It is true that sometimes circumstances may not be the most favorable to feel good, however there are certain actions that we can put into practice to improve our attitude towards life.
In this article you will find 10 small actions that help you to be happier and feel good every day. Start remodeling your interior and exterior today!
«I like to be happy, it is simply more fun to live like this«
Once they gave me a greeting card that had the following phrase:
“Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude, but if you pay attention to other things, it will come and land on your shoulder.”
After reading it, many questions arose, and maybe you have the same ones:
Why do we have to wait for happiness to knock on our door? How do we know it is already there? What if it never appears?
In fact, do you know the percentage of people who are really happy?
Not one of those people who say: « oh, I feel good (only on the outside)» …
No, I mean people who feel that their lives are full and meaningful.
In other words, 1 in 5 people feel completely happy.
The obligatory question is: how can I become one of those happy people?
It is much easier than you think and here you find out how.
There are many actions that depend only on you and that you can do TODAY to improve your attitude and satisfaction towards life
In fact, that is the key.
We do not have to live trying to “hunt” happiness, nor do I think it is useful to think of it as a well-deserved destination after a hard walk.
I am convinced that the more you focus on “you have to be happy” the less you are (because you realize that something is missing).
Therefore, I encourage you to put all your attention on the simple pleasure of performing these small actions, and try to turn them into daily habits .
In this way, your satisfaction with life will be present on the grand scale of the days.
But, before telling you what these small actions are about, it is important to explain the true definition of happiness.
What is happiness?
Happiness is a complex and difficult word to define, especially since the path to happiness is different for each of us.
I am not a psychologist and therefore I gave myself the task of investigating the subject in depth.
It is true that some of the factors that affect happiness may be beyond our control (such as genetics or certain circumstances). But there are always actions we can take from now on to amplify our good feelings.
The psychologist who is an expert in happiness, Mónica López, comments in an interview that I did the following to her: Happiness consists of making small decisions every day, which are translated into actions to live happier.
To be happy is to feel good, function well and do good
According to the expert, acting in a way that is consistent with our personal values and goals allows us to take these small actions regarding our happiness and, in this way, have a combination of more positive than negative emotions.
What can I do to decide to be happy?
Happy people find that happiness becomes a habit. They are not victims of circumstance. Nor do they pursue that “happiness” in some person or material good.
It is true that some days you can feel better than others (maybe the weather or a particular date affects you) but if in the total count of days a year you decide to feel good and happy, you are on the right track.
Happiness is an everyday decision …
Although it sounds impossible, you can take control to smile more times a day and be more satisfied with life.
These small actions are divided into two parts:
- Small actions that improve our perception and relationship with the outside world
- Small actions that come from within us and improve our attitude towards life
Try to introduce any (or all) of these actions into your routine. This is how we make sure you feel better and are happier inside and out!
Actions to be happy from the outside in
1.- Get in touch with nature
It is proven that living near green spaces or having contact with nature is associated with better mental health .
Simply because the connection with other living beings has a positive impact on your sense of well-being
The stimulus is so strong that just looking at some images of nature can stimulate parts of the brain that are associated with happiness.
In addition, spending time outdoors exposes us to sunlight, which helps us better absorb vitamin D. Low levels of this vitamin (hormone) have been associated with increased depression. 3 .
Go out for more walks and don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
What you can do today:
- Get off two stops before the subway or park your car further away to spend more time outdoors.
- Organize a field trip or a picnic in the park on the weekend and live with nature, you will notice the difference immediately.
2.- Take care of your body by exercising
Exercise Habit Has Been Proven To Promote Long-Term Happiness
In addition, physical activity has multiple benefits for your health in general and for your mental health. These are just a few wonders that exercise does for you:
- Nobody is very happy when they get sick. That’s why exercise helps our bodies make disease-fighting antibodies and proteins 5
- Releases certain chemicals, called ” endorphins,” that improve your mood and promote feelings of euphoria
- Fight depression and stress
What you can do today:
- If you’re not in the habit of exercising, start small: follow the 5 easy steps in this article.
- It is valid to combine the 2 strategies: nature + exercise, walk in the park for a few minutes!
- If you already exercise, try a new sport, a yoga, Zumba or martial art class, you will see that your attitude improves.
3.- Do something nice for someone
This does not mean just giving money to someone who is asking for it on the street. Giving something to others can be as simple as a single kind word (a good morning before ordering coffee, a thank you to the bus driver).
It can also be a simple service like picking up the neighbor’s mail or giving up your seat on the subway.
Scientific studies show that helping others increases life satisfaction , provides a sense of meaning, increases feelings of competition, improves mood, and reduces stress. 7
It has been proven that giving away a little of your free time to volunteer also increases your perception of well-being 8
What you can do today:
- Make it a point to do a little good deed each day to help someone
- If you have the possibility and a little time, participate in a volunteer program. It can be in a kennel, an orphanage, planting trees, etc. There are thousands of institutions that need your help.
4.- Learn or try something new
If you remember your childhood, you know that as a child you learn every day, it may not be something significant and important. But there is always something to discover.
Sadly, this gets lost over time (and it shouldn’t be).
The affects learning our well – being in many positive ways. It exposes us to new ideas and helps us keep our minds curious. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment and helps increase our confidence.
The best part is that learning something new and being happy is a two-way street: learning something improves your perception of well-being, and this perception helps you learn more. 9
Learning a new skill, even a small one, like: a first aid technique or a word in another language, improves your intellectual capacity and your daily motivation.
Learning also means discovering or trying new things. They don’t have to be very big and ambitious things (although they could be), the goal is to reinvent your routine by making room for new things.
What you can do today (some ideas):
- Take a different route to work
- Read a different newspaper or a new book
- Visit a store you don’t know about (even if you don’t buy anything)
- Be a tourist in your own city
- Try a meal from another country or cook a new recipe
- Play a game you didn’t know (even that popular mobile app counts)
5.- Talk more and cultivate relationships
For some reason when we go into “routine” mode, call it work, school, children, obligations, homework … we forget to do those things that make us happy. Like those deep talks with your lifelong friends.
Our relationships with other people are key to our happiness.
Social connection is part of a healthy lifestyle. Because these close relationships with friends and family provide love, purpose, and increase our feelings of self-worth.
Talking with the people around us (listening and being listened to) leads us to a greater sense of well-being, stronger relationships and a better experience with our environment .
Studies show that people with strong relationships are happier, healthier, and even live longer. Plus meaningful conversations make you happier10
If you have trusted people close to you, like your family or friends, don’t just talk about the weather or the score of the last soccer game, better try to talk deeply and develop a space in which you can talk about your opinions, thoughts and emotions.
Nothing compares like talking to someone in person, but if this gets complicated, we currently have many ways to communicate within our reach and most of these means are free!
So there are no excuses for not saying, ” Hi, how are you? »To that special person.
What you can do today:
- Greet your neighbors with a smile
- Dare to meet new people
- Call your parents and grandparents
- Visit your family (even if it’s not Christmas)
- Make an effort and book an afternoon with your friends
Now you know how to be happier and feel better about your environment, but also, you need to build habits that allow you to improve your perception in reverse.
Actions to be happy from the inside out
6.- Sleep better
But, it turns out, it is also important to our happiness.
When we are tired, we react worse to any situation and we become much more sensitive to negative emotions.
We see everything in a more pessimistic way and only gray memories appear in our minds.
This happens because negative stimuli are processed in a part of the brain called the amygdala. While positive or neutral memories are processed by another area called the hippocampus.
Lack of sleep impacts the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that people with lack of sleep cannot remember pleasant memories, but they do remember negative ones.eleven
In one experiment, sleep-deprived participants tried to memorize a list of words. They could remember 80% of the words with a negative connotation, such as “cancer” or “disease.” But they could only remember less than 30% of the words with a positive or neutral connotation, such as “sun” “smile” or “tree”12
Also, when you don’t get enough sleep, levels of a hormone called cortisol increase. Known for its relationship to stress.13 .
How long and how deep you sleep will affect your mood when you wake up, which can make a big difference in your day.
What you can do today:
- Make an effort to go to bed an hour earlier than usual
- Read this article with the steps to create a ritual that helps you sleep better and wake up in a good mood from tonight.
7.- Propose yourself and plan your goals
The choice of ambitious goals is a compass that gives you direction. They also bring a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when we reach them.
We all need goals to motivate us and these must be challenging enough to excite us, but at the same time, your goals must be achievable .
If we try to plan something far from our reality at this time, we will only feel anxiety and unnecessary stress, also if we do not achieve it in the planned time we will feel a kind of defeat that does not contribute to strengthening our self-esteem 15 .
When we think about the future, we are all guessing to some extent, so it is important to keep our feet on the ground. An overly optimistic outlook can be useless and even counterproductive.
Having unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment, a sense of failure, and a more pessimistic view of the future. But if we take a realistic but at the same time optimistic view of the results, the probability of success will increase .
However, planning and having more realistic and achievable goals can contribute to happiness in several ways. Scientific research shows that the simple fact of planning these objectives generates a feeling of positivism in the day to day, for example planning a vacation in the future16
In another study, it was shown that simply thinking about an upcoming rewarding experience (like watching a movie you like, or an afternoon with friends) raises your endorphin levels by 27% and reduces your stress levels. Endorphins are substances in your brain responsible for the feeling of euphoria and joy.17
Therefore, having achievable goals and planning them realistically is one way to be happy in the present tense. Goals can be long-term, short-term, or even day-to-day.
A long-term goal could be to become a doctor or win a competition.
A short-term goal might be to throw a party or join a soccer game on the weekend.
Instead a very short-term goal may be to cook something different or to meet an old friend this afternoon.
What you can do today (some ideas):
- Write your long-term goals, how do you see yourself in a few years?
- Plan a trip for the future (even if you don’t have a specific date yet)
- Look for the next releases of some films and schedule a trip to the cinema
- Plan your next weekend in advance, what would you like to do?
- Invest your money in experiences and not in material things, as it has been seen that it contributes more to your happiness in the short and long term18
8.- Be grateful for the little things
Perhaps we let ourselves be carried away by the circumstances of the moment, or perhaps we yearn for more and more things and demand that heaven and life have them as soon as possible.
– “When I have a house with a pool I will be happy” or – “When I finish my degree and have a better job, I will be fully satisfied”
And then … you have a home and a job and you are still not happy.
Stopping and observing everything we already have and thanking it is one of the best ways to value our present and feel more satisfied with who we are and what we have .
In one experiment, the participants wrote every day about what made them feel grateful, their moods improved in the first days of this simple practice. The results suggest that a conscious approach to thanking can have emotional and interpersonal benefits.
In another study it was shown that being grateful or not being grateful directly affects your perception of happiness. Participants who wrote thank you letters decreased depressive symptoms. 19
What you can do today:
- Before going to sleep, think or write down 3 things for which you are grateful. They can be very important things like your family, friends or a baby on the way, but they can also be quite common things like eating your favorite ice cream, your bed, the coins in your piggy bank or the simple fact of having air in your lungs
9.- Remember something and smile
This happens because our thoughts define our state of mind of the moment. In such a way that a pleasant image or memory triggers a positive feeling.
Once the smiling muscles contract, a positive feedback loop begins that reinforces our feeling of joy.
Therefore, it is important to smile every day . Even during those situations where we can’t do anything (but they affect us).
You will think that it is difficult and even useless, but you are wrong …
Smiling itself can make us feel better, but this effect is most effective when we back it with positive thoughts.
A new study 20 suggests that a fake smile can worsen your mood. The effects of a false smile and a smile as a result of pleasant memories or a better perception of the current situation were examined.
Participants, who smiled as a result of cultivating deep positive thoughts (like a tropical vacation or your child’s festival) tended to dramatically improve their mood.
Bottom line: our brain feels good and tells us to smile, we smile and tell our brain that it feels good and so on.
What you can do today:
- Think of something nice, remember a joke, or a funny situation that stimulates your smile.
- Think about the best situation of the day or the previous days, what made you feel good?
- Listen to music with the intention of feeling good. Research shows that listening to music with the goal and desire to be happier can actually lead to greater happiness than simply listening to music for the sake of listening.twenty-one
10.- Learn to control your thoughts
Meditation is often considered an important habit to improve concentration and decrease stress, but it turns out that it is also useful for improving your happiness:
New research in neuroscience has discovered that those people who meditate regularly literally modify their brain structure 22
In one study, the brain X-rays of 16 people were examined before and after an eight-week course of meditation and mindfulness . The parts of the brains associated with compassion, self-awareness and happiness grew, and the parts associated with stress decreased in size.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to become a monk and lock yourself in a temple to achieve it.
You can start meditating simply by relaxing (and doing nothing in the meantime). It is a way to give your mind a break.
Sometimes the simple fact of over-thinking what to do, generates an anticipated negative feeling. Therefore, relaxing your mind for a few minutes a day is an excellent strategy to calm anxiety and avoid negative feelings during the day.
Meditating takes practice, but it is a very powerful activity. It literally clears your mind and puts you at ease, it has been proven to be an effective way to be happy and feel better.
Taking a few minutes to meditate is actually a life investment. I’ve been practicing for a few months now and have seen incredible results. And you can experience them too.
What you can do today
Take a few minutes to close your eyes, relax, and breathe deeply
Important note: If you have a serious problem with depression, please consult a psychologist who will evaluate you closely, do not miss it!
And what do you do to feel better and lift your spirits? What habits in your life contribute to your happiness? share with me your answer in the comments below.