Promotions, new relationships, and even “securing the bag” provides a temporary boost in happiness. Each of us have a baseline level of happiness that we can quickly return to. However sustained happiness takes work. Listed below are exercises that I’ve been able to incorporate in my life. When practiced frequently or routinely, these ways of being can build genuine and lasting happiness.
Gratitude: Write down three things for which you are grateful every day. Don’t worry if they seem simple or mundane—just get something down on paper. Writing daily gratitude helps me identify positive aspects of even the worst days.
Acts of kindness: Making a conscious effort to do something nice for no reason other than to help someone is personally rewarding. I’ve been surprised by how a simple and random act of kindness can turn around the day for both the kindness recipient and me. I choose to believe it becomes contagious and contributes to others experiencing kindness and happiness.
Exercise: The positive effects of exercise are astounding. Physically active people have increased energy, superior immune systems, and a frequent sense of accomplishment. Exercise can reduce insomnia, stimulate brain growth, and even act as an anti-depressant. Although there is so much room for me to grow in this area, every time I exercise, the benefits are immediate. If jogging or lifting weights seems like too much (personally speaking), consider a 30-minute walk (my cup of tea) or a slow bike ride. Join Enjoying Life Fully for the “Come Walk With Us”, occurring three or four times per month. Would love to meet you!
Prayer/Meditation: Research has linked prayer and meditation with reduced anxiety and more positive emotions. Those who pray and/or meditate regularly may even permanently restructure their brains to create sustained happiness. The relief and release experienced in prayer is a created freedom from pressures of life. It's a staple for me!
Positive journaling: Taking time to reflect and record various aspects and events of life creates a framework for what was and is yet to come. If journaling is new to you, write about a fun day spent with friends, a good movie, or an activity you’ve enjoyed. Jot down aspirations and life lessons. Journaling for me has included the peaks in my life as well as the valleys, noting my emotions and mindset. Times of reflection is development of another habit that helps move past negativity or feelings of unhappiness.
Fostering relationships: Strong social connections are thought to be one of the most powerful influences on our mood. Those who are dedicated to spending time with friends and family show the highest levels of happiness. Incorporating technology, (facetime, skype, whatsapp, etc.) to connect with family and friends is quite doable. Or you can revert to texting and emailing, or even a phone call! Healthy relationships fill our emotional and mental tanks. We withdraw so much in life, we have to be deposit in our social tank. Intentionally connecting is critical. I've learned to prioritize fostering relationships just as much as other aspects of my life. The joy that emanates fills my love tank.
Faith: Regularly exercising my faith deepens my happiness. Period. Having confidence that life has purpose recharges my mind, heart, and soul! Communing, fellowshipping, worshipping, and praising empowers me to rise up to the challenges of life and to experience freedom and comfort in knowing He has a plan!
Just a couple of habits that have proven to increase my happiness. I would love to hear what habits and routines increases your happiness. Drop one of your gems in the comments!