How to Truly Be Happy and Carefree
For many of us, our lives are stressful and busy. Despite the long hours we spend working each day to try and make the money we think will make us happy, yet we are still stressed about our financial situations. After all these hours spent working in often difficult, unfulfilling jobs, we have no more time or energy to put towards the activities and the people that actually will bring us real happiness.
While you may not be able to make big changes to your lifestyle such as quit your job or move somewhere new, there are small things you can do each day to improve your mindset and help you be happier in your everyday life.
10 Ways to Be Happier Every Day
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
This is a big one, which is why it’s number one on this list: Comparing yourself to others always leads to you feeling badly about yourself. You don’t know the intricacies of other people’s lives, and their situation will never be just the same as yours. It is also useless to compare yourself to someone who is on step five when you are only on step one or two, give yourself a break and remember that you will get there with time and hard work. Instead of comparing, look at their life and try to figure out what lessons you can learn to help you further you on your own path.
Going along with the first on this list, rather than look at someone else and think “They’re so much prettier/smarter/more athletic/wealthier/etc than I am”, give them a compliment. Telling someone else you love their hair, congratulating them on their recent promotion, or other compliments not only makes them feel good, but it will actually help you to feel good, too. When you compliment someone else, you acknowledge their positive attributes, and instead of feeling jealous, you just feel good. It may seem awkward at first, but even if at first you just start by complimenting someone to yourself until you work up the courage to tell it right to them, it will still have a positive effect on yourself.
Write in a Journal
Even just taking five minutes at the end of each day to write down the good things that happened that day, however small, can have an amazing impact on your mental health. You don’t even have to write full sentences if you don’t want to, a list will do just fine. Try writing a list of five things good that happened to you that day and that you are thankful for, along with a list of things you would like to accomplish the next day. You will often be surprised at all the good that happens each day that we don’t notice, and having a plan for the next day will help you sleep better at night.
Learn to say ‘No’
You have a hectic, tiresome life. Whether it’s a busy family or a demanding job, chances are you find very little time to do things for yourself, that you enjoy, and that relax you. It’s okay to say no to that party Friday night to instead stay home, relax, and go to bed early. You don’t have to be part of every PTA group, volunteer at your kids’ school every week, or have your child in every extracurricular activity. It’s also perfectly acceptable to say no when your boss asks you to stay late for the third time that week. Learning to say no will free up you and your family up to spend more time simply relaxing, being together, and even just get some much needed rest at the end of a long week.
Make time to yourself a priority
We schedule out and make time for everything and everyone else in our lives, why not schedule out some time to yourself, as well? This could mean waking up ten minutes earlier each morning for some morning meditation before you start your day, it could mean thirty minutes each day you set aside for reading time or the chance to watch your favourite TV show, or actually putting gym time and exercise, even just an evening walk, into your calendar each day. When that time is specifically blocked off for you, it’s much easier to avoid overloading your schedule, and it will actually remind you to take some you time each day. Relaxing shouldn’t be saved just for vacations!
Take each day one task at a time
As has already been said several times, our lives are busy and there’s just no way around it. We have things we have to do each day, and the amount of work we have to get done, along with family and community obligations, can seem insurmountable. Make a list in order of priority and time sensitivity, take a deep breath, and work your way through the list, one task at a time. Focus on what you’re doing at the time and don’t worry about what needs to be done next. You will be more productive, do better quality work, and eventually you will get to the bottom of the list. If you find yourself fading or losing focus, take a five or ten minute break and then refocus.
Eating well won’t only make your body feel and look good, but it will also make your brain and emotional state better. There is a connection between your gut and your brain, called your enteric nervous system, that directly impacts your mood. When you fill up on junk and processed, sugary, salty foods, you become more irritable, respond poorly to stress, and in general will just be in a worse off mood. Instead, focus on eating whole, natural foods, plenty of vegetables, and drink lots of water. Your body and mind will be better off for it.
Let the little things go
When you learn to focus on the bigger, more important things, and let go of the small stuff, you will be happier and less stressed. Sure, you’d like your son to make his bed every single day, you’d like your house to be spotless all the time, or for your significant other to put the cap back on the toothpaste, but are these things really worth getting stressed and upset over? Chances are, probably not. Don’t let these small aspects of your life build up in your mind and become something bigger than they are. When you let go of the small things weighing down on you, you will be happier and freed up to focus on the parts of your life that truly require your mental and emotional attention.
Let the people you love know it
Too often we only tell the important people in our lives we love, appreciate, and are proud of them on special occasions. Take the time to show your loved ones you care. Flowers on any random Tuesday, giving lots of hugs, send a message when you think of a friend to find out how they’re doing; There are a thousand little ways you can tell and show someone you care. The more love you give, the more you will also receive in return, and doing kind things for others makes you feel good yourself.
Don’t underestimate the power of a smile. You can smile at others, or just to yourself, but the act of smiling will relieve some stress and feel a bit better. So offer up a smile to the cashier at the grocery store, to the cute puppy outside the coffee shop, even just up at the sun on a break at work. Your mood will lift, even if just a little bit.
The Bottom Line
While big things can make us temporarily happy, it’s the little things we face each day that can either bring us up or put us down. If you can start switching your mindset to focusing on your positive attributes, the positive attributes of others, let go of the little things weighing you down, and began sharing that all with the world, you will have a better outlook on life and be more content even on the regular, boring days. Start doing these little things each day and you will become a more positive, happier person.