We all want to be happy. No matter what we’re currently working on or striving toward, it is–by and large–our ultimate goal. Whether that means building a business, cultivating a meaningful relationship, or watching a movie coupled with a glass of wine, we’re all engaged in trying to fuel our happiness.
While happiness looks different for every person, it’s only through searching that we find what works best for us. To help you get started on your journey, here are 15 ways to become a happier person:
1. Make Your Body Happy
Eat real food. Move throughout the day, even if that just means standing up from your computer once an hour. Invest in a good mattress and commit yourself to practicing the sleep hygiene needed for a good night’s rest.
If you make your body happy, it will make you happy. If you have a terrible diet, clean it up and start eating right. If you never exercise, commit to taking a quick walk once a day. After a few weeks, you’ll see a difference in the way you think and feel.
2. Stop Overthinking It
Business owners consistently spend too much time wondering “what if” and feeling like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. But if you take the time to stop and put things in perspective, you’ll find that these hypotheticals don’t really matter that much. Inaction due to analysis paralysis is far worse than an imperfect forward action.
Take the time to let your worries go, make an educated decision, and move forward. You’ll be much happier as a result.
3. Record Your Wins Each Day
Every day, you do something successfully–even if that something is as simple as following up on an email. Write it down. By celebrating your wins at the end of each day, you’ll feel better about your work and personal life. It will also help you see your progress, instead of focusing only on the end goal.
Remember, your destination is only part of the battle. The journey you take to get there is just as important.
4. Say Cheese!
Smile, even if you don’t feel like it. Smiling causes the brain to release serotonin, helping to elevate your mood. Watch a funny movie or call up a friend who always makes you laugh. If all else fails, just fake it. Some studies suggest that the act of smiling alone can help you feel happier.
5. Learn New Skills
Making progress by learning new skills is a great way to improve your “flow” state, which triggers happiness. In addition, new skills make you even more valuable to your company and colleagues.
If you want to spend your time working on a business skill, that’s great. If you’re a programmer, learning a new language can improve your job prospects and give you more satisfaction from your work. But the skills you focus on don’t have to be job-related. Engaging in a new hobby or reading a nonfiction book on a subject that interests you can be just as powerful.
6. Help Other Business Leaders
As a business leader, you have an opportunity to help others with your expertise. Take some time and become a mentor or even a sounding board for another businessperson. I’m a part of Clarity.fm for this reason, but you don’t need a formal arrangement to help somebody else.
Just don’t think of mentorship as a one-way street. Working with new business owners and consultants gives you the chance to refine your process, in addition to keeping your enthusiasm up. Both parties win when you make it a priority to give back.
7. Create a Gratitude List
It may not seem like it when you’re in the weeds of a new business launch or a major project, but you have so much to be thankful for. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to lose sight of that from time to time. When you find yourself in this position, make a list of everything you have going right–no matter how small.
SoulPancake has a great video that expands this idea on the basis of this study.
8. Get a Plan
Create fun things to look forward to and you’ll never feel unhappy again. When’s your next day trip, concert, or sporting event with friends on your calendar? If you don’t have something planned, set it up now to give yourself something exciting on the horizon.
9. Surround Yourself With Supporters and Mentors
Jim Rohn suggested, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Take a look at those people in your life. Are they positive, inspiring people who encourage you to live your best life? Or are they Debbie Downers who suck the joy out of even the happiest of times?
Having the right people around you in your work and personal life can make a world of difference in your mood and your overall productivity. Find the people who will believe in you even when you don’t.
10. Find a Furry Friend
Did you know pets help relieve depression? If your business commitments allow it, get a loyal best friend with four paws and enjoy the relaxation you gain from your bond. If they don’t, volunteer at a local animal shelter once a month for a dose of puppy love.
11. Look for the Good
There’s no way around it–dealing with people can be a real downer sometimes. But not all people are bad. In fact, most of them are genuine and mean well, just like you and me. Focus on looking for the good in others and you’ll feel happier as you begin to see it.
12. Turn It Off
What would the media be without its constant stream of warnings? Today’s fear-driven news cycle means that the ratio of good news to bad news on TV and radio is heavily weighted toward the bad. We’re better informed than ever before in history, but this comes at the cost of being constantly exposed to manufactured negativity.
Turn the TV off to cut down on negative influences, and live without the daily talk monitoring everything that’s gone wrong in the past 24 hours. You’ll feel better instantly.
13. Have a Habit of Disengagement
No one can be connected to work all day and all night and still be happy. In fact, it’s a fast track to complete burnout. Create a habit of disengaging in the evenings, and you’ll find your life much more balanced and happy.
Bad things happen. Sometimes it’s intentional, but many times it’s not. Learn to forgive quickly and move on. It takes practice, but I’ve yet to hear of a person regretting forgiving someone. Get rid of your vengeful thoughts, and replace them with plans for moving forward.
15. Be Proactive
Genetic factors do play a role in your innate baseline for happiness, but your fate of being an Eeyore or a Tigger isn’t based solely on what your mom and dad gave you. According to recent studies, about 40 percent of your happiness is ultimately up to you and the way you choose to think and approach things. So don’t just read these tips; go out and make yourself happy!