I receive a lot of comments from people saying they’re envious of the life I lead and the photos I post, marveling at how I manage to pack so much into my days, while always keeping a positive outlook.
Well I got news for you - we ALL have down days, including me! Days when the world seems to be against you, you’re feeling sick and off your game and for one reason or another, even if you were held down and subjected to tickle torture, mustering so much as a giggle would be all too much effort. Sometimes on those days you should just go to bed, read your book and look forward to a new day.
But most of the time, I believe that we can control our attitude and as a result, our happiness – of course I appreciate that I was fortunate to be born into a happy family, and given a lot of opportunities throughout my childhood, but my happy adulthood is not all down to the stars aligning or a lucky break, it’s down to me. If I want to be happy and successful, I have to make it happen.
I’m a quote nerd and this is one of my favorites at the moment.
Quite simply, whenever I can, I chose joy, and I thought I’d share a few of the tricks I’ve found that help me do that.
It’s a new day, who knows what might happen? Smiling sends a message to your brain telling it that you’re happy, which releases endorphins, natural pain relievers responsible for making you feel happy, and lowering your stress levels. Talk about a magic drug! A smile is the most powerful facial expression you have and you learned it when you were still in nappies. Pass it around to others by smiling at other people you see throughout the day – you never know how much they might be needing it. Think of one grumpy person you know and one smiley person – which one do you want to be?
2. TREAT YOURSELF
Give yourself a little gift every day. Whether it’s a small piece of chocolate, 2 minutes in a busy day to read a magazine, taking a lunch break when you don’t usually, going for a walk, or buying the shirt you’ve had your eye on, indulge yourself in a small way every day. Too busy? On a budget? There are plenty of things you can do for free in less than 60 seconds:
- Send a friend or someone you love a text message to say you’re thinking about them
- Spend 1 minute flicking through an old Facebook album to bring back happy memories – clinical studies show that looking at old photos makes us happier than chocolate!
- Go outside and walk around the block. You can be back at your desk in 2 minutes and some light and fresh air is bound to lift your mood and help you finish the task you’re working on faster than you will without a break
- Watch a silly 30 second video or ad on youtube. Nothing like some dancing cats to brighten your day. Just make sure you cut yourself off after one or two clips!
3. SHOW YOUR BODY SOME TLC
I’m not telling you anything you haven’t heard before by reminding you that exercise is good for your body and mind. Sure I’m a sports fanatic and I enjoy working out but you don’t have to be running every day or punishing yourself in the gym to reap the rewards of exercise, increase your energy levels and help you handle stress. Choose something you enjoy and fits into your schedule. Just walking further across the carpark to the supermarket or chosing the stairs at work is a start.
4. SAY THANK YOU
We all like being appreciated, so take time to appreciate those around you. It’s the oldest trick in the book. The colleague that held the door open, your boss at the end of a productive meeting, the security guard who helps you cross the road, the checkout supervisor scanning your groceries.... everyone is just out there doing their bit waiting to be appreciated, and showing someone a piece of gratitude will lift your heart and it might make someone else’s day. Being grateful is one of the easiest ways to be happy.
5. MAKE A LIST
Lists are seriously underrated. People laugh at my obsession with them, but the fact of the matter is that a list simplifies things and it’s much easier to find happiness in a simple, easy to navigate world than an overwhelming and confusing one. A to do list for your daily tasks or grocery list can streamline your day and make you more efficient, saving you time to go out and have fun, but there’s other types of lists you can make too. Set out goals for the month, half year, year and decade. Not unrealistic new years resolutions but tangible goals that have a deadline and can be ticked off over time to give you a sense of achievement and reason to celebrate. Or, if you’re not sure about a decision a list of pro’s and con’s can help clarify a route forward, allieviating a potentially stressful scenario. A list can honestly solve a lot of problems!
6. SAY HELLO
Whether it's a good morning and a chat around the coffee machine at work, a quick hi to a passer-by in the street or a formal greeting, acknowledging another person's presence in the world is an easy way to make yourself feel good, and make them feel special too! Add a smile and you can't lose :)
7. CHOSE A MOTTO
The internet is full of quotes and motivational sayings, so chose a couple that resonate with you and put them in places you look at often – the fridge, your computer desktop, bathroom mirror, phone screensaver. Here are some of my faves….
Trying just one of the above could change your attitude to one of genuine happiness – and the happier you are, the harder it will be for a traumatic or negative event to beat you down. You’ll be more productive and have more time to enjoy your favorite things in life. And when you are happy, you will inspire others to be happy because positivity is infectious! What's not to love about that?!
What things do you do that make you happy?