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Would you like to wake up every day feeling happy? Of course you would – that’s kind of a ridiculous question, I know. Everyone wants to wake up in a good mood, feeling content and fulfilled. With just seven simple steps, you can boost your happiness on a daily basis.
Happiness – So Simple, So Complex
There’s a reason many people consider happiness to be the ultimate goal in life. Research has shown that happiness makes us more productive, healthier, kinder, and can help us achieve our goals and improve the lives of others. Small wonder we want more of it!
We know happiness when we experience it, and yet it can be really hard to quantify. That’s because people experience it in different ways – and the amount of happiness an individual experiences even impacts how they define it!
People who tend to feel happier also seem to understand that a great deal of happiness is within their control. Less happy people assume that happiness is predetermined by their genetics or created through their life circumstances. That they can’t do anything about their own emotional state.
The happier people are right – every one of us has a great deal of control over our own happiness. Some researchers have shown we can generate around 40% of the happiness we experience. That’s a lot!
The truth is that genetics and circumstance do have an impact on our happiness, but there is a third factor – our intentions – that is completely within our control. If we choose to place ourselves in positive situations, seek out positive experiences, and even interpret negative experiences in positive ways, we will be happier.
But how, you may be wondering, do we learn to create our own happiness?
There are dozens of ways to influence our happiness, such as through relationships, habits, gratitude, work/life balance, mindfulness, confidence – just to name a few. And those are all worth working on, but some can really take time. You can’t just become confident overnight, or make a best friend in an hour.
What if you are looking to boost your happiness RIGHT NOW?
Here are seven easy – really easy – steps you can take starting today to increase your happiness. At first glance, you’ll see that they are all pretty ordinary activities you should be doing for your physical health – no big surprises here – except that the same activities are a huge factor in your mental and emotional health, as well.
If you are committed to boosting your happiness, start with these seven steps to build that framework of contentment. Once that kicks in, then move on to the more complex factors that influence your happiness, and build on what you’ve started here.
Seven Steps to Boost Your Happiness
Let’s take a closer look at each to see how they affect happiness.
Step One: Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep and mood are closely connected; lack of sleep (or poor quality sleep) can cause irritability and stress, while healthy sleep can enhance well-being.
A recent Gallup Poll showed that people who get adequate sleep are more likely to rate their lives as happier and other studies have found that sleep quality was the single most influential factor in rating daily mood.
Now you know sleep isn’t a luxury – your happiness depends on it!
“Happiness consists of getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more.”Robert A. Heinlein
Step Two: Improve Your Diet
Food is directly linked to three areas of brain function that impact happiness: your capacity to focus, plan, and remember; emotional balance; and energy regulation.
Healthy foods have the ability to improve your brain health, boost your mood, and increase your focus. Increased fruit and vegetable consumption, in particular, has shown to improve happiness and overall life satisfaction.
Skip the sugar, eat a balanced diet – and improve your mood!
Step Three: Get Some Exercise
Once you saw steps one and two, you probably could have guessed that exercise would be third. Exercise increases happiness in so many ways: it relieves anxiety, creates a sense of control, boosts self-confidence, provides a sense of accomplishment, and improves physical performance.
Feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins are released in the brain, blood pressure lowers, the mind is stimulated, and it removes you from your normal daily environment and routine. Some studies have shown that exercise can be more effective than anti-depressants.
If you don’t already have an exercise routine, start with a 15-minute walk outdoors, and build from there.
“Exercise not only changes your body, it changes your mind, your attitude and your mood.”Unknown Author
Step Four: Spend Some Time in the Sunshine
Natural sunlight elevates mood, improves sleep, increases energy and vitality, and strengthens our immune systems. Your body produces Vitamin D when exposed to the sun, which helps improve overall health and fights disease.
Sunlight also decreases anxiety and feelings of depression.
A few minutes of sunlight each day are all you need to reap the benefits, but consult with your medical professional first for advice regarding sun exposure and skincare.
Step Five: Stop and Smell the Flowers
Yes, pausing to appreciate the little things in life increases your happiness. But fragrance does, too! In fact, in one study test subjects exposed to floral scents reported being three times as happy as those who were exposed to a more neutral odor.
Even though our sense of smell often seems to take a back seat to the other senses, a whopping 75% of our emotions are triggered by smells. Just envision the familiar scent of crayons – 85% of people report being transported to memories of childhood from the smell alone. I know I do!
Which fragrances are most effective at stimulating a feeling of joy?
- Citrus (especially grapefruit)
- Florals (especially lavender and jasmine)
Essential oils and candles can offer fragrance, but for the best boost, bring real flowers into your home each week.
Step Six: Soothe Your Soul With Music
Music can certainly be a source of entertainment, but this art form is proven to have many health and mental benefits as well. Music is commonly used for pain management and stress reduction. It creates positive energy, enthusiasm, and increased productivity, and particular songs are often linked with positive memories.
Whether with lyrics or strictly instrumental, music has a dramatic impact on mood.
Listen to music you enjoy as often as possible throughout the day.
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”Plato
Step Seven: Meditation
Would you be shocked to hear that meditation may be the most powerful step on this list?
If you are thinking you’re just not the meditating type, you may just change your mind when you consider the incredible effects that it can have on a person. Meditation soothes the nervous system, increases oxygen flow, improves focus, increases confidence, deepens understanding of your thoughts and motivations, builds self-worth, relieves anxiety, and improves coping mechanisms.
Meditation improves sleep, lessens mood swings, reduces fearfulness and cultivates pleasure and joy.
Consistency is the key to gaining the benefits of meditation, but the good news is, you only need meditate a few minutes a day.
I highly (and I mean highly!) recommend the Headspace app. There you will find meditations on every subject imaginable (including happiness!). Not only that, this app will actually teach you HOW to meditate, in a comfortable, friendly way. Trust me, Headspace is great (and I am NOT an affiliate, I just love it).
Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow: I used to buy cheap pillows on sale, the cheaper the better. I thought they were all basically the same. Then a friend told me how much better he slept using this one. I tried it, and despite the cost, I will never, ever go back. I never would have guessed how much a pillow affects your sleep!!!
The Happiness Diet: A Nutritional Prescription for a Sharp Brain, Balanced Mood, and Lean, Energized Body Learn which foods are the best mood-boosters, and find new ways to incorporate them into your diet.
Headspace: Mindfulness for Your Everyday Life (check out the FREE trial)
- What Makes You Happy? 101 Ways to Find Joy
- 13 Inspiring Quotes About Gratitude
- What is Kindness and Why is it Important?
- What I’ve Learned About Self-Care That I Wish I Knew as a Young Adult
Final Thoughts on Easy Steps to Boost Your Happiness:
Sometimes, simple is better. These seven easy steps, when followed consistently, will go a long way to reinforcing a positive outlook on life. But don’t take my word for it – try them for yourself and see how happy you can be!