25 ways to be happier
To celebrate the International Day of Happiness, today’s personal growth guide features 25 tips from happiness experts (including Psychologists, Counselors, Social Workers, Self-Help Authors, and Motivational Speakers) on how to be happier.
- LOVE YOURSELF: “The best way to be really truly happy is to love yourself. External happiness will be brought into your life when at your core you are genuine in your thoughts, words, and actions. Embrace your strengths and accept or change your struggles.” – Kelley Kitley, LCSW is the owner and psychotherapist at Serendipitous Psychotherapy, LLC. in Chicago, Illinoi.
- IMAGINE THINGS GOING RIGHT: “When everything is going wrong, explore the ideas of some things going right. Happiness is typically conditioned upon a state of being. People experiencing unpleasant phases of life can achieve happiness when they make the right things bigger. Make your happy bigger than your problems.” – Shannon Battle, LCAS, LPC, CSOTS is the Clinical Director of Family Services of America in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
- END NEGATIVITY: “Reduce stress in your life by avoiding negative people and staying around positive people as much as possible. Stop watching the news or at least reduce your viewing as there is so much negativity in the news. Supplement with the anti-stress mineral, magnesium.” – Carolyn Dean, MD, ND is a stress management expert and nutrition expert, as well as the author of The Magnesium Miracle and The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women’s Health.
- DO GOOD, FEEL GOOD: “Doing nice things for others has been research-proven to increase your happiness and boost your mood. Giving back to others can help you to take the focus off of yourself and your worries and can improve someone else’s day. Kindness and compassion are some of the most important things that we have to offer.” – Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LGSW is a Mental Health Therapist and Social Worker in North Potomac, Maryland.
- WRITE IT DOWN: “Write down one thing (you) are grateful for every day. There is extensive research that supports the effectiveness of gratitude in making people feel happier, and the act of writing it down helps my clients develop a gratitude-habit which eventually becomes a way a viewing the world.” – Marie Levey-Pabst is the founder of Create Balance and a consultant who helps parents find balance and joy in their lives.
- DO WHAT YOU WANT: “Do things that you want to do versus things you feel you should do. Should is guilt inducing and it drains our energy. When it’s a want, it empowers us.” – Jenn DeWall is a professional coach and motivational speaker in Denver, Colorado.
- BE GRATEFUL: “Build a gratitude list, embrace progress over perfection, laugh at yourself, find your passion, and live with integrity.” – Richard London is a motivational speaker, author, and the owner of A Handbook for Life Center in Matthews, North Carolina.
- VALIDATE OTHERS: “Validate others. This is simple and powerful. Throughout the day actively look to thank other people for their contributions; thank the grocery checker for a good job; thank a police officer for being out there for you; thank the paperboy. It’ll make their day and yours.” – Dr. John McGrail, PhD, is a Los Angeles-based clinical hypnotherapist, self improvement expert and personal/relationship coach, as well as the author of The Synthesis Effect: Your Direct Path to Personal Power and Transformation.
- FIND UPLIFTING PEOPLE: “There are many benefits to spending time with people who encourage, uplift, support and cheer for you, not against you, some of which include improved health, reduced stress and increased creativity. Lifters genuinely want to see you do well. They celebrate and encourage awesomeness which in turn allows you to find more awesomeness within yourself.” – Tammie Norn is a certified leadership speaker, trainer, and coach in Ontario, Canada.
- TAKE A BREAK: “With the fast pace of our society and all the instant connection, it’s difficult to step back and take a breath. Schedule a 15-30 minute break to rest, unplug, and do absolutely nothing. Put this important meeting on your calendar and protect your time.” – Kanesha Baynard is a Life Coach and Author in San Francisco, California.
- KNOW YOURSELF: “Watch for patterns in your life, and seek to understand why they are occurring. This allows you to capitalize on the great ones, and course correct on those that aren’t making your life better.” – Brian Brandt is a Motivational Speaker and the CEO of Core Insights in Tyler, Texas.
- MAKE A SCHEDULE: “We should always know our goals and priorities. We have to schedule minimum time for each and ever part of life, (such as) career, family, personal time, and health. Just measure and monitor (your time), and you will have a good habit developed in no time.” – Shawn Chhabra is an Author and Podcast Host of “Winning The Game of Life Podcast” on WGL.FM in St. Louis, Missouri.
- CELEBRATE YOUR WINS: “Count your accomplishments. We are bombarded with images of where we lack. Practicing celebrating all of our wins trains our brain to be less anxious, kinder to ourself, and (helps us) release rewarding brain chemicals.” – Sara Plummer Barnard is a relationship and happiness consultant who helps people get past their past and into their best selves.
- BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOURSELF: “You are responsible for your own happiness. Do not rely on others to make you happy. Create a life where you do things you enjoy, a life that brings you happiness.” – Dr. Raquel A. Stuart is an Author, Educator, and Radio Host as well as the Founder & CEO of Sistas Speak, LLC. in Willingboro, New Jersey.
- RELEASE CONTROL: “Stop trying to control everything and just let it flow. Adopt this philosophy to your life. When something in your life goes wrong, just yell ‘plot twist’ and move on. Learning to let go of control, be flexible, and realize that the things you’re stressing about today really won’t matter tomorrow eliminates all of the worry and stress in your life, and allows more happiness and joy to come to you.” – Sherica A. Matthews is an Author, Life/Relationship Coach, and Speaker in Houston, Texas.
- START THE DAY RIGHT: “How we start our day sets our mood for the day. We should wake early to be able to ease our way into the day. Have a cup of coffee, listen to a podcast, watch something you have been saving on your DVR. If you start your day calmly and in an enjoyable way, you set the tone for the rest of your day.” – Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC is a Psychologist and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.
- EXERCISE: “Exercise frequently. Physical exercise increases endorphins and dopamine release which promotes happiness. If possible, spend some of this time outside. Sunlight increases the production of Vitamin D, which promotes a positive mood.” – Dr. Jared Heathman is a psychiatrist in Houston, Texas who is trained in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry.
- LET IT GO: “Don’t harbor ill-will or grudges. When we hold onto grudges, it only becomes our burden. Get rid of negativity. Look into things that make you feel less happy and eliminate those from your life. Pessimistic people, bad news, social media, etc. (Just) let it go.” – Joshua Evans is an enthusiasm expert, speaker, author, and mentor at Enthusiastic You! in Houston, Texas.
- MEDITATE: “One of the easiest and simplest ways to be happier is to develop a daily meditation habit. It only takes a few minutes a day, but just by taking the time to sit up straight, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing, you can, over time, decrease your stress levels.” – John Turner is the CEO & Founder of QuietKit, which provides guided meditation for beginners (for free).
- MAINTAIN HYGIENE: “When we are oscillating towards feelings of sadness, we tend to lay in bed for more hours than not; not shower; watch television all day. When we (do these things), we are not activating our bodies and this can further contribute to sadness. A refreshing shower has a positive impact on your mood and day. Therefore, the internal and external go hand-in-hand.” – Dr. Stephanie J. Wong is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Palo Alto, California who helps people that long to be connected to others, maintain sobriety, and feel accomplished.
- CHANGE YOUR FOCUS: “What we focus on becomes our reality. When we adjust our focus to the good… we open up our ability to see more good and happy moments. Our brains notice what we consciously spend time on. Spend more time recognizing the good, (as) the positive and the uplifting stories allows us to be more aware of the positive and increase our level of happiness throughout the day.” – Cara Maksimow, LCSW, CPC is a Madison, New Jersey-based Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Author of Lose That Mommy Guilt Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom.
- TAKE ACTION: “Finding happiness requires action. If you are not feeling happy, you need to do something different. Start by asking yourself, ‘what in your life is keeping you from being happy?’ The action you need to take to find happiness comes from those feelings. Whatever you can do now to elicit those feelings is crucial to finding happiness.” – Loris Brant B.A., B.Ed. is the Author of The Happiness Toolbox: Finding Happiness Regardless of Circumstances (launching June 1, 2016), a Teacher, Life Coach & Master Spirit Life Coach in Ontario, Canada.
- ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS: “Remember that our lives happen in singular, small moments. We can consciously make those small moments feel magical for ourselves and for others. All to often, we focus on big celebrations or future events we think will make us happy. But the truth is, when we get present to small moments and we do little things to brighten up those moments, our lives start to take on this technicolor feel.” – Sherry Richert Belul is the Founder of Simply Celebrate in San Francisco, California.
- JUST SMILE: “Facial feedback works because the brain senses the flexion of certain facial muscles (like the zygomatic major, which is required to smile) and interprets it as “Oh I must be happy about something.” Similarly, if that muscle isn’t flexed then your brain thinks, “Oh, I must not be happy”. In addition to the direct neural feedback, in the real world you also get the added advantage of social feedback. Smiles are infectious (perhaps another post on mirror neurons in the future). So even if you don’t feel much happier, the people around you are more likely to smile, and that can improve your mood as well.” – Alex Korb, Ph.D. is a contributor to Psychology Today.
- WEAR UPLIFTING COLORS: “Based on the study of Color Psychology, colors can have an effect on the way we feel. Invigorating colors (such as yellow and orange) tend to help us feel more upbeat, socially-inclined, and optimistic. On days when you need an extra boost of cheer, opt to wear a mood-elevating hue.” – Christina-Lauren Pollack is the Lifestyle Blogger behind Inspirations & Celebrations, as well as a contributing writer to Carmel Magazine, The Los Angeles Fashion Magazine, and the Huffington Post.
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