Do you know what makes you happy? Maybe it’s your friends, your pets, or your dreams?
Happiness may mean different things to different people. Some people might enjoy travelling the world and meeting new people, some might be happy snuggling in their bed on a weekend with a book. Regardless, living a happy life is something we’d all love to achieve. And there are habits that you can do a couple minutes every day to lead to a happier you.
Here are five habits to make you a brighter, happier person.
Let go of grudges
Has anyone made you feel really bad, to the point that you still carry that resentment to this day?
Grudges can surface under unpleasant circumstances. Sometimes, these feelings can be too difficult to bear, especially if the other party had the clear intent to hurt you. While it may not be easy, you should strive to let go of these festering emotions.
When you let go, you aren’t doing it for the other person, but you and your own growth. Communicate with the person and try not to dwell on the issue. You don’t have to reconcile with them if they’ve done something truly terrible. Even just writing your feelings in a letter can be enough to have the same impact and free you from these feelings.
Have you ever gone out for a run? Was it a pleasant or exhausting experience?
Exercising outdoors isn’t just for your physical health. It also affects your mental wellbeing. Running and pumping weights can help reduce anxiety, offload stress, and even alleviate symptoms of depression.
Furthermore, according to a study by Zhang and Chen in the Journal of Happiness, you don’t have to scale mountains or train for marathons to get a taste of happiness. Just small, incremental steps can already do wonders for your mental health. Take a short walk around the block everyday. Or maybe 10 pushups. Gradually, you’ll start to realize the benefits exercising can do to make you a happier person.
Establish a proper sleep routine
Was there ever a time that you went to bed while the sun was just starting to rise?
Sleep is important to keep our brain functioning and keeping us in the right mood to tackle the day. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours a day, while teenagers and children need a little more than that to account for their developing bodies.
Changing your sleeping routine might be difficult at the start, but you can build a better routine by doing things differently. Keeping your bedroom quiet and dark, following a strict time schedule, and reserving the hour before bed to relax your mind can ease you into the habit of better sleep.
So, are there things that you’re grateful for today?
A simple way to make you a happier person is by practicing gratefulness for the things that you do have. A study by Witvliet found out that acknowledging the things you’re grateful for can bring you closer to a state of happiness and hope.
So when you go about your day, keep an eye out on all the pleasant things that happen in your life. Maybe a good grade on your test result, or knowing your friends love you, or taking a great sip of coffee in the morning. Writing them down in a journal can turn you into a much happier person down the line.
Compliment a person once a day
Are you someone who loves receiving praises, even if it comes as a surprise?
Receiving sincere compliments can uplift anyone’s spirits. But did you know giving them also increases your life satisfaction? Here’s how.
A study by Kathryn Buchanan and Anat Bardi took random participants and separated them into three groups. One was a control group, one had to perform random acts of novelty, and one had to do acts of kindness. At the end of the experiment, those who did random acts of kindness and acts of novelty experienced an increased life satisfaction compared to the group that didn’t do anything.
So, spread happiness to receive happiness! This’ll not only make you happy, but it’ll make the people around you feel great too.
Do you plan to do the habits listed above? Are there any other ideas you have that you’d love to share in the comments? Feel free!
That’s all for now, Psych2Goers!
- Pietrangelo, A. (Jan 15, 2019) How to Be Happy: 25 Habits to Add to Your Routine. Retrieved at https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-be-happy
- Modern Therapy. Aug 22, 2019. How to Let Go of A Grudge. Retrieved at https://moderntherapy.online/blog-2/2019/8/22/how-to-let-go-of-a-grudge
- Zhang, Z., Chen, W. A Systematic Review of the Relationship Between Physical Activity and Happiness. J Happiness Stud 20, 1305–1322 (2019)
- Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, Fallon J. Richie, Lindsey M. Root Luna & Daryl R. Van Tongeren (2019) Gratitude predicts hope and happiness: A two-study assessment of traits and states, The Journal of Positive Psychology, 14:3, 271-282. Retrieved at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760.2018.1424924?journalCode=rpos20&
- Kathryn E. Buchanan & Anat Bardi (2010) Acts of Kindness and Acts of Novelty Affect Life Satisfaction, The Journal of Social Psychology, 150:3, 235-237, Retrieved at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224540903365554