14 Tips for Happiness

Yes, I’ve been watching too many TED Talks…

  1. Foster good relationships.

    Relationships are built with everyone you interact with during your day: your family, friends, co-workers, roommates, classmates, heck even the mailman! And every one of these people you interact with, are likely all seeking the same things you are. Happiness, love, money, food, shelter (not listed by priority!). Fostering good relationships with these people isn’t about meeting someone you can trust with your deepest darkest secrets… though that is probably already a good relationship! It’s about making the time to nurture it, and creating positive experiences. If you do this, it will bountifully give back to you what you put in, by creating a naturally happy environment, even if you aren’t happy.

  1. Make a daily routine, and follow it.

    This one is my favourite. I’m a list person, so making spreadsheets and charts and plans and lists… euphoria! But it isn’t always as easy to execute the routine as it is to make it. Hence “and follow it”. Planning your days and weeks creates better flow in your life, and reduced stress. For example, if you schedule 2 hours ever Saturday for grocery shopping, instead of just going every time you need a few things, you save time, money, and peace of mind. Literally. Maybe on Wednesday night you really wanted to spend an hour playing World of Warcraft, but you also needed milk for breakfast in the morning… Weighing your options, maybe you go get the milk, and you miss out on WoW. Making a routing means you have scheduled ‘Free Time’, and you get the best of both worlds. Milk and WoW!

  1. Find your passion.

    Finding what you truly love to do, and managing to do it for a living, makes work less worky and much more enjoyable! If you can’t possibly do it for a living, then let it devour your free time. Doing something you love makes you less stressed, and more positive. And who doesn’t love that?

  1. Live in the present.

    This one is really important. Time goes by faster as you get older, I swear it, even though the clock still ticks the same. You grow up, and then your kids (if you choose/chose such a path) grow up, and they maybe have kids who have kids themselves… the point is, you get older every day. So live for the day. Live for the choices you need to make today. Yes, plan for the future, but don’t dwell on it, because things change. Yes, reflect on your past, but don’t live in it. Don’t let your life pass you by. Living for the day leaves no room for worrying about the future, or regretting your mistakes. Losing both of those things, will make you happier.

  1. Read!

    Reading increases your intelligence, so why not read? Read the newspaper, a magazine, or the new young adult heart-throb novel that just came out in paperback! Or if you’re not in to paper products, I’ve recently come to love an app called Curiosity, which posts 5 mini-articles every day. You become what you study, so why not spend 10 minutes a day reading something that will make you better. No matter what it is, just read!

  1. Set goals.

    Easy! Envision what you want your life to look like in 5 years, and work backwards. Whatever you want your life to look like in 5 years, is your long-term goal. In order to achieve that, you break it into mini goals. The golden number is 20. Make 20 short-term goals that can be accomplished within days, weeks, or months, that when all completed will leave you with a nearly completed long-term goal. Lets say you want to own a house in 5 years. When we break that down what does it look like? Saving money, getting a good credit score, talking to realtors, talking to mortgage brokers, picking a city or town… All these little things are your mini-goals. Schedule them, and work on them one or two at a time, until you achieve your goal!

  1. Venture outside.

    The letter D is more than just a letter. It is also a vitamin! A vitamin your body produces when exposed to the sun, thus absorbing the sun’s rays keeps your bones healthy. More-so, appreciating nature calms the mind. Getting outside for a daily 15 minute walk curbs obesity. During which, deep breathing helps strengthen your lungs. Shall I go on? In this modern age, where we (as a collective) spend a lot of time indoors, online, isolated, or being couch potatoes, we also lose out of the pure bliss of what we call, ‘outside’. Go see for yourself.

  1. Stop comparing yourself to others.

    Society as a whole forces preconceived notions of how we should look and act down our throats, and though it might be hard, we need to close our mouths. We need to accept that we are who we are. Our past choices have shaped us into the people we are today, and we are ALL different. And that is OK. That is more than OK. That is actually exceptional. Because being the same as everyone else would be boring. Embrace what makes you weird. There really is no such thing as normal anyway. So lets all take a moment to appreciate our differences, and be grateful for what we have.

  2. Think positive.

    Learn to recognize when you’re dwelling on negative thoughts, and change the subject! You’ll notice that not focusing so much on the negative, actually allows you to see more good things. Say you’ve been waiting in line at the coffee shop for a long time, and there’s only a couple people left in front of you. Yay, this is positive! Somebody budges in front of you as it is your turn to order. Not so positive thoughts occur… maybe some swear words, maybe you even say some out loud. You go up to the till and order, still mad you had to wait 2 extra minutes when you already waited 10… etc. While you were mad about the extra 120 seconds you stood in line, you didn’t notice that the customer at the till beside you just paid extra for the next person’s coffee, which would have (likely) made you smile. There is hope for humanity yet! Spend less time focusing on things that are not good, and allow good things to come to you.

  1. Practice patience.

    Every day we see a lack of patience, and what it causes. Road rage. Frustration. Yelling at the Starbucks barista because the lineup will make you late for work… Exercising patience will allow you to keep calm (and carry on), and stay more positive throughout your day. An easy step to beginning this practice, is to slow your breathing and count your exhales when you start to feel anxious about something.

  1. Live a healthy lifestyle.

    Exercise daily, eat better foods and drink more water. Not just one of those things. ALL of those things! In combination, they improve the way you not only look, but how you feel too. AND as an added bonus, living a healthier lifestyle increases your self-confidence, helps you lose that pesky 5, 10, 15 pounds, and aids I the ever so difficult task of ‘loving oneself’. After sticking with this one for a while it will become less daunting, and more enjoyable. And don’t forget to enjoy you cheat days (without going overboard binge crazy)!

  1. Be thrifty.

    Be cheap. Be frugal. Be innovative. Do it yourself. Save money. Live within your means. Being thrifty often means you need to go out of your way to do something. And it often allows us more learning experiences, because we do thing differently too. It probably isn’t surprising to hear that we enjoy more, the fruits of our own labor. Spending a hour searching through racks to find the perfect Spring dress for only $4. Release the endorphins! AND, as much as this is a lifestyle choice, it can also be a pastime. Coupon clipping for example, can be a hobby which creates not only joy from using scissors, but also you get to spend a day driving around to different stores, to save money. That equals more time in the car, jamming out to your favourite tunes, and more time out of the house!

  1. Journal or keep a diary.

    This is one to boast about! Ah, journaling, blogging, writing… I’m already happier! Though this may not be for everyone, I strongly urge everyone to try it. Writing in general does many things for the mind, some that you may not even be aware of! It increases intelligence, helps to aid long-term memory, is used for stress relief, allows self-reflection and evaluation or your life, and I’ve personally found that is curbs depression by allowing self expression in a controlled, no-criticism environment. One sentence a day is all you need to start with, or feel free to yell at the page until it bleeds ink. Either way, journaling is a great way to get yourself out of your own head!

  1. Get up early.

    Force yourself out of bed in the morning. Don’t hit snooze. Literally throw your covers off. I know you don’t want to, but trust me it is worth it. Don’t check your phone, or your email. Make yourself a pot of coffee, and dedicate your new morning to YOU. Spend an extra 5 minutes getting your hair just the way you like it. Feel better about yourself. Spend an extra 5 minutes to drink that cold glass of water before breakfast. Kick-start your metabolism. Do something for YOU!

These are in no specific order, and I recommend you do not try to do them all at once. The more you try to accomplish at once, the more likely you are to get overwhelmed and give up. Many small steps equal one big achievement!

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