Be Happy: Beginners Guide to Success

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We’ve all heard that happiness is a choice.  What happens if we’re constantly choosing negativity over positivity without even realizing it?  Happiness can have a lot of great benefits.  For example, a happier person is going to have a lot more energy and ambition than they’re sour-faced counterparts.  It’s alright if you aren’t always happy or if you have no idea how to be happy.  Sometimes it can feel really overwhelming to try and figure out what to do.   Below are some tips on how to change your life for the better and increase your mood!

Get More Exercise

go for a jogExercise has many positive benefits.  Some of them are more obvious than others.  For example, we all know that its healthy for our bodies to get out and take a walk.  It’s better for our cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and thyroid.  We also know that getting out and exercising is better for our appearance.  We’re less likely to be overweight if we take the time to work out a little bit each day.  It isn’t just health reasons that we should make sure we’re getting plenty of exercise though.  Exercise releases something called endorphins and endorphins are known for making you be happy.

Maybe you think you don’t have time to exercise. If you have a busy life, this might seem like a really daunting task.  Don’t worry:  even ten minutes of exercise each day can have a great impact upon your mood.  You’ll start feeling more accomplished and you’ll have a better body image.  Even if your appearance doesn’t change, your attitude towards your body will, and that can make all the difference.

Get More Sleep

get more sleepEveryone knows that sleep is important for your health.  After all, it helps our body regroup and recover from the day and repair itself.  It helps us focus more and become more productive.  From a physical stand point, getting sleep is very important!  Sleep is also important for happiness.

For starters, the more productive sleep you get, the better mood you’ll be in when you wake up.  The attitude you have when you first get up in the morning or from an afternoon nap will influence your entire day.  If you wake up still tired, you might be more prone to negative thoughts such as immediately going over everything you have to do during the day, wishing the kids had gone to bed earlier, dwelling on a promotion you didn’t get, or getting upset about your ex-partner’s recent post on social media.

Studies have shown that people who get more sleep are more prone to remembering positive thoughts.  College students who were sleep deprived were far more likely to remember negative images than positive ones.

If you want to be happy, it’s also important to get enough sleep because you’ll be more productive.  When you’re more productive, you’re more likely to achieve your goals and everyone likes to feel like they accomplished something by the end of the day. The National Sleep Foundation has some more tips on healthy sleeping.

Hang Out with Your Friends and Family

spend time with family

This one seems pretty obvious but for some people, it’s not.  The more time you spend with your family and friends, the happier you’re going to be in the long run.  Not spending enough time with people you care about is one of the top five regrets that people who are dying have.

Material possessions are nice. There’s no denying that people enjoy having their favorite things surround them, whether it’s a collection of Stephen King novels, or whether it’s a giant wall full of stuffed animals that you’ve collected throughout your life.  But material possessions don’t bring long lasting happiness.  Only people can help you be happy.

Even introverts need other people around to increase their happiness.  Studies have proven over and over that the more time we spend with our tribe, the happier we’ll be.  This doesn’t mean you should give out your time willy-nilly.  It’s important to make sure the people who are getting your time deserve it.  Choose quality over quantity and you’ll find that you’ll start feeling happier right away.  Break out a deck of cards for some rummy, grab a friend and play mini-golf, or just sit on your front porch and chat about your day with your partner.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly your mood changes and you begin to be happy.

Start Spending Time Outdoors

take a bike rideIt’s hard to imagine that something so simple as being outside can improve your mood, but it can.  Fresh air is very important to peoples’ over all happiness levels.  This is partly because of the vitamins you soak in from the sun, and partly just because nothing really compares to being outdoors.

You might be thinking that it’s hard to take time to go outside, but you don’t have to be out doors all the time.  In fact, just twenty minutes a day is enough to start making a difference in your life.  So, start taking your lunch breaks outside, or taking a walk with the kids after dinner each night.

Being outside also leads to a more active lifestyle.  Think about it:  what do you do when your outdoors? Do you ride bikes? Go for hikes? Take walks? Play soccer? Throw a ball around with the kiddos? Whatever the reason, you’re probably moving around more than you would be if you were inside in front of the television or computer and we already know that being more active increases your happiness!

Take Time to Help Others

help others

One of the most important and fulfilling things we can do with our lives is help others.  It doesn’t have to be a lot.  Studies have shown that spending just one hundred hours a year (or two hours a week) helping others can help us be happy.

Think about that for a minute.  Two hours a week.  That’s less than twenty minutes a day!  Who doesn’t have twenty minutes a day to spare to help someone out? There are various ways you can help people, so find something that suits you and your personality.  Maybe you want to go down to the homeless shelter on the weekends. Or maybe you want to pick up trash from your local park during one of your work breaks.  You could volunteer at a charity event, or take local kids shopping for Christmas.

When we help people, we feel better about ourselves.  We feel a sense of accomplishment that’s hard to compare to anything else.   Even if you can’t come up with a way to help others, spending time with them can do just as much.  So, if you can’t get out and help pass out park lunches, don’t worry!  You can still reap positive benefits by going to your child’s play or music recital.

Watch That Smile and Be Happy

smile more and be happyIt’s already well known that smiling can make us feel better but if we back it up with positive thoughts as well, it can be very beneficial for our moods.  If you’re faking your smile, you’re more likely to become withdrawn, have negative thoughts, and withdraw from those around us.  This can decrease productivity and make us feel isolated and alone.

However, if we’re thinking positively when we smile, our moods are going to improve.  So, stop occasionally, think of something positive, and smile about it. Take a moment to be happy. Whether that’s remembering the way your child looked without her missing front two teeth or thinking about a date that you’re going to have after work, there’s always something positive to think about.

It’s also important to work on smiling with our eyes.  Believe it or not, that’s actually a thing! When we smile with just our mouths, it doesn’t feel very real.  When we really smile, over something that’s making us happy, our entire face smiles with us, and our eyes narrow just a little.  That’s a lot harder to fake!

Plan a Trip

take a road tripYou might be thinking that you don’t have the time or money for a trip.  That’s fine.  You don’t actually have to go on vacation to be happy.  Sometimes the act of simply planning the trip can improve our moods and happiness levels.  People enjoy the anticipation of creating the perfect vacation.

This is the same for other areas of your life as well.  One study showed that people who simply thought about watching their favorite movies became happier. Their endorphins level rose over twenty-five percent!

So even if you can’t go on vacation right away, plan a trip and put it on the calendar, even if it’s a year out.  Who knows? Maybe planning the trip and marking it out will help you save the money you need for it, and you’ll have something to look forward to!

Practice Mediation

practice meditationUsually meditation is said to be a great habit that improves focus, helps with your attention span, and keeps you calm. It’s also great for improving your happiness.

One study took a look at peoples’ brains before and after an eight-week course on meditation.  The part of the brain associated with self-awareness grew, and the part of the brain associated with negativity shrank.

There are many reasons that mediation could be working with us instead of against us.  We feel calmer and more content after meditation and those moods are usually associated with positivity.  If you don’t know how to mediate, that’s fine.  There are thousands of online tutorials that will teach you everything you need to know.  It might be worth joining a class as well – remember, spending time with other people can improve our happiness too!

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