“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…” – Dalai Lama
It’s no question that we all want to be happier. Most days we think happiness comes from weighing just 10 lbs less, earning just a couple thousand dollars more, or just having a bit more recognition at work and in our industry, but according to the research, the way you look, how much money you make, or how famous and popular you are don’t often equate to being a happier person. Being happy is a tricky thing, there really is no defined step by step path towards it, but there are small things you can do any day, at anytime, and in any phase of your life that can lead to a happier you. If you’ve been down lately, or just not content with what’s going in life try these 5 things to be just a bit happier today.
Spend Time With Friends – Time and time again research shows that the one thing that affects your happiness and well being the most is the quality of time you spend with others you care about. This doesn’t mean grabbing dinner with someone and spending time on your phone checking to see what your other friends are doing. It’s about being fully engaged with those you are with, chatting and being genuinely interested in that moment. Can you call someone today you’ve been meaning to call for awhile now?
Practice a Random Act of Kindness – When was the last time you helped someone you didn’t know for no good reason? Think about it, how did you feel after? Most of the time you’d feel good about what you did. How can you practice random acts of kindness today? Could you hold the door open for someone, smile at your barrista, give a loan through Kiva or Vitanna, or maybe pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line? The old saying goes “Today you tomorrow me,” The great thing about random acts of kindness is that they can be as small as you want them to be, and they are contagious as they inspire others to good deeds for other people in need. I think this ad sums it up pretty well.
Express Gratitude – Think about something you truly are grateful for in your life. Maybe it’s a person, or maybe it’s an opportunity that changed your career, it doesn’t matter, spend just 5 minutes thinking of things you’re grateful for. Nothing is too trivial to express gratitude toward.
Move Around & Exercise – Research shows that regular exercise, three times a week for 30 minutes is equivalent to taking some of the most powerful psychiatric drugs that treat depression and other anxieties. We’ve only become a sedentary culture in the past century, we’re made to be physically active. Not only does regular movement and exercise improve our physical fitness, but it also contributes to our overall happiness as well.
Learn Something New – When we were children our main directive in life was to learn about the world around us, our curiosity drove us to stick things in our mouths, touch, and play with things we shouldn’t, all in the name of learning. I think we’ve lost that drive, and with the loss of that drive we lost the ability to be delighted by our own personal discoveries. Try this, think of a subject or skill you’ve been wanting to learn to do. Now go to the library, bookstore if you’re a bookworm, or stop by YouTube or Videojug if you’re a visual learner, and spend no more than 20 minutes learning whatever it is you’ve been wanting to learn more about. If you can’t find 20 minutes during your day for learning then you just don’t want to learn it bad enough or maybe it’s something you really aren’t that interested in. Trust me once you begin embracing learning as an essential part of your life you’ll begin to reintroduce the delight of discovery, the thrill of searching, and the happiness that follows closely behind.
What else do you do that makes you happy?
Photo via aturkus