10 Ways to Boost Your Happiness
Happiness seems to grow ever more elusive as #FOMO sweeps Insta and Facebook and the pace of daily life continues to ramp up. Sometimes it feels like having so much is actually a curse—like maybe the “good ol’ days” were really good.
Don’t let yourself fall into this pattern of negative thinking. The reality is that it’s just as easy to be happy as a young adult today as it was for your grandparents. Maybe they just knew how to make it happen better than we do. Take these 10 steps to get closer to your happy place:
- Work out. Chances are you’re already doing this, but if not, time to get a gym membership. It’s not rocket science that working out boosts your mood—it’s basic biology. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are chemicals that naturally make you feel better. Even a mere seven minutes of sweating can enhance your outlook on life.
- Make friends. Again and again, sociological studies show that humans need other humans to be happy. The desire to build relationships is wired into our DNA. Don’t fight it; embrace it. If you find yourself with many acquaintances and few close friends, perhaps you should open up and have real conversations. Deeper relationships contribute more greatly to contentment than shallow ones.
- Snooze. Chugging cold-brew coffee might help you make it through the morning, but it’s no substitute for sleep. Lack of sleep can actually make you more prone to remembering bad stuff and forgetting about happy experiences—something that would make anyone grumpy.
- See yourself clearly. This task may be easier said than done, but it’s extremely important in keeping self-esteem high (and happiness innately tethered to self-esteem). Don’t judge your worth based on what you achieve, but rather know that success or failure by outside standards don’t define you. Aim high, but don’t let it get you down if you don’t score that promotion or snag a spot in your dream grad school.
- Never hurry. Although having a full schedule can help stave off depression and general discontentment, being super busy isn’t good for anyone. All humans need some downtime to recharge, so don’t get yourself into a routine that allows no time for relaxation.
- Breathe fresh air. Simply stepping outside could make you smile. One study found that a mere 20 minutes in the sunshine could not only boost your mood, but also enhance your memory.
- Meditate. Don’t write off meditation as a waste of time; it has science on its side. Researchers have found that meditation can increase your amount of compassion and self-awareness—they used brain scans to back this claim (the parts of the brain associated with each feature literally grew). What’s more, it can stop stress in its tracks.
- Remember: money isn’t everything. “Money doesn’t buy happiness” is a mantra that rings true time and time again. In fact, once you live above the poverty line, an increase in your paycheck won’t cause a significant boost in your happiness.
- Give thanks. Simply taking the time to be grateful for all that you have can put you in a better mood. Whenever you’re feeling slighted or unhappy, try tallying up all the good things you have going for you.
- Master a hobby. Even if you’re not working your dream job, you can spend your free time embracing your passions. If you love photography, spend an afternoon at the park with your camera. If you’re a natural runner, sign up for a half marathon. Mastering a skill that you already excel at can enhance your self-esteem, and thus your happiness.