“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”
When you think about it then you may often think of the future in some way.
The dream vacation coming up, the promotion you are working towards, the baby that is on the way or the sixth date with someone new in your life.
But happiness can also be found in the small things of a regular day.
So today look for it there. Take just a few minutes and apply one of the tips below and see how it brightens your day.
1. One minute of appreciation.
Take a minute, sit down and just reflect on what you appreciate and love about your partner. Or a friend or family member. Or yourself.
This will fill you with gratitude and redirect your focus to the positive side of things.
2. Express your appreciation.
Tell the partner, family member or friend what you came up with. It will brighten his or her day. And as his or her face lights up with a big smile you’ll feel happier too because emotions are contagious.
3. Take 5 minutes to see how you can help someone out.
Offer some practical help, some good advice, look something up for him or her, be encouraging and supportive or just lend a listening ear.
4. Slow down for 3 minutes.
Walk and move slower for just these few minutes. Let your thoughts slow down. Use the 3 minutes to enjoy what is happening all around you.
Truly take it in with all your senses.
There is much simple wonder we miss each day because we are so preoccupied with our thoughts and plans for the future.
After those 3 minutes are up, continue at the slower pace if you like.
5. Be the smile you want to see in your world.
Smile more towards the people you meet and you’ll get more smiles back. You’ll feel better. They will too.
And they will probably smile more towards the other people they meet that day. So don’t wait for other people to smile more, be the smile you want to see in your world instead.
6. Make someone else happy.
Don't stop at just smiles.
- Give someone a big hug.
- Give him or her a small or a bigger gift of some kind.
- Cook their favorite food if they have had a bad day.
7. Start your day with setting a low bar for happiness.
As you open your eyes and wake up to a new day tell yourself:
“Today I will have a low bar for happiness”.
I have been using this one for quite some time now and it makes the regular day happier. I take fewer things for granted – like my food, the weather, the small gestures in my world and the small moments – and often pause to appreciate them more.
And it does not make me passive action-wise.
Instead it makes me feel more inspired, motivated and inner resistance decreases. And so I get more of importance done.
8. Be the day you want to see.
Don’t wait for someone else to create the day you want to have. Instead, get the ball rolling yourself.
Take action and take the first small step or steps forward:
- Arrange an evening down at the pub or a picnic in the spring grass.
- Set up a movie night when the rain is pouring down.
- Take a walk or a run in the early morning to get your energy levels for the day and week up.
9. Say yes to something new.
Something you haven’t eaten before. A new song or album. A new author or movie. A new sport. A new way to work or through your town.
By actively going outside of what is normal for you or your comfort zone you’ll discover new, wonderful things in life quite often.
This will bring happiness into your life and if you develop this habit then in my experience it will be easier to move outside of your comfort zone in bigger ways too.
10. Say no to a should.
The shoulds in life can really drag that happiness and energy down and make everything feel like heavy work.
But do you have to do all of those shoulds on your to-do list? Or are you maybe stuck in a rut and are doing some of those things just out of old habit?
Ask yourself one of my favorite questions: Will this matter in 5 years? Or even 5 weeks?
By zooming out like this you make it easier to see the true value of doing something. To see it for what it really is.
And so your questioning makes it easier to simply relax and to say no to doing something because you realize that it isn’t that important anyway.
11. Take a 2 minute laugh-break.
Few things will so simply bring happiness and relieve stress as laughing. So:
- Revisit one or two of those small video clips that always makes you laugh or smile.
- Head over to your favorite funny comic online or in your bookshelf.
- Listen a bit to a podcast or a stand-up show that you know you find funny.
12. Do what you deep down think is the right thing.
Instead of letting quick and judgmental words come of your mouth be understanding.
Instead of snacking on some candy eat a fruit or drink a glass of water.
When an impulse inside of you wants you do something that you know deep down isn't right for you then pause. Be still for a few moments. The impulse will pass.
And you can more easily choose to take the action you think is right in this situation.
Then appreciate that you did the right thing, give yourself a pat on the back and see how good it all feels. Continue to do this and you’ll help yourself to build a stronger self-esteem.
13. Stand still for a minute, close your eyes and just enjoy the winter sun.
I did it today and it was wonderful. This one may however work best if you have had a rainy autumn and a winter filled with grey skies for the last few months.