How do we find more joy in our life? Like anything else, it takes practice to cultivate ongoing happiness. In a sense, we have to reset our baseline. It won’t happen overnight, but here are the top 10 things you can do every day to discover the secrets of being happier.
1. Spend time in nature
Some researchers believe that today’s ultra-wired generation is actually suffering from a nature-deficit disorder. Studies have shown that the more time we spend in nature, and the more we relate to the natural world around us, the greater our sense of happiness. Our connection to nature also plays a role in maintaining positive mental health.
2. Hang out with happy people
Ever hang out with a gloomy person and leave feeling bummed? That’s because moods can be contagious. It turns out that feelings can be transferred from one person to another, and the more we share experiences with one another, the more our emotions and behaviors become synchronized. One secret to long-term happiness is surrounding yourself with others who are also happy.
3. Stop worrying
Constantly worrying about everything creates toxic anxiety, where your mind is steeped in negative, spiraling thoughts. Worries plague your mind and make you afraid and apprehensive about things you often have no control over. Sometimes we believe that if we worry enough, we can keep bad things from happening. But the truth is, you cannot experience joy or even contentment when you’re consumed by worry.
4. Nothing compares to you
Stop comparing yourself to everyone around you. Most importantly, stop comparing your things to all the things everyone else has. Social media has a way of making us feel like everyone else has it better than us. How often does scrolling through your newsfeed make you feel negative emotions? Allowing envy and resentment to take root robs us of appreciating what we have.
5. Build meaningful relationships
Happiness, love, friendship and community go hand in hand. As humans, we have a fundamental need to interact and connect with others. We naturally seek our tribe — the people who will support us, understand us and be there for us through life’s roller-coaster ride. Without meaningful relationships, we are lonely and isolated. We’re happier when we pursue happiness with others.
6. Give back
Be generous with your time and your money. Give to others in need. Give to those you love and care for. Those who give back have a sense of selflessness and humanitarianism. Those who are generous in spending money on others tend to have good health, perhaps because giving has a feel-good effect that lowers blood pressure and stress.
7. Cultivate gratitude.
Find ways to cultivate gratitude on a daily basis. Giving thanks and being grateful for all you have will make you happier and more content. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what you have received in life. Those gifts may be tangible or intangible. When you spend time each day acknowledging all that is good in life, you’ll see there is more good than you realize, and you’ll find that sadness, anxiety and depression are diminished.
8. Live in the moment.
Our thoughts and feelings often revolve around the past or the future. Reality is what you are experiencing in this very moment; what you are going through right now. Sometimes we want to escape that reality. But when we stay in the present, we are fully engaged in our lives. Endeavor to live in the moment, and you’ll begin to have a deeper appreciation for your life.
9. Do what you love
It’s pretty hard to maintain happiness if you hate your job. Don’t waste the best years of your life in a joyless job, even if it’s paying the bills. What are you interested in? What are you truly passionate about? Focus on building a career in an area that motivates you and will provide you with a high level of satisfaction, and your happiness factor will go up exponentially.
Many of us strive for perfection — we desire to push ourselves to be our best. But in order to be truly happy, you must embrace the imperfection that is part of life. Perfection is impossible, and holding ourselves and others to these standards is futile. We will always end up feeling let down. Accept that life is imperfect and recognize that there is beauty and grace in that imperfection.