While every human being is unique, we’re also 99.5% identical to one another. Therefore, it makes sense that we share some common threads to what brings us happiness. Here are 8 ingredients to a happy life that you can start implementing today:
1. Practice gratitude.
Simply put, being grateful brings about other positive emotions like optimism and self-belief. If you’re not feeling grateful for much at the moment, treat it like any other skill: practice it. When you’re struggling, actively tell yourself what you’re grateful for in your life. Keep a daily gratitude journal and start your day by writing one thing you’re grateful for.
2. Spread positivity.
Have you ever had such a terrible day that you found it hard to believe that other people could be happy? Experiencing someone else’s happiness at that moment — whether it’s a smile or a happy conversation — can turn everything around. When you share your joy with other people, research shows they are likely to feel happier, too.
3. Go outside every day.
Humans are simply not meant to spend their lives cooped up indoors. Get outside every single day. If you’re near nature, go immerse yourself in it and let its quiet permanence seep into your soul.
While meditation has been advertised ad nauseum as the key to inner peace. There’s no particular dogma attached to meditation. It’s simply the practice of sitting down, focusing on your breathing, acknowledging your thoughts, and letting them pass on. Even doing so for one minute can put you in a better mental spot.
5. Listen to music.
There is no culture on earth that doesn’t have music. It’s the one universal language, and it’s directly tied to our happiness. Try listening to music and finding new music to inspire you. There is more music being made today than ever before, and the deeper you dig, the more nuggets of gold you’ll find.
6. Hakuna matata.
Practice letting go of worries, regrets, and mistakes. Practice lightheartedness. This attitude makes you more unflappable in the face of setbacks and helps you move on from your past. Work on letting go of grudges and forgiving those who wronged you in the past.
Exercise is a basic part of self-care, but it’s also a natural drug. Exercising releases endorphins and makes you feel like a million bucks. If you doubt this, consider that those staying overwinter in Antarctica — where there’s no hint of sunlight for 11 weeks and no direct sunlight for six months — exercise every day to avoid depression.
8. Eat well.
You are what you eat, and eating nutritious food makes you feel better all around. Try changing your diet for a week to include healthy proteins and plenty of greens.
Emmons, Robert A., and Michael McCullough. “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, American Psychological Association Inc., 19 June 2015, miami.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/counting-blessings-versus-burdens-an-experimental-investigation-o.
“Meditation: In Depth.” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2 Jan. 2019, nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm#hed3.
How Music Is Tied to the Culture, elearning.psu.edu/demos/music009/book/export/html/1803.
“Blood Pressure Reactivity to Stress Is Better for People Who Recently Had Penile–Vaginal Intercourse than for People Who Had Other or No Sexual Activity.” Biological Psychology, Elsevier, 14 June 2005, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301051105000736?via=ihub.
“25 Science-Backed Ways to Feel Happier.” Greatist, greatist.com/grow/how-to-be-happy-long-term#13.