You can be happier today. Creating happiness is not something that you have to work toward for months or years. Being happy is about bringing positive emotions into your life every day no matter what else is happening. Some days you may be facing more troubles than others, which makes it all the more important to take immediate action to counterbalance your bad feelings.
One of the first studies that positive psychologists conducted when they set out to determine why some people are happier than others discovered that they all shared one common denominator: One of the first things extraordinarily happy people do in the morning is ask themselves what they could do to bring some happiness into their life that day.
Although these were some of the happiest people in the world, researchers found they had the same number of problems as other people. Their happiness had nothing to do with income, job title, spiritual background, or family situations. Nor were their feelings of wellbeing related to the state of their health. What differentiated the happy individuals from the unhappy folks was their commitment to living every day in the most fulfilling and joyful way that they could.
To have a happy life, these folks realized they had to know what would bring them authentic happiness. Then they had to make the daily decision to take some small steps toward realizing those positive outcomes. They had to fight off the inner cynic that was telling them their ideas for becoming happier were nothing but wishful thinking. They’d learned that only thing stopping them from being happier was being pessimistic.
It’s intriguing to read about methods positive psychologists have discovered make most people happier. But you have to take action to turn an interesting idea into a behavior that brings you more love and satisfaction.
Put what you believe will make you feel happier into the forefront of your mind and then fight off your primal fears: “Am I good enough to get what I want?” “Is it really possible for me to have what I’ve always wanted?” The cynical side of you will attempt to sidestep having to face your fears by telling you that all of those feel good ideas are nothing but fluff.
By dismissing any suggestions about what might make you happier, you’ll never have to put yourself on the line to find out whether or not you can bring more positivity into your life. You avoid the anxiety, but guarantee you won’t ever become any happier.
You’ll continue to languish in life, critical of others and pessimistic about the prospects of your level of happiness ever improving. But at least you can use the excuse that the ideas were lame and never would have worked anyhow.
Or you could try a few simple steps right now to see if you could do something to make yourself happier. All you have to lose is sadness, cynicism, self-doubt, isolation, alienation, anxiety and anger. Make yourself happier today by taking one or two of these steps. Don’t overthink it, just pick one that feels right.
1. Refresh your energy. Move about briskly for 30 minutes. Get outside where you can absorb some sunshine. While you’re walking tell yourself to breathe in the serenity that surrounds you and to breathe out the stress that’s inside of you.
2. Clean up your act. Straighten up a small section of your house – your desktop, kitchen counter, or that pile that’s accumulating where you walk in the door. Give yourself kudos when you’re done.
3. Commit a random act of kindness. Do something nice for someone. Find something you could do for your spouse, neighbor, child, parent, or friend. Don’t tell them it was you who did it. You’re not looking for reciprocity; you’re focusing on the good feelings you’ll have about yourself.
4. Do something nice for yourself. Relax for 15 minutes by enjoying a cup of coffee, reading a chapter in a book, listening to music, etc.
5. Find something fun to do. Look online for a nearby hiking trail, or order that summer novel you want to read. Check out concerts and festivals that would be fun to attend.
6. Connect to friends. Call people who typically make you feel good. Tell them that you’ve missed talking to them and would like to get caught up. Make a plan to get together in the near future. Invite them to join you when you go do a fun activity.