Could your life be happier and healthier than it already is? Definitely. As easy as it is to form bad habits, such as drinking in excess and eating badly, it’s just as easy to form good habits. Certain positive habits can increase feelings of happiness and self-love by leading us to a state of better emotional, physical and mental well-being. Dramatic reductions in anxiety and depression often stem from the formation of habits – things that all of us should do more often for a happier and healthier life. Making some of these changes might seem overwhelming, but it’s not as hard as you’d think and these are all fantastic goals to have. Here are 10 things all of us should be doing during the pursuit of happiness:
1. Develop a morning ritual. We’re not all morning people, that’s for sure. Getting up in the morning, however, is much less painful if you have a morning routine that works for you. Your morning ritual could be something as simple as having a shower, making your signature smoothie, going for a walk and then writing out today’s to-do list on your patio with a cup of tea. A routine will help you wake up and get you ready to make the most of your day. In other words,this is how you get your day off to a fantastic start. Remember that it’s a lot easier to wake up and start your day when you live your life with purpose, as though you’re on a mission and you’re aware of how much each and every day matters when it comes to achieving your goals. Each day counts on the road to success, so don’t waste today.
2. Exercise. We may nod our heads in agreement and laugh at those memes we see on Instagram that read “gym update: still not there” – but the reality is, it’s important to exercise often. Exercising releases endorphins and clears brain-fog, which is why you feel so great after a workout. A solid gym session also calms the nerves, which is why feelings of anxiety are reduced by hitting the gym. In general, those who work out often tend to be happier, less stressed and feel more productive.
3. Go on more dates. Last week I realized it had been months since I last went on a date. I immediately checked out some of my crushes on Happn and set up a date. All it took was going on that date to remember how much fun dates are and I realized that there’s a reason we sometimes avoid them. The guy I met on Happn ended up admitting that a date requires a lot of effort which is why he doesn’t go on as many dates as he could. The same goes for women. We might go on less dates than we could because of the effort involved. We have to get ready, be energetic, be funny – the list goes on. But what we sometimes forget is that the effort is worth it and it’s fun to put on a sexy dress sometimes! Plus, we all deserve to have a fun night out every once in awhile.
4. Practice gratitude. There’s a famous quote by Maltbie D. Babcock that says “Better to lose count while naming your blessings than lose your blessings counting your troubles.” Rather than focusing on what you don’t have, or what someone else has that you want, instead focus your energy on gratitude towards what you do have. You’ll make yourself miserable comparing yourself to others or focusing on the negative. As soon as you learn how to be more grateful, your whole life could change. There’s an entire book about this – it’s called The Magic by Rhonda Byrne.
5. Tidy up and revamp your bedroom. Many of you have likely heard of the New York Times Bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. The book explains why tidying up and redecorating inspires a healthier overall mindset. It can even cure anxiety problems and help us feel more relaxed, as though a weight has been lifted. Tidy up and buy fresh new bedding — the positive effects of this won’t go unnoticed.
6. Write in a journal. It’s amazing how therapeutic writing in a journal is. A lot of our anxiety can be cured by getting it all out on paper and working through our issues as we write about them. Reliving and preserving a great memory is as easy as journaling about it to prevent taking the good things for granted. Go to a quiet lake and write your heart out. Writing in a journal is also a great way to get to know yourself, and tap into the feelings you keep hidden deep inside of yourself. We could all benefit from being more self-aware.
7. Spend more time in nature. You should commit to spending time in nature every single day, even if it’s just a 45 minute walk to a nearby park. Studies have shown that spending time in nature is linked to happiness, higher self-esteem, and a reduction in depression and anxiety. It’s important to spend time away from laptop screens and TV screens, because too much screen-time is incredibly bad for our emotional and physical well-being. What better way to get away from the screen than spending some time outside in nature?
8. Cook more often. Cooking more often translates into eating healthier and eating cleaner. If you eat better, you’ll have more energy and you’ll be in a better mood. Even if you cook something super easy like a 10-minute vegetable stir-fry for dinner, it still counts and it’s way better for you than ordering a pizza.
9. Treat yourself. Seriously, find ways to treat yourself. This could be in the form of a ‘maintenance day’ where you get a pedicure and a massage. Or perhaps this is the day you get a facial and treat yourself to a bowl of salted caramel ice cream.
10. Enjoy a bedtime ritual. It may sound elementary, but having a bedtime routine can have dramatic positive effects on your overall well-being. It’s important not to have any screen-time at least one hour before bed, so grab your book, get in bed and read for an hour before you go to sleep. It’s of course also important to take the time to wash your face, brush your teeth, apply your night cream and brush your hair. You may even have a sleep hypnosis podcast that you listen to on a nightly basis to relax and get ready for sleep. Whatever your bedtime routine is, having one is guaranteed to increase the quality of your sleep, and therefore increase your energy in the morning.