Being happy is not simply about feeling good. Studies have shown that happiness comes with physical health benefits, such as resilience in the face of stress, a more robust immune system, decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, and faster recovery from illness or surgery.
We previously shared seven things you can do daily to be happier. This article gives you six more tips to increase your happiness.
Acknowledging the things you’re grateful for, no matter how small, can immediately lift your mood. A recent study has shown that practicing gratitude significantly impacts feelings of hope and happiness.
Begin by thinking about one to three things you’re grateful for daily. You don’t have to write this down if you don’t want to, but it’s highly recommended. Writing your gratitude list gives you something to reflect on when things get tough. But if you can’t find the time to write, you can meditate on your gratitude list while preparing your morning coffee or brushing your teeth.
As you go through your day, keep an eye out for the positive things in your life. They can be significant, like a promotion, or simple, like feeling a refreshing cool breeze during your afternoon walk. With a bit of practice, you’ll increase your awareness of all the good things around you, keeping you in a happier state of mind.
Do a brain dump
A brain dump is simply writing in a journal but without any reservations. You dump everything that’s on your mind onto paper. When done regularly (ideally, every day), this practice is an excellent way to clear your mind, process events, analyze your feelings, organize your thoughts, and make plans. It’s like clearing out the cobwebs but for your mind.
You can brain dump first thing in the morning to focus better on work and other pressing issues. You can also do it at night, so you don’t have to spend all night wrestling with your thoughts. You can shred the page later if you’re nervous about writing down certain things. What’s important is to go through the writing process.
Plan your day/week/month
Do you feel like things are out of control? Planning is an excellent tool for reducing feelings of overwhelm. Take a few minutes each day or at the start of the week or month to list tasks you’d like to complete.
You don’t even have to worry about not being able to stick to your plan! On its own, the process of planning and blocking out time to do chores and tackle projects is excellent for helping quiet your mind.
Your planning tools are up to you. You can plan on a piece of paper or your phone or get yourself a fancy planner. The important thing is to get into the practice of planning to start feeling more in control, which helps you feel happier.
In this hyperconnected world, ditching your phone, tablet, or laptop for at least an hour every week can help lower stress levels and boost feelings of happiness. There’s a barrage of content available 24/7 online, and being constantly plugged in can contribute to stress.
Unplugging gives you time that is solely yours. It’s up to you what you want to do with it. Let your mind wander, take a mindful walk, read, spend time with someone, or enjoy time alone.
If you haven’t spent time offline in a long time, unplugging can sound daunting. Try doing at least 30 minutes weekly, then work up to an hour or even a whole day.
Soak up nature
Nature is healing. According to a 2016 study, spending 30 minutes or more a week in green spaces helps reduce blood pressure, muscle tension, heart rate, and depression. This is also why forest bathing or “taking in the forest atmosphere” is popular in Japan—nature is an effective antidote to tech-boom burnout.
Not everyone can find a forest nearby, but you can still experience the healing powers of nature by spending some time in your backyard, taking a walk in your neighborhood park, or taking care of potted plants indoors.
Therapy is cathartic for everyone, even if you don’t have a health condition. Therapy offers a sense of connection and release, making you feel happier. It also teaches you how to cope with obstacles, increasing happiness and overall well-being.
So, if you feel stuck, consider speaking with a therapist. And the best thing about therapy is that you won’t feel judged, compared to venting to a family member or friend.
The bottom line
Happiness is crucial to your overall health and well-being. So, it’s vital to reduce stress and increase your happiness, which you can do by taking better care of your mental health through the above-mentioned tips. And with regular practice, you’ll find yourself feeling lighter, better, and happier.