When you’re going to school full-time, or working full-time, or managing a household full-time, or trying to do all three FULL-TIME, while still chasing your dreams, it’s hard to be happy. It seems that the feelings that come easiest are stress, fear, anxiety, fatigue, anger…the list goes on.
But, it’s true that happiness helps you to look better, feel better, and to improve your overall health. So, what can you do to get happy NOW?
Here are five easy steps to happiness that will only take you a few minutes to do.
Anytime you feel yourself getting worried, stressed, or fatigued, just return to this list.
I promise, it works.
Stop. Whatever you’re doing, put it on pause. Nothing in this moment is more important than your peace of mind. Nothing in any moment is more important than your peace of mind. So, stop reading those emails, stop working on that presentation, stop cooking dinner (but turn the stove off :), and just press pause on everything. This is especially important to do in situations where you find yourself becoming agitated. It’s better to walk away from a situation and complete the steps below before returning than to blow up at someone, which you’ll later regret.
Breathe. Take 10 deep breaths. Studies show that deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and promotes a state of peace and calmness. Deep breathing can also help you to feel more connected to your body by bringing awareness to it. As you inhale through your nose, imagine breathing in peace and calm. As you exhale through your mouth, imagine breathing out stress, worry, and anger. Be sure to completely empty your lungs on each exhale. It may feel weird at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll find yourself deep breathing with ease.
Smile. In a 2012 study published in the journal of Psychological Science, 170 participants were told to hold chopsticks in their mouths, which made them smile without realizing it, after performing a stressful task. The experiment revealed that subjects who smiled the biggest experienced a reduction in heart rate and quicker stress recovery compared to those that did not smile. So, even if you feel silly, just do it anyway. And don’t fake it. It’s impossible to trick your body, so make sure that your smile is wide and genuine! For an even bigger boost, make it a goal to smile more throughout the day and watch how it helps improve your mood.
Positive Thinking. Think of something or someone you love. This could be your mate, your child, your mom, your bestie, anyone! It could also be something that you love, such as your new electronic gadget, your house, or that handbag you’ve had your eye on. It could also be something that you love doing, such as your Netflix and chill weekend, spending time with family, a nice vacation, a good book, your favorite song, or a nice relaxing hot shower or bath. Just the act of thinking about these things is enough to improve your mood. Research suggests that positive thoughts make you happy, while negative thoughts make you unhappy. So, the simple act of thinking about things that make you happy can make you happy. How awesome is that?!?
Take a minute or two and do what you love. If you’re thinking of someone you love, you could look at a picture of them, send them a text message or call them. When I’m feeling crappy, I look at a picture of my son and it always cheers me up. If you’re thinking of something you love, take the time to appreciate it. Take a drive in your car, go to your favorite room of your house, or play a game on your phone. If there is something that you love doing, then do it. Plan that dream vacation, listen to your favorite song, cuddle up on the sofa and watch your favorite movie, or take a nice, hot shower. If you’re away from home and/or can’t do any of these things at the moment, then schedule some time in your calendar to do them later (and stick to it!). This gives you something nice to look forward to, which can help keep you happy.