Feeling somewhat unhappy with your situation in life?
Or, do you just want to go from happy…to feeling pretty damn awesome?
Of course—we all want to feel happier.
We human beings have evolved to move toward pleasure and away from pain. But being happy and content is about more than what feels good. Happiness is actually good for our physical health, for one thing. Which means that investing in our happiness can help us stick around longer for our loved ones and the people we care about.
Now, wanting to be happier is easy. But how can we achieve it?
Well to help you, I’ve gone and researched some of the most efficient ways to increase your happiness—but without you needing to do much.
I’ve needed to work on my happiness in the past on numerous occasions. Like when I used to think that being a big success would bring me happiness and I wouldn’t feel “complete” ’til I got there.
That wasn’t a good feeling, I don’t want that for you.
Here are six ways to be happier now—and every single day:
1. Improve your mood with some gorgeous sun rays.
There have been studies that have shown that sunshine doesn’t improve our mood, but there have also been studies done that show it does. But let’s think about it using our own minds for a moment.
Would you feel happier and more content sitting on a towel on a beach with palm trees? Or, wrapped up like an Eskimo, hopefully hunting for dinner in dark, ice-cold water? Maybe you’re the latter, but I think most of us would feel happier feeling the warmth of the sun on our skin.
Our minds associate sunshine with happiness, success, and a “dream life,” whereas struggling to survive in the deadly cold sounds pretty scary!
So, get some more sunshine in your life by simply pulling your blinds up, or by making sure you’re working next to a window, for example.
2. Spend more time in nature to boost your natural happiness.
We haven’t evolved to spend as much time inside as many of us do, or with as many modern-day stresses (like having our phones on us 24/7).
In Toronto, in 2014, 15,000 Canadians did the David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 Nature Challenge. They got into nature for 30 minutes for 30 days, while reducing time on things like smart phones/the internet. “They reported significant improvements in their moods, feeling more vitality and energy, with large increases in nature-specific emotions like awe, curiosity, and fascination.”
It releases endorphins—a natural high that acts like an opiate.
Sounds pretty good, right? And don’t worry—it’s not too hard to get. MRI scans have proven that a short walk can be enough to make you feel good.
You can hit all three of these first points in one activity to boost your happiness. For example, when you go out to get lunch, take a short walk through a green area like a park.
You might not want to walk to work if you like to to sleep in, but you can fit some kind of outdoor exercise in nature into your routine (or your spare time), right?
4. Listen to your favorite tunes.
Ever listened to one of your favorite upbeat tunes and felt psyched up and motivated? Most of us have! Being happy 100 percent of the time isn’t realistic, or feasible, so the occasional sad track wouldn’t go to waste.
David Huron, Ohio University’s School of Music professor, believes listening to sad music releases Prolactin in the brains of some people. It’s the chemical used to help with grief, and it’s also released when doing basic things like eating or having sex. So, sometimes you have to allow yourself to feel sad to feel happy again.
5. Surrender to the fact that you can’t control everything.
Most of us want certainty. But the fact is, we don’t actually know what’s going to happen in the future. (Like the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic that has left us in a near total lockdown worldwide. Who on Earth could’ve predicted that?)
When you surrender to the fact you can’t control everything, and understand that some of the best things also happen to you out of the blue, you can feel much more positive about what’s up ahead.
That could be spotting your dream date for the first time, or perhaps a great opportunity comes up that you’d kick yourself for if you didn’t take advantage. Whereas staying in your comfort zone (where everything’s mostly predictable) isn’t very exciting and is unlikely to leave you feeling a happy buzz.
6. Get yourself a nice warm cuppa tea.
Studies have found that chamomile tea may help increase serotonin (a natural happiness chemical). They think this is because it contains antioxidants.
So, next time you take a break or want to relax and reflect for a bit before taking on the world again, put the kettle on. Maybe share it with someone (another way to make yourself feel good) and let off some steam.
How would that feel? How would your tea taste then?