Life is hard. Whether you’re 10 years old, 100, or somewhere inbetween, there will be times in your life where you may feel overwhelmed, stressed, disappointed, or just plain sad, and that’s okay! As humans though, we crave to be happy.
What is happiness you ask? Well, it will look different for everyone, but ultimately happiness is an emotional state that brings you intense joy. Some people may feel this when holding a newborn baby, others may actually fear that and instead feel happiness when alone sipping some tea and reading a new book. Maybe you’re someone who feels joy when doing both of these things, or neither. Either way, our goal this week is to focus on ways to bring happiness into our everyday lives to help combat the more negative feelings that often take over.
1. Power Down
Shut off your electronics for a bit. Not forever, but for a while. The world today seems to have a major focus around social media, news, and other electronics, so it is likely that some sadness or stress can come from these things. Set aside some time, even if it’s just an hour, and power down your television, phone, gaming console, computer and any other electronics that are pulling your attention. After some time you may find that doing this actually strengthens the connections you have with those around you, ultimately bringing you joy.
2. Move Your Body
Lifting weights, dancing, yoga classes, bike rides, walking, playing sports, running, swimming. There are plenty of ways to get your body moving! Studies show that physical movement encourages a chemical reaction inside of us that releases dopamine, also known as the “feel-good neurotransmitter”(Psychology Today. 2020). So get up and move!
3. Forget Your Schedule… For an Hour
Scheduling is important of course. We have talked about time management plenty before, but sometimes it is ok to stray from your schedule, for just a bit anyways. Keeping on track and jumping straight from one task to the next can cause stress, so every once in a while break free of that. Or if you’re a stickler for scheduling, pencil in some time for rest where you can completely forget all of the “have to’s” of the day.
4. Catch the Sunrise or Sunset.
Our world is an amazing thing. Wild animals, waterfalls, open fields, snowflakes, stars, mountains, open waters and plenty more can be so beautiful. Take it all in and appreciate them every chance you get. Catch the sunrise and remember this is the start of a new day. The past is in the past and you can make today great. Watch the sunset to reflect on your day, and vow to make tomorrow better than yesterday.
Other “feel good” chemicals found in our brain are called endorphins (Mills, P. 2019). Singing releases plenty of these! No matter if you’re a great singer or you sound like a whale, belt out some of your favorite tunes and get those happy juices flowing!
6. Write Down Your Aspirations
Having an aspiration means you have the hope or ambition to achieve something. Goal is a great synonym for this. Take some time and write the aspirations that you have down. Possessing something physical, like a list in a journal, to work towards can not only make it seem more feasible, but may also help you feel happy and proud about what you can accomplish.
If you want to take this a step further, create a dream board. Cut out pictures from magazines, create drawings, or print off images that relate to the goals you have, and put them on a poster board that you can hang in your room or somewhere that you will see it every day.
7. Hang Out at The Hub
Doing things you enjoy with others is a fantastic way to bring happiness into your life! Currently we are offering open gym Monday-Friday and theater programs on Monday and Wednesday every week at The Hub. Sign up “here”, come make some new friends, and experience joy with one another!
8. Fake It… ‘Til You Make It
There are times where we may feel like we’re in a rut that we just can’t get out of. During these times it just seems like no matter what we do, we can’t find the happiness that we desire. So fake it… ‘Til you make it. Smile, laugh, tell yourself an obnoxious joke. Oftentimes when we do these silly things, our emotions follow our physical actions and we gain that joy we have been searching for. No matter how frivolous or childish it seems, try it out, you might be surprised at how your body and brain react.
9. Go Outside
Walk out your door, stand in the sun’s rays, and take a deep breath. Take in all of that fresh air and soak up some Vitamin D. This vitamin is important for your health, and is known to help prevent things like depression. Unfortunately, many people don’t get the recommended amount of Vitamin D though (Harvard Health Publishing, 2010). So soak up as much as you can from the sun and spend some time outside!
10. Pamper Yourself
No, pampering is not just for the ladies! No matter who you are, it is important to take time for yourself and do the things that make you feel good. Take a bath, or long shower. Paint your nails, or spend some extra money on a pedicure. Bake your favorite treat, then eat the whole thing! Buy yourself some flowers or that video game you’ve been saving up for. Dress up in your nicest outfit just because. Find the little things that bring you joy, stop making excuses, and just do them!
Volunteering is thought to bring self-satisfaction. But what does self-satisfaction bring? Happiness! So volunteer every once in a while. Places to do this can include church, a homeless shelter, a care home, the hospital, or even somewhere closer to home. Maybe your grandparents need help cleaning their windows, or your neighbor struggles to mow their lawn. It really doesn’t matter how big or small your volunteering seems, helping others in any aspect can bring you great joy!
12. Create Something
Take your artistic, or even rudimental, abilities and let them shine! Remember, being artsy doesn’t only mean painting a picture or sculpting something out of clay. Write a song, compose music, or create a short story. Make some jewelry, dip dye a t-shirt, or design a webpage. There are an endless amount of things you can create in this world, find something you love and make it!
13. Say Yes to Something New
Time and again we get stuck doing the same things over and over. Go to school or work, eat lunch, study, clean up, scroll through social media, watch the game. How boring!? Say yes to something new in your life and shake it up! Explore new food options for dinner, delve into a new music genre that you generally stray from, find a new board game to play with friends, or pick up a new hobby that has always interested you but you were too afraid to try. Breaking out of the monotonous tone of your everyday life can be a great way to find happiness!
We all struggle to find joy in our lives sometimes, and that is truly okay. Each of us is different so we will all have diverse ways of finding the happiness that our heart seeks. This list shows just a few that may call out to you, but we want to know your thoughts. What are some of the things you do to bring happiness to your own life?
Harvard Health Publishing. (2010, July). A prescription for better health: Go alfresco. Harvard Health Letter. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/a-prescription-for-better -health-go-alfresco
Mills, P. (2019, August 7). The health benefits of singing. Barber Shop. https://www.barbershop.org/the-health-benefits-of-singing#:~:text=Singing %20releases%20endorphins%20into%20your,than%20people%20who%20don’t.
Psychology Today. (2020). Dopamine. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/ dopamine#:~:text=Dopamine%20is%20known%20as%20the,part%20of% 20the%20reward%20system.
Have ideas for a future post? Interested in a certain topic? Send us your suggestions here!