Life can feel frustrating. Maddening. Insanity-inducing, even. At times, happiness and contentment may seem achievable only in your wildest dreams.
But the best part about being human is the capacity for self-empowerment. You have the ability to change your state of mind and in turn, your entire experience.
In other words, there are ALWAYS options. You’re not stuck or helpless or at the mercy of mercurial forces beyond your control. Fantastic news, right?
As it turns out, the smallest of changes can add up to the biggest of transformations. So, if you want to get happier, here are 50 habits to start implementing, like, yesterday.
1. Slow down.
2. Be mindful. Life happens now. This moment is all you’ve got.
3. Create a ritual. Have tea every afternoon. Write a gratitude list every morning. Walk around your neighborhood every evening. You can make a ritual out of anything — just perform the activity deliberately and mindfully.
4. Exercise. Every day. Walk. Run. Skip. Swim. Play four square. Whatever.
5. Make friends with Mother Nature. She’s got a lot to teach you.
6. Challenge yourself. Growth comes when you push your limits.
7. Keep an open mind. Open minds are happy minds.
8. Eat with relish. Love your food. Don’t eat on the run or mindlessly.
9. Smile. A lot.
10. Laugh. A lot. Real, authentic laughter.
11. Drink water. As much as you can stomach.
12. Soak up the vitamin D. Sunshine cures many ills.
13. Be afraid. And do it anyway. Fear is the gateway to a stronger you.
14. Sleep well. Make a good night’s sleep a daily priority.
15. Disconnect from technology. Turn that iPhone off from time to time.
16. Touch other people. With their permission, of course. Touch is hugely important for healing and mental health.
17. Cut back on caffeine. It’s still a drug, even in delicious liquid form.
18. Consume happy media. Skip the news — watch positive, life-affirming stuff instead.
19. Talk to strangers. You never know who you might meet.
20. Be kind. Extend kindness as often as possible. Random acts are good.
21. Eat plants. Food that comes out of the earth is better for body, mind and spirit.
22. Cultivate compassion. For yourself and all other living things.
23. Leave your comfort zone behind. Discomfort is a sign of growth.
24. Identify your destructive thoughts. Then, write a positive script to fight back.
25. Drink less booze. You’ll feel better.
26. Play. It’s not just for kids — playtime is beneficial for grown-up brains, too.
27. Use affirmations. Pick some that resonate with you, and recite them religiously.
28. Get minimal. With less junk in your life, there’s more room for what’s important.
29. Listen. When you talk to people, give them your full attention. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak.
30. Make positive friends. It’s hard to be happy if you’re surrounded by negative Nancys.
31. Give back. Countless good causes could use your talents.
32. Listen to upbeat tunes. Music has power.
33. Embrace a spiritual connection. While this is certainly optional, feeling connected to something greater than yourself can make a world of difference in your life.
34. Do something unfamiliar. Explore a sport, activity or subject you’ve never been particularly interested in. You never know what you might discover.
35. Visualize. See yourself with all that you desire, and you’re on your way.
36. Give hugs. Hugs are so underrated. Dole ’em out generously.
37. Work to live. Not the other way around.
38. Look for opportunities. When we get stuck in our regular routines, we’re often blind to new possibilities. Open your eyes, ears and heart.
39. Train your brain. Your mind needs to be challenged to maintain its top form. Try crossword puzzles, brain games or memory quizzes.
40. Climb a tree. Trust me. Best thing ever.
41. Do things you love. If you don’t know what you love, start exploring.
42. Get a pet. Animals can lower your blood pressure, reduce stress and add to your life in innumerable other ways. Plus, who couldn’t use a little unconditional love?
43. Travel. New places and faces expand your awareness.
44. Do nothing. Call it mental health time.
45. Meditation comes in countless variations. Pick one. Even five minutes a day makes a difference.
47. Take risks.
48. Let go gracefully. All things have their time.
49. Love yourself. It’s not as easy as it sounds, obviously. But work at it, and the warm fuzzies will come.
50. Appreciate everything. You have so many gifts, acknowledging them is the best way to feel fabulous about your life.
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