8 fast ways to feel happy
Here are some quick ways to boost your happiness:
Do a kind deed
“There are many benefits to kindness for both the receiver and the giver,” says Happiness Matters coach Caroline Clark (happinessmatters.co.uk), “It enhances our feeling of connection and can lead us to view other people more positively or charitably. Even smiling at a stranger can transform someone’s day.
“My favourite kindnesses are those which are secret, where you don’t know who might benefit and they don’t know who has been kind to them, for example leaving some change in a vending machine, leaving a favourite book on a train with a little note, or leaving flowers on someone’s step. I often wonder about these kindnesses and the impact they had, long after I did them.”
Schedule in a treat
Having a jam-packed schedule of chores and things we need to do can leave little time for the things we want to do and that will really make us happy. Although it’s impossible for most of us to ditch the to-do list entirely, try to schedule in at least 15 minutes each day where you can relax or spend time on something you really enjoy and will look forward to, such as reading a good book, indulging in some pampering, phoning a friend or having a walk in the fresh air. Try to make the most of any gaps in your schedule – during your lunch break, your commute or while the dinner is in the oven – where you can squeeze in a bit of ‘me time’.
Get a happiness app
Enhance your happiness on the go by downloading a mood-boosting app to your phone or mobile device. Try Live Happy, which features many activities, such as goal-setting, social and optimism features; the Headspace meditation app; Uplifted, which is a game about being happy; or mindfulness training app Mindfulness TS.
Manage your stress
If stress or anxiety are ruining your day, the stress management device and mental fitness tool Pip (thepip.com) can help bring you back to the present moment and learn how to manage your stress levels. Monitor how stressed you are with the thumb-sized sensor then link your Pip to three fun and engaging apps that will help you to relax, choosing from the Four Steps to Mindfulness app, the Loom – which uses soothing music and imagery to encourage relaxation – and Relax & Race, which uses a competitive race to help users learn to ‘manage the moment’.
Focus on the positive around you
Lynda Field (lyndafield.com), a life coach and author of Fast Track to Happiness (£9.99, Vermilion), suggests we become more positively aware as we go about our daily lives to help lift our mood. “Be on the look out for anything of a positive nature, such as a person’s smile as you walk along the street. Notice the care and concern in someone’s voice in an overheard conversation, listen for uplifting words, watch peoples’ body language, look for those who walk tall with a spring in their step, and notice how some people can override a negative comment and ignore a potential put down.”
Keep a gratitude diary
“There are so many things to be grateful for in life, yet when we’re feeling down or stressed we seem to forget about all of them,” says “Happyologist” Susanna Halonen (happyologist.co.uk). “To remind yourself about the good in your life, finish every day by writing down three things you were grateful for in that day. Alternatively, you can choose one thing you were grateful for and spend five minutes writing about it. Over time you’ll turn gratitude into a habit and find yourself becoming more positive and optimistic across your life.”
Positively reframe situations
While we all face challenging situations, positively reframing these situations is a good way to stop them from ruining our happiness. “Ask yourself: Is this situation permanent? Is it pervasive? Is it personal?” advises Susanna Halonen, “We often forget that challenges we are faced with are temporary, specific to that situation or area of your life (rather than everything in your life), and not a personal attack on you – often uncontrollable external circumstances have a role to play. Simply reminding yourself of these three points will help you to see the challenge in a more positive light.”
Set a goal
Setting a new goal is a great way to boost your sense of achievement, take charge of your happiness and lift yourself out of a rut. If there are circumstances in your life that have been bothering you for a while – whether it’s your job, social life or weight – make a plan to do something about it. Alternatively, plan something positive or fun that will enhance your life, such as redecorating your home, booking a trip or starting a new hobby. Make sure your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART) and break it down into small steps so it’s more achievable.
Want to spread the joy further? Join in the Secret Society of Happy People’s Happiness Happens Month, which takes place throughout August. Visit their Facebook page or download the Happiness Happens Month 31 Day Challenge calendar to receive a new happiness challenge each day of the month.