We live in a time where we’re not only constantly on the go, physically, but also mentally —running around inside our own heads. We are searching and striving for happiness, and while that seems like an easy feat to accomplish, we often find ourselves dumbfounded when we can’t obtain it. So how can we make striving for happiness easier? We need happiness hacks!
Happiness hacks are small and simple actions we can take to help prioritize and bring focus and order to our life, which in turn will bring more peace and happiness. Here is a collection of happiness hacks we can begin implementing today.
Put the Phone Down and Get Off Social Media
Distractions from the outside world can sometimes mess with our heads. Every ding takes us away from what we’re currently immersed in, and every time we linger on social media too long, we fall down the rabbit hole of comparing ourselves to others. We soon find ourselves thinking about all the things we feel like we should be doing. All those shoulds are just nasty little energy and happiness suckers.
Hit the Reset Button
There are times when we feel like the day is going to hell in a handbasket, where we’re in a funk because nothing is going right. Normally, we think to ourselves, “Oh well, tomorrow will be a new day,” and “I’ll have a better attitude tomorrow.” But it’s only 11 in the morning! Do we really want to spend the rest of the day wallowing in misery? What if we re-frame that mentality to think, “It’s a new day…right now!” Why wait until tomorrow to shed our funk when we can have a happier day starting now?
Have a Power Hour
Coined by Happiness Guru, Gretchen Rubin, having a Power Hour helps us tackle things we’ve been putting off, like scheduling a doctor’s appointment, paying a bill, or sewing a button that fell off our favorite shirt a month ago.
In addition to the Power Hour, we can cultivate the 1-Minute Rule (also from Gretchen Rubin). We can challenge ourselves to complete a task as long as it can be done in a minute: clean a dish, wipe down the countertops, carry a basket of toys upstairs, hang up coats, and collect random socks throughout the house. The possibilities are endless.
Smile. Turn Up the Music. Exercise.
All three of these things are proven to kick-start a good mood. Smiling releases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin into our bloodstream, which relaxes our body and works to lower our blood pressure and heart rate.
Combined with the intention of becoming happier, listening to positive music may be an effective way to improve happiness, a study by the Journal of Positive Psychology claims. Exercising is proven to release endorphins, the chemicals in your brain that lift up your mood and spirit, and can promote calm feelings. No time for a full workout? Simply jumping up and down can get our blood pumping — just enough to help us soar into a better mood.
Think of Our Future Selves
Simply thinking, “How do I want to feel in five minutes?” can be enough motivation to do something different in order to change our mood. If the answer to that question is: I’d like to feel energized, then re-read the latter hack. Now, do it.
Think of Something that’s Going Right — Right Now
We’ve all heard about the wonderful benefits of keeping a gratitude journal, but what if actually keeping one is too difficult to implement into our busy schedules? Instead, practice gratitude in the moment. Pausing for several seconds multiple times throughout the day to acknowledge something we’re grateful for can give us a much-needed pick-me-up.
Overwhelmed by dirty dishes in the sink? Think: I am grateful for a working dishwasher. Agitated with the kids for fighting? Think: I am grateful my children have lungs. This exercise of living in the now is a form of meditation. Meditation isn’t about escaping or sleeping, but rather about awakening and being present in the moment.
Schedule Time to Worry
Worrying can mentally block us from being happy. One little worry can consume an entire day (or week or longer). By scheduling a mini-meeting with our worries and anxieties, we’re setting a boundary in our minds. “I’m going to worry about my child’s upcoming doctor’s appointment, but only from 7:00-7:15. After that, I’m done worrying!” Then, move on!
Do Something Nice for Someone Else
The Journal of Social Psychology conducted an experiment and found that “performing acts of kindness…resulted in an increase in life satisfaction.” When we give or do something kind for someone else, the chemical dopamine is released through our body, which signals a type of high. The Dalai Lama was right when he said, “When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”
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