Happiness is something that everyone wants. It is what people aim for, their main goal in life and rightly so. But what is happiness? It is different for everyone and seems to be constantly evolving. I am happiest when I have a project to work on. I believe that happiness is about doing. Sure, I want things, who doesn’t, but I am happier when I am actively doing something. Learning, expanding, creating. I decided to share 10 simple things to make you happy, that you can do, not have. It’s free! So have at it.
Pick something you want to know more about and research it. Borrow books from the library, Google it, talk to people about it, just learn more. I could be a passing interest or a long term one, it doesn’t really matter. But the act of learning more about something you are passionate about stimulates the happiness button in you. Learn more about astronomy, learn a language, learn how to bake your own bread, learn about car engines, learn how to play guitar, learn a card trick. You get the point, it doesn’t matter what it is. Learning makes you happy.
Endorphin’s blah blah blah we have all heard it before. But it’s true. Scientifically proven stuff. And I know time is a good excuse and one that we all use at some point but you don’t have to go for a run or work out at the gym. Exercise can be a short 20 minute walk in your neighbourhood or to pick up bread at the shops. It could be 7 minutes of frantic exercise in your lounge room or backyard. It does wonders physically and mentally to actively do some exercise. Exercise makes you happy.
I know when I am sleep deprived for whatever reason I get grumpy easy. Most of us do whether we realise it or not. A little bit of extra sleep can usually do wonders and lift anyone’s mood, and make you more productive as you can refocus yourself easier. Taking a nap in the afternoon while it sounds great is really not that realistic for the average person. What I suggest is going to bed a bit earlier. Do you really need to sit up late watching TV and checking Facebook? Going to bed even 20 minutes earlier can make a difference. Maybe for you it isn’t about more sleep, but better quality sleep. Figure out what works for you. Sleep makes you happy.
Spending real face time with your friends and family will make you happier. People often regret not spending more time with their friends and family, choose to live with no regrets and do something about this now. Facebook, Twitter and the whole world of social media makes it easy to keep in touch with everyone you know, and those you don’t, but it shouldn’t replace face time with your closest friends and family. Surround yourself with positive loving people. Being social makes you happy.
When you aren’t feeling too happy try and be active in making yourself smile. I don’t mean just sit there and plaster a smile on your face. Do something you know will make you smile. Put on some music and dance around the lounge room singing along – then smile. Take out your recycling and jump up and down on it like a kid having a tantrum – then smile. Go out for a walk and make eye contact with people you pass – then smile. Watch a funny movie – then smile. Pull funny faces in the mirror – then smile. Make someone else smile – then smile. Smiling makes you happy.
6. Go Outside
Seems simple doesn’t it. Just get some fresh air. Combine it with socialising, exercise and even learning and you are ticking off two or more happiness boxes at once. Breath in the fresh air, soak up the sunshine. I think you should immerse yourself completely in this action alone. Ditch the electronics and enjoy it. I’m not saying you can’t multitask as I am often hanging the washing, playing with the kids, reading, gardening or just sitting but I am fully aware of being outside. Being outside makes you happy.
7. Take 5
5 minutes isn’t much in the scheme of things. Take 5 minutes to stop everything and recollect yourself. Take stock of where you are at with things, make a list, prioritise then get back to it. Meditate, breath, shut it all out. Get off your feet and sit down, or stand up and stretch it out if you have been sitting all day. Savour a cup of tea, focus on your eating, stop multi-tasking. Distract the kids with something and get away from them for a couple of minutes alone. Don’t snap back an angry reply to someone, be it email, text or a conversation; step away for 5 and consider if it’s worth it. 5 minutes of breaking the pattern of what you are doing will give you clarity and make the day easier. Taking 5 will make you happy.
8. Pay it Forward
Be kind to others, help when you can. We can’t all afford to donate time, money or things – if you can, great, do it. But I think that even just being nice to others is a way of paying it forward. You get a warm fuzzy feeling from doing something nice for someone else, especially when they don’t expect it. You cannot complain of not having the time or opportunity to pay it forward. A trip to the supermarket opens up a lot of opportunities to pay it forward – Let the other person have the car park you finally found, Help the lady struggling across the car park with her trolley, Buy a bag of Freddo frogs and share one with the person waiting in line behind you at the register, Pass that too high to reach box to the person on their tip toes, Offer advice on which brand to choose for the person standing for ages in front of a section. It is easy when you think about it. Making a coffee at work, offer to make it for someone else while you are at it. Someday, it will come back to you and someone will randomly do something nice for you. Call it Karma if you like. Paying it forward makes you happy.
I don’t know many people who don’t love travel. It isn’t always a realistic option to actually travel, be it time or money constraints. So if this isn’t option, don’t despair. You can always just research a trip you would love to do. Read all about the place you would love to go one day, plan what you would do, figure out how much it might cost and put it on your bucket list. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip abroad, it could be a 2 hour drive down the road, it’s still travel. The act of learning and exploring another place is exciting and opens your mind. Whether it is real travel or arm chair travel you can achieve this. Travel makes you happy.
10. Have Gratitude
Be thankful for all the things you have in your life that do make you happy. Stop focusing on the negative stuff. It isn’t always easy to do. If you are struggling, try making a list of all the things that make you happy. If it’s hard, sit down with someone else and ask them to help you. Reflect on the whole list or just focus on one or two things that make you happy and be thankful that you have that in your life. I honestly believe that happiness breeds more happiness. Having gratitude will make you happy.
There you have it. 10 simple things to make you happy that you can do today for free. No one is stopping you but yourself. You might already be happy but sometimes we need a little reminding. And remember, happiness is contagious. If you make yourself happy, those around you will be happier too.
What simple things do you do that make you happy?Love it. Follow me. . .