Everyone wants to be happy. Even animals are instinctively driven toward comfort and away from discomfort. Of course, you want to be happy, but what if being happy is simpler than you think?
There are many simple and easy things you can do each day that will increase the odds of feeling happy. You’ll enjoy doing them! They’re self-rewarding behaviors.
Take control of your happiness with these ideas:
1. Think happy thoughts. Your thoughts lead your emotions. If you think about something stressful, you’ll feel stressed. Think about something that makes you happy and you’ll feel happier. What are your happiest memories? There’s no harm in spending a few minutes thinking some happy thoughts!
2. Be grateful. It only takes a moment to think of the good things in your life. You probably have food to eat, a friend or two, or a place to sleep that’s out of the rain. In fact, you probably have more than that. Remind yourself of the good things you have instead of focusing on the things you lack.
3. Be optimistic. An optimistic perspective produces a happier mood than a pessimistic perspective. It’s important to be realistic, too. Foolish optimism might feel good in the moment, but the pain is on its way. Have a hopeful, but reasonable, outlook on life.
4. Forgive quickly. It’s very challenging to be happy when you’re holding a grudge. Forgive quickly and easily if you want to be happier. That doesn’t mean you have to give the other person another chance. Forgiving someone doesn’t have to include the possibility of a repeat performance.
5. Make progress. Studies have shown that one of the most powerful ways to increase happiness is to make progress toward a goal. It could be doing one extra push up, learning a new word in Italian, losing a pound, or learning a new scale on the piano. It doesn’t take a lot of progress to feel good.
6. Spend time with others. Back in the day, it was hard to find time to spend by yourself, but we’re more isolated these days. We chat with people online, text, and spend a lot of time alone. It’s important to have a meaningful face-to-face conversation once in a while.