Achieving happiness may sound elusive and abstract. In reality, true happiness can be achieved by incorporating habits that improve our lives and increase feelings of well-being. If we examine the lives of people who describe themselves as being generally happy, we discover that they share daily habits that add up to an improved quality of life and mental wellness.
- Eat right. The foods we eat determine our weight, our brain function, and our overall quality of life. Eating right boosts mental power, reduces the risk of depression, and staves off weight gain. When you feel and look your best, your mood is lifted and you feel happier. When you follow a healthy diet, not only will you benefit physically, but you will also experience increased life satisfaction.
- Get enough sleep. You’d be surprised to know that getting a full night’s sleep is one of the most beneficial things for boosting your mood. When you are sleep-deprived you feel cranky, stressed, moody, and fatigued. Sleep is the time to repair your cells and improve cognitive function. Problems and emotions are processed during sleep. Consistently getting a good night’s sleep also helps with weight loss and with this, the risk of depression decreases.
- Move more. A little bit of exercise can go a long way to boost your happiness factor. People who routinely exercise report feeling happy and less stressed. This is because engaging in even 10 minutes of physical activity a week can help your brain release the feel-good hormone called dopamine. Exercising helps with insomnia and relieves anxiety. So move a little more and experience the benefits that come with physical activity.
- Feed your soul. Pray or meditate. Although there is a difference between prayer and meditation, engaging in a profoundly spiritual activity can lower cortisol levels, the stress-inducing hormone. When you practice prayer or spiritual meditation, you connect to a higher source. The left cortex of your brain is activated and a sense of peace and calm will take over your body and mind. The more you pray or meditate, the longer you’ll experience the stress-reducing benefits and experience a calm sense of purpose and joy.
- Build strong relationships. Have friends. Be part of a community. When you are in a satisfying romantic relationship, have a supportive family, and a close group of friends, you feel happier and contented. Stay connected and nurture positive and strong bonds with people. Your relationship with those who love you is key to eliminating loneliness and increasing your overall life satisfaction.
- Have a creative outlet. Whether it’s gardening, baking, sculpting, playing an instrument, writing, or drawing, engaging in a creative activity can boost your mood. Expressing yourself in a creative way reduces stress and anxiety. It gives you a purpose and gives a sense of flourishing and growing.
- Acquire new skills. Learning and increasing your knowledge can also boost your feelings of overall satisfaction. When you grow as a person and experience the joy of learning, you reap the intrinsic reward of feeling accomplished. Acquiring knowledge ups your confidence and raises your self-esteem. When you’re actively engaged in learning a new skill you are present and in the “flow” state of mind. You are involved, energized, focused, and enjoying the process.
- Learn to manage your time. They say that time is money. And while this may be an overused cliche, there is a lot of truth to it. Your time is as valuable as your money. Managing your time wisely can help you prioritize and evaluate what’s important. Take control of your time by using lists and checking things off. Set goals and break them up into small tasks. Do the most difficult thing first. The feeling which psychologists call mind-wandering, the sense that you have wasted time, only adds to unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Learn how to make good use of your time to feel less stressed, less scattered, and in control.
- Take control of your finances. Money is a major stressor in many people’s lives. But if we dig below the surface, the root of financial stress is lack of control. It doesn’t matter how much you make. If you don’t know what’s going out, what you’re spending your money on, you’ll feel powerless and unhappy. Take the time to track your expenses and create a financial plan. Meet with a financial professional if you don’t know where to start. Make sure you save enough for the lean times and for your retirement. When you practice responsible spending and saving habits you’ll improve your financial well-being and enjoy the freedom to live a happy life.
- Love yourself. Loving yourself is probably the most important thing you can do to live a full and contented life. This doesn’t mean you have an inflated ego or are full of conceit. Loving yourself means that you accept yourself for who you are. Loving yourself means letting go of destructive habits and practicing self-care. When you love yourself and are comfortable in your own skin, you look at life from a different perspective.
Implementing These 10 Habits Will Increase Your Happiness Level
Some of these habits can be incorporated right away. Some, you’ll have to implement over time. But as you do, you’ll see an improved quality of life, an increased level of satisfaction, and better mental well-being.