Happiness is a strange emotion. As children, we experience it a lot. But over the years, sometimes happiness is harder to find. It could be due to our financial situation, our jobs, or our family members who don’t accept us for who we really are. Life is hard, but happiness keeps us going.
That’s why it’s important to find sure-fire ways to be happy, even if it’s only for brief moments at a time. It is important to remember that we are worthy of it. And we are – each of us.
Trying to bounce back after 2020 will be especially difficult, especially since the world didn’t change the second the ball dropped in Times Square. We will have to survive a few more trials before we hope to find any “normalcy”. And that, in itself, can make your happiness plummet. That’s why it’s important to master a few foolproof ways to smile.
1. Go for a walk with the headphones on.
Pick a sunny, bright day and make sure you are clearly visible. Then take a walk. Find a soundtrack that calms you down – filled with nostalgic hits that bring a smile to your face or soothing music that you can play in the background. Don’t worry about setting a pace or taking a certain number of steps. Instead, take some time for yourself.
Spend your walk gazing at nature, whether it’s a few trees lining your street or a wooded area near your yard. This walk will allow you to clear your mind and get moving. It will take you away from the stress you have felt before. It’s temporary relief – and a great way to find happiness.
2. Browse old Facebook memories.
OK, so maybe you were the kind of person who used to post scary lyrics back in 2009. But surely there are some awesome uplifting photos you shared around that time, too. Looking at old photos can be therapeutic. They are a great reminder of the positive influence you have had on others. It is also scientifically proven to make a difference. “Any change, good or bad, is very stressful,” says Krystine Batcho, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Moyne College in New York City, per HuffPost. “So what nostalgia allows you to do both emotionally and cognitively is keep track of what has remained stable, giving you a sense of continuity that sets you in.”
3. Write a letter to your grandmother or grandfather – or an old friend.
Keeping in touch with the people you love is important. The act of writing itself is also very important. If you are the type of person who hasn’t written anything on paper since college, you might want to try buying notecards and good pens. The writing is very therapeutic. Pair that with the warm memories you have of your recipient, and it’s bound to be an activity that puts a smile on your face. Receiving real mail will also make their day.
4. Watch your favorite funny movie or YouTube clip.
Want to smile? Put on your all-time favorite funny movie. Not only will it help you get out of a rut, but it may remind you of old friendships and inside jokes. Even if the movie isn’t all that great according to Rotten Tomatoes, anything that makes you laugh hard is always a winner. Don’t use this as an excuse to show the movie to your kids or those who haven’t seen it before, since then you’ll worry too much about what they think of it. This screening should be just you, or you and others who also adore it.
Stretching is a great way to warm up our body and start the day right. Stretching is a quick way to relieve tension and fatigue. It’s also a healthy, free way to focus on yourself. Pay attention to your body as you stretch and take the time to really feel each stretch as you go. As a bonus, you will also improve your flexibility.
6. Try meditation.
The internet is a great place to find guided meditations. But even shutting off the lights and focusing on your breathing can bring some happiness. Per Elite Daily, meditation can help you reset your happiness set point. That means that it’s very possible to rewire your brain and become happier in general. “If, according to the happiness set point theory, you’re naturally more predisposed to being overly worried or stressed out, meditating on the reg can quiet those overactive areas of your brain, and thicken the areas responsible for joy and pleasure,” the site writes.
7. Turn off social media during the day.
It may be hard, especially if you use it for socialization. But taking a step back can help you become happier, especially if you often use it to compare your life to others. It’s not a healthy habit to get into. Live each moment for yourself. Try not to post anything significant for a bit. Keep those special moments to yourself for now. It’s nice getting true satisfaction out of your family and activities, instead of seeing how many likes they can get.
8. Clean up your workspace.
Taking a little bit of time every day to clean up your workspace will help you focus. And it’ll keep you happy. Clutter can negatively impact your mental health, so it always makes sense to quickly pick up any lingering piles that happen to form where you work. Whether it’s at home or in an office, it’s important. And it’s also backed by science. A study reports that every hour of cleaning you do per week will boost overall happiness by 53%, which is huge.
9. Read a chapter of a good book daily.
Books are a great way to escape. And if you happen to choose a tangible hardcover book, it’s one less screen you’ll have to look at (although Kindles and similar devices can be pretty incredible). “Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm,” writes The New Yorker. “Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.” Sounds like a win-win all around.