here is how to Perfect Your Morning Routine With 10 Research-Backed Steps.
18. Avoid checking your phone first thing in the morning
How you start your morning impacts your mental state and productivity for the entire day. If you start the day scrolling through a feed of other people’s lives, you may feel crappier about yours.
Each morning is a figurative “new year,” with a fresh opportunity to shift your mindset. If you want to feel happier, consider keeping your phone on “Do Not Disturb” for the first hour or so of waking. Spend quiet time making coffee, journaling, showering, getting ready, and/or exercising without the distractions of notifications and social media.
19. Get plenty of sleep
Sleep deficiency is directly linked to poor mental health33https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1111/ajpy.12160. When you don’t have enough time to energize and regenerate your brain, everything in your life suffers.
In addition to your morning routine, consider creating an evening routine that can help you de-stress. For example, you can turn off your phone, avoid blue light from screens, sip on some herbal tea, and do some light stretching. Here’s How to Perfect Your Evening Routine for a Better Night’s Sleep.
20. Soak up the sun
Sunshine is universally associated with happiness. There is something about that vibrant burning ball that just makes you feel good. Sheryl Crow might have been onto something…
Vitamin D deficiency34https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23377209/ is associated with depression and reduced mood, while daily exposure to sunlight boosts serotonin35https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140673602117375 and prevents Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Many modern doctors have asserted that the health benefits of sunlight exposure36https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0960076016302400 outweigh the harms.
Even just 15 minutes of sun on your skin every day can dramatically improve your Vitamin D synthesis and mental well-being.
If you can’t get in the sun every day because of the weather or a health condition, consider researching red light therapy.
21. Think about death (not in a creepy way)
The Buddhist country of Bhutan is reportedly home to the happiest people in the world. According to journalist Michael Easter37https://www.unlv.edu/news/release/crisis-comfort, it is part of the national curriculum to think about death at least three times per day. Studies show that death awareness is correlated38https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.02013.x with better mental health and a more optimistic outlook on life.
It may sound morbid, but the reason for this is actually quite logical: When you remind yourself of your mortality, you are more likely to appreciate the time you have on Earth now. Savor the present and be grateful for the special moments.
22. Listen to positive podcasts
When you put good in, you get good out. A lot of modern music and media carry a negative energy that channels directly into your ears and brain. If you are seeking more personal growth and positivity in your life, consider listening to an inspirational podcast while you workout or get ready in the morning.
Some great places to start include:
- The Mindset Mentor39https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mindset-mentor/id1033048640 with Rob Dial Jr.
- On Purpose40https://jayshetty.me/podcast/ with Jay Shetty
- The Happiness Lab41https://www.pushkin.fm/podcasts/the-happiness-lab-with-dr-laurie-santos with Dr. Laurie Santos
- The School of Greatness42https://lewishowes.com/sogpodcast/ with Lewis Howes (You’ll love this episode about creating charisma43https://lewishowes.com/podcast/why-youre-lacking-charisma-how-to-create-it-with-vanessa-van-edwards/ featuring our very own Vanessa Van Edwards!)
23. Set boundaries as an act of self-love
Healthy boundaries are limits you place around your emotions, body, time, and mental health to stay content with who you are. These relational “rules” protect you from feeling drained or manipulated by other people. Studies show that people with strong boundaries have higher self-esteem44https://www.proquest.com/openview/9f336745fc8186ac19e6426105fc49c5/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y and better relationships45https://researchopenworld.com/healthy-boundaries-relationship-model/.
Learn How to Set Boundaries: 5 Ways to Draw the Line Politely, including:
- Why you should take time to reflect on your boundaries
- How to clearly communicate your boundaries
- Why it’s important to reiterate and enforce your limits
24. Create deeper connections
Harvard’s infamous Study of Adult Development46https://www.adultdevelopmentstudy.org/ (also known as the “Harvard Happiness Project”) is the longest-running study of human mental and physical health. As it tracked the health and happiness levels of nearly 300 Harvard students from 1938 onward, this study reveals that the biggest secret to a long, healthy, happy life is…
Close relationships! Not money, genetics, IQ, physical fitness, or anything else! Deep social connections are the secret sauce to living a longer, more joyful life. Research shows that strong relationships delay mental and physical decline, regardless of social class.
If you want to be happier, it is vital to connect more deeply to the people you love. Here are 15 Effective Ways to Connect With Absolutely Anyone, Anytime.
Watch this TED Talk for some more interesting insights about the Harvard Happiness Project:
25. Let loose and laugh
You’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine, but can science actually prove it?
Yep! Studies show that laughter helps people cope with anxiety47https://journals.lww.com/hnpjournal/Abstract/2020/01000/The_Effect_of_Laughter_Therapy_on_Anxiety__A.4.aspx, grief48https://journals.lww.com/hnpjournal/Abstract/2018/03000/Grieving_With_Humor__A_Correlational_Study_on.7.aspx, stress49https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/humr.19184.108.40.2063/html, and overall mood. Even forced laughter can help improve your mood50https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pr0.2002.90.1.184?journalCode=prxa.
Not to mention, humor makes people feel more connected51https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0021943608325750?journalCode=jobc in the workplace and beyond. A good sense of humor can even make you live longer52https://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/Abstract/2016/04000/A_15_Year_Follow_Up_Study_of_Sense_of_Humor_and.12.aspx!
Tell some jokes, laugh at your mistakes, listen to a comedian, watch a hilarious movie, and learn How to Be Funny: 7 Easy Steps to Improve Your Humor.
26. Do a random act of kindness
Doing a random act of kindness is proven to trigger serotonin release in your brain. That is why you feel so warm and fuzzy after helping an old lady cross the street or complimenting someone’s outfit at work. When you are kind to other people, you are secretly being kinder to yourself as well.
27. Be more vulnerable
Vulnerability is the act of letting your guard down and sharing your emotions. It is essential for deepening your bonds with friends, family, and your significant other.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”—Brené Brown
Vulnerability begets more vulnerability. In other words, when you fearlessly open yourself up to people close to you, they feel free doing the same. You can create a safe space for other people to share the softer, more emotional parts of themselves with you.
Key Caveat: Avoid being overly vulnerable with people that you don’t know too well yet. Vulnerability requires trust and time. Sharing your deepest darkest secrets with strangers may leave you feeling worse than before. Save the vulnerability for those that matter most.
28. Have meaningful conversations
Deeper connection usually requires more meaningful conversations with the people around you. We all want to feel heard and understood, but it can be difficult to let our guard down and explore more emotional intimacy. How do you get past the small talk and into discussions that truly light up your soul?
Here are all the conversation starters you’ll ever need:
- 57 Killer Conversation Starters So You Can Start A Conversation With Anyone, Anytime
- 170 Deep Conversation Starters For Couples For Connection
- 110 Good Conversation Starters For Texting
- 155 Best Conversation Starters For Teens
- 25 Ways to Masterfully Make Conversations With Girls
- 30 Great Conversation Starters For Introverts
Better yet, upgrade your confidence, vocal power, and presence in every conversation with this mini masterclass:
Communicate With Confidence
Do you struggle with small talk? Do you often run out of things to say or feel awkward and self-conscious in social situations?
Our Conversation Mastery Course teaches you the secrets of master conversationalists and gives you the skills you need to have confident, engaging, and captivating conversations with anyone, anywhere.
29. Rewire your brain with 5 minutes of meditation per day
When you feel like crap, the last thing you want to do is sit down and get lost in your thoughts. But meditation can dramatically shift your perspective on life and help you enjoy it more. Instead of ruminating, stressing, and beating yourself up, meditation helps you feel grounded and at peace.
30. Use the power of reframing
Some people get hung up on the idea that positivity is unrealistic or ignorant of reality. On The School of Greatness podcast, habits expert James Clear busts this myth. He explains how he created a habit of reframing to help him cope with hardships and failures. The simple exercise goes like this:
- Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle.
- The only rule for this exercise is that everything must be factual. However, the way you frame those facts is up to you.
- On one side, write down a summary of the last year of your life from an opposing point of view.
- For example: You lost your job, your boyfriend broke up with you, you got in a car wreck, and you had to start going to therapy to help with your mental health.
- On the other side, write the same summary of facts using the most positive perspective possible. Frame those same facts in a positive light.
- For example: You were laid off from your job, but you got an awesome severance package and now you can find a job you truly enjoy. Your boyfriend broke up with you, but you weren’t that happy in the relationship, and now you know the traits you want in your next romantic partner. You got in a car wreck but weren’t seriously injured, and your insurance covered a lot of the damages. Your mental health was dwindling, but now you are in therapy, working through your traumas to become a better version of yourself.
- Apply this reframing practice to your daily life. Framing your failures and losses in a positive light can help you feel more joyful because it is factual logic with a positive twist. This isn’t toxic positivity; this is optimism and gratitude in action.
Now review what you’ve written and ask yourself, “What is the harm in believing the positive story?” Both sides of the summary could be true, but the story you tell yourself can ultimately bolster or destroy your self-esteem.
Watch the full interview here:
35 More Ways to Upgrade Your Happiness
If you want more quick mood-boosting activities, consider incorporating these mini-habits and experiences into your week:
- Post inspirational quotes on your wall or mirror
- Practice mirror affirmations
- Text positive daily reminders to your friends and family
- Watch less news (let’s be honest, the news is full of negativity)
- Read a confidence-boosting self-help book
- Hug the people you love
- Compliment people
- Volunteer for a cause you care about
- Make new friends with a social hobby
- Learn something new every day
- Do something productive when you’re bored
- Create a vision board
- Practice daily journaling
- Spend time in nature
- Play with puppies (or any animal)
- Stop complaining
- Make shorter to-do lists (you’ll feel more accomplished)
- Make a playlist of your favorite songs
- Take a creative class like painting or dancing
- High-five yourself in the mirror
- Watch a feel-good movie
- Let yourself have “off” days (we all do)
- Invest in your personal development (you’re already doing it by reading this article!)
- Buy yourself small gifts
- Give thoughtful gifts to people you care about
- Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident
- Get out of your comfort zone by trying something new
- Watch sunrises and sunsets
- Organize and decorate your space
- Go to therapy
- Spend time in silence
- Eat more protein (higher protein intake53https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/association-between-dietary-protein-intake-and-the-risk-of-depressive-symptoms-in-adults/784617BDF1A43ACB180E9227C6FB4ACB may help with a depressive mood)
- Avoid comparing yourself to others
- Practice being present in daily moments
- Perform random acts of kindness
Key Takeaways: Happiness Isn’t Found, It’s Created
Lasting happiness is not something you can find “out there,”; it is something you create within yourself. Each daily activity thought pattern, or habit you choose is a vote for who you want to become.
If you want to start enjoying life more, we challenge you to choose one small tip from this list and implement it this week. Write your intention on a sticky note, post it on your mirror, and check it off when you complete it. See how you feel, then rinse and repeat.
You have the power to bring back your zest and inner magic. Once you start looking, you might just find that joyfulness is hidden all around you.
Want more? Here is the ultimate guide on How to Be Happy: 15 Science-Backed Ways To Be Happier Today.
How to Deal with Difficult People at Work
Do you have a difficult boss? Colleague? Client? Learn how to transform your difficult relationship.
I’ll show you my science-based approach to building a strong, productive relationship with even the most difficult people.