Happiness is chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. At least, that usually works for me. But when it comes to long-term, daily happiness it can take a little more effort to achieve. We’ve identified five regular habits that will help you become your happiest self. Here they are:
- Exercise: Studies have shown that people who regularly do some kind of physical exercise feel happier than those who don’t. Taking time to focus on your body contributes to good mental health, lowering stress and increasing feelings of self-fulfillment. And the strenuous physical activity that is associated with exercise helps people to release frustration and anger.
- Meditation or Journaling: Meditation is a form of exercise for the mind. It is an age-old practice that involves emptying the mind of rational thought and focusing on stillness and quiet. You might find that journaling is a good form of meditation, as it provides an opportunity for you to free your mind from worries and stress by putting it all down in writing. Or you may choose to keep a gratitude journal that focuses on all of the positive things in your life. Many people who practice meditation or journaling find that it helps them to relax and achieve a feeling of equilibrium.
Click to Tweet: Journaling clears your mind, allowing you to focus on more important things. @JRNL
- Art: Any kind of creative activity promotes feelings of serenity and self-satisfaction. You can do painting, sculpture, music, creative writing (which you could also keep in a journal), or anything else that involves the pursuit of beauty. These activities engage a different part of the brain than people normally use in their daily lives. Whether the result of the artistic activity is appreciated by other people doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have created something with your own hands that satisfies and inspires you.
- Forgiveness: Most people carry around unresolved conflicts and emotional wounds. Embrace forgiveness, either as the person asking to be forgiven or as the one who forgives. Sometimes the person that you might need to forgive is yourself. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Forgiveness is a balm that results in feelings of peace and hopefulness.
- Self-sacrifice: Those who practice self-sacrifice for a positive reason, such as the mother who sacrifices her time and energy in order to care for her baby, report that it contributes to happiness. Remember that your most meaningful relationships depend greatly on putting the needs of the other person above your own. What can you do, or give up, to make life easier for someone you love?
These five techniques have been proven to contribute to personal happiness. Try one or more of these practices and start producing those positive feelings that improve your outlook on life. If you have any additional suggestions, leave it in the comments below.