The other day, someone asked me, "How do you stay so positive and happy?"
With this question in mind, I spent the next two weeks trying to answer it. How was I so positive and happy? Or, how did I come across as so? Over the years, I've come to understand that happiness, like everything else, is fleeting. It is an emotion just like any other. And no one is 100% happy all of the time, even if they're seen smiling in all of their photos. I've had to tell people, again and again, that I'm not always a sweet, bubbly person, but simply a person who knows how to find happiness in many difficult situations.
I wrote down a list of all the ways in which I cultivate happiness and joy as well as incorporated some tips and tricks I learned from my positive psychology course. If you're wanting to invite more happiness into your life, then grab some positive energy tea, and let's dive in!
How to be a happier human
1) Stop the comparison game
I've found that I'm the most unhappy when I'm comparing myself to others. Remind yourself that you are uniquely you, not them. Remind yourself that no one is happy all of the time, and everyone equally endures struggles that you may not always see online.
Maybe try getting off social media more frequently, or when you do find yourself comparing, turn your negative comments into self-compassionate thoughts.
2) Connect to your inner child
Roll around on the floor, dance to a silly song, buy that video game you've been wanting to try out. (I bought Sims3 last night just because I was tired of doing homework.) Look at everything as though it's the first time you're seeing it all. Connect to your inner child, because that inner child is still clearly there. When we take life so seriously, we miss the fun and joy of everything around us.
Connecting to the playful side of us will help boost are mood and cultivate wonder and curiosity.
3) Exercise more
I began my exercise journey in early February, and I've seen such an increase in my overall happiness. I know correlation doesn't equal causation, but when I was at my happiest in high school, I was playing water polo for two hours every morning. And I always feel my best after a long, hard workout and a warm shower.
4) Begin a passion project/Strive for flow
The other night, I wrote a short story for my creative writing class, and when I finished, I didn't know what time it was. A piece of my heart had gone missing, joining the words on the page at some point throughout the night. I felt so peaceful, so full, and knew it was because I hit a state of flow.
Try to find something that gives you that flow, whether it's a passion project or any kind of hobby. When we reach flow, according to positive psychology, we are at a peak state of happiness.
5) Be more optimistic
Optimism, next to gratitude, is the best way to be happier. While the world can be cruel, and we need to be aware of the things that can go wrong, consistently looking for the good in everything can dramatically increase our happiness levels. Rather than worrying about a date on Friday, or an upcoming exam, we can assure ourselves that everything will work out, and carry on. We can work to let go of overthinking and worry, and trust that things will go our way, or at least we will come out okay if it doesn't. This not only boosts our happiness but helps stop us from tumbling into mental rabbit holes that can lead to funks and sour moods.
6) Try out new and interesting things
When we actively try new things or learn new things, or travel to interesting places, we can connect to our curious nature and truly experience life to the fullest. One's happiness levels could be low just because they're bored with the same, old, routines. So, maybe it's time to add something new to the same, old day-to-day!
7) Incorporate mindfulness into your life
Practicing mindfulness helps ground us to the present moment and take things as they are. Oftentimes, we are racing to the finish line, or allowing our thoughts to run wild and scare us or stress us out. So, when we consistently incorporate mindfulness into our day-to-day, we can slow down, and feel appreciative of where we are, now. When we are still, we can also better understand how we're feeling, and what we need to be happier.
8) Practice gratitude
I've been practicing gratitude daily for a few years now. I write down three things I'm grateful for each morning in my bullet journal, or during my morning journaling. This practice helps to remind me of all the good in my life just as the day begins.
9) Reframe your mindset
It's easy to fall into negative spirals and feel bad for ourselves, but it's also easier than we think to take time to reframe our mindset. We reframe our mindset by stopping and catching the negative thought in action, then turning it into something positive. For example, "I am ugly" turns to "I am beautiful in my own, unique ways".
10) Connect to something spiritually
Last night, I was feeling a little low, so this morning, I went through my favorite spiritual practices. I listened to one of my favorite playlists, Love, lit a candle, practiced yoga, journaled, meditated with a citrine stone, then prayed. I moved slowly and allowed the Universe to give me the comfort and love I needed.
I feel most whole and purposeful when I practice spirituality and connect to something larger than me. Maybe take some time to simply pray for happiness, and feel that ever-loving connection.
11) Write or say affirmations daily
I say affirmations daily, my current favorite being: I open myself to the guidance of the Universe.
Sort of like reframing our mindset, affirmations can help us find the positives, and trust that things will work out for us, serving as simple reminders and self-compassion throughout the day.
12) Listen to great music/Create a great playlist
Music fuels me and brightens my mood effortlessly. Each month, I create a new playlist with new songs due to my tendency to quickly grow bored with songs. Also, new music makes me so happy! Make a great playlist full of great music and turn it on whenever you're in need of a quick boost of positive vibes. Check out my September playlist here.
13) Avoid jam-packing your day and create space
When I am busy, I get stressed, and when I get stressed, it's difficult for me to enjoy myself. Recently, I've been working to create more time for myself, such as cutting out time to write this blog post, exercising, and watching some YouTube to wind down. Also, I've been cutting out people who no longer serve me to create more time with the people I love.
14) Look for the comedy in things
There is something funny about the size of the Universe compared to our seemingly important problems, something funny about diet culture and hustle culture and our overall life purpose. Maybe it's just me, but I believe there's something humorous about most things in life, and through humor, we can soften our approach to life and enjoy its strangeness. And I don't know about you, but a good laugh makes me happy.
Keep life interesting, yet fun.
15) Treat yourself
Today, I'm going to get my nails done. I know I don't need to get them done, but I know I'll feel happier when I leave my apartment for the first time in two days and do something nice for myself. After that, I'm going to grab some produce at a cute, Organic grocery store nearby.
I don't recommend spending money to feel good, but I do recommend doing things that make you happy, and that excite you, like going to the movies, or window shopping at the mall.
Take a break, and treat yourself--you deserve it.
I hope this simple post has helped you find ways to implement a bit more joy into your life! Have a wonderful rest of your day.