Though I've been studying happiness for years, some of my most important learnings came from my own experience. There is much scientific research to back these up, but the only way to test them is to give them a shot. Check out three important tips for how to be happier:
1. Stop chasing BIG HAPPINESS
Many of us may think that big life events -- getting married, having kids, moving to a big house -- or achievements -- getting a promotion or a raise, finishing a marathon, losing 10 pounds -- are what will result in us feeling happier.
But research shows that it's the small, everyday events that have a far greater impact on how happy we feel. Pausing to savor something that is already part of your life is one of the best daily practices you can adopt to improve your mood and live with a more positive attitude.
2. Make everyday routines a tiny bit more special
I juggle running a start-up with being a mom to a very active 10 year-old, so I get what it’s like to be really busy. (Forget busy: what I mean is totally overwhelmed.) But one of the most important things I’ve realized is that taking a few extra minutes to make an experience out of something that is otherwise just part of the routine is one of the best way to feel – and help my family feel – happier.
Here are a few really simple ideas:
- Use the nice china for a family dinner one night.
- Put a healthy treat in the car to share with the kids on the way home (and surprise them with it!)
- Take a few minutes to actually sit down for lunch at work instead of scarfing it down at your desk. (Doing this can actually help you have a better second half of the day.)
- Add some fun and color to your desk with a few desk organizers or accessories to make your workspace a bit more cheerful.
- Grab your favorite beverage before you head out on your commute to treat yourself.
3. Find a few things that make you happy and don't compromise
Every morning I wake up and go for a 3-mile walk. In the sun, rain, snow, wind -- it doesn’t matter. I'm a total zombie for the first 10 minutes of it but by the time I get back home I'm awake and have more energy for my day. It’s my way to disconnect (I listen to music and don’t check my email) and have some me-time. (As a bonus, there are numerous health benefits of walking, so it's a good activity to invest in.)
Think of a few small things or activities that truly make you happier and make sure you do at least one every day. It can be the simplest thing but if you stick to it consistently you'll be able to get through even the toughest of days.
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