4 ways to find happiness in 2016

Peaceful woman relaxing at home with cup of tea

Resolving to be more fit, to lose weight, or to be a better person are all worthwhile goals and resolutions people set for themselves. But often times, the real goal behind these is just to be happier. Here are some ways you can set your sights directly on the goal of happiness, and put it within your reach.

  1. Nurture your friendships. Maybe 2015 was the year of climbing the corporate ladder, or the year of creating a chic, comfy home. But 2016 should be the year of cultivating deeper relationships with the people you love. The holiday season is supposed to be all about spending time with friends and family, yet this quality time often gets overshadowed by the hustle and bustle of shopping, baking, and cleaning for house guests. Now that things have started to calm down, commit to reconnecting with your closest friends. Call up someone you haven’t seen since November and ask her to come over for a wine night, or dedicate yourself to cooking for a few of your closest friends once a month. Community is one of the few things that can bring happiness any time, regardless of circumstances.
  2. Do something new. Have you always wanted to road-trip across country? Go sky-diving? Try rock-climbing? There’s no time like the present. 2016 is the year to challenge yourself, take a leap of faith, and embark on a new adventure. There’s nothing quite like setting a goal that seems almost unattainable, and then surpassing it, to elicit a sense of accomplishment and happiness. Try it this year.
  3. Snooze more. Even though it’s widely accepted that most adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night (eight or nine should really be the goal), most people fail miserably at actually snoozing for that long. But if you commit to conking out a little earlier and sleeping in a little later, you could be happier, have more energy, and experience less stress in the new year. You can ease into a new sleep schedule by just trying to get into bed 10 minutes earlier than usual for a week, then 10 minutes earlier the next week, and so on until you’ve worked your way up to eight hours of sleep every night. You should also opt for reading a book before bed over watching TV or checking Facebook on your phone, as this late-night exposure to light can mess with your sleep cycle and make it harder to fall and stay asleep.
  4. Disconnect as often as possible. Speaking of your smartphone, it could be part of the reason you found yourself stressing so much in 2015. More and more often we find ourselves e-mailing while watching TV, checking our tweets while grocery shopping, looking at the news while walking to work. You might think this is just using your time effectively, but actually it’s overloading your brain to the point where you can’t focus on just one thing at a time. It could even be dangerous if you’re paying more attention to your phone than your surroundings. In 2016, set aside time each day to turn off your phone (or at least put it in your purse) and really soak up what’s actually happening around you. Your brain will thank you for the break.