For most of us, true happiness is a big life goal, right? But how do we achieve this end goal of happiness? How can we be happier? They’re certainly big questions, so we’re here to help!
We’ve combed through the research, asked around the office and reflected on our own happiness-hacks to bring you our top 10 practical and achievable happiness activities. We challenge you to commit to 1 per day for 10 days and get ready for the changes you’ll see in yourself.
10 steps to be happier, it really could be that easy!
Day 1: Giggle at work
It’s no secret that it can be hard to remain focused and productive at work, for a whole host of reasons, ranging from the bearable to the bad. So, we recommend watching a funny video or a quick comedy sketch, or messaging, calling, or meeting with that friend during lunch who always gets you giggling. Laughing will relax your muscles, decrease stress and flood the body with endorphins to improve your mood and your performance on cognitive tasks. Give yourself the break, don’t feel guilty and you’ll be happier and more productive than before!
Day 2: Stop nagging
Of course, you’re just trying to get things done and get some help. But, whether it’s your partner, parents or kids, nagging rarely works well and leaves you feeling angry, defeated, guilty or upset. For one day, replace nagging with handwritten notes, quick texts or wordless hints (such as a subtle lightbulb on the counter for the hubby). You’ve given yourself a break, and if the tasks still aren’t done, you’ve got a different, healthier, less-stressful conversation on your hands.
Day 3: Have a healthy-eating day
Nourish your body with good food and your happiness will benefit, it’s proven science! If you’re struggling with willpower, try and commit to one day of good nutrition and see the difference it makes for your body and mind. For a quick and easy guide to getting started, click here.
Day 4: Find your confidence booster
Most of us have that thing that makes us happy and confident in ourselves. Maybe you’re an excellent cook, great at crosswords, enjoy online shopping, love pub trivia with your friends or revel in watching a great TV show. It could be anything! So whatever it is for you, set some extra time aside to do that thing. It’s a no-brainer, happiness generator!
Day 5: Book a massage
A massage makes you feel better (hello pampering!) both mentally and physically!. Studies have shown that a 45-minute massage triggers a major spike in lymphocytes; the white blood cells that fight bacteria and viruses. Massages also decrease inflammation, soreness and the level of stress hormones in the body. Less stress, less sickness and more relaxation all equal better happiness!
Day 6: Exercise outside
We don’t expect you to go hardcore at the gym for an hour – you might not have the time, the money or the motivation. And that’s okay! Because as little as a 7 minute walk is all it can take to boost energy and endorphin levels. And if you’re outside, the fresh air and natural environment will boost your mood, broaden your thinking and improve memory. Choose today to revitalise and escape the lethargy!
Day 7: Make a happy memory
Every region in our brain can be strengthened through practice. We know the things we know because we trained our brain to know them! So, by experiencing a positive thing, you will strengthen the parts of the brain responsible for remembering them. Create a happy memory and make an effort to savour it and remember it. This will train your brain to generate happiness, reminisce on happiness and actually increase the positive feeling!
Day 8: Plan a holiday
Simply planning a vacation or break from work can improve our happiness. As we experience the joy and sense of anticipation, our endorphin levels are increased by these emotions. If you can’t take the time for a holiday right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar–even if it’s months down the road. Then, whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it. Because having something to look forward to trains our brain to focus on the ‘good’ and builds discipline and tolerance against frustration.
Day 9: Sleep In
You might need to reshuffle this day to fall on a weekend, but sleep does incredible things for your mood, health and happiness. Sleep deprivation impacts the hippocampus; the part of the brain that processes positive memories. As a result, sleep-deprived people struggle to recall pleasant memories as readily as negative ones. Sleep also affects our sensitivity to negative emotions and generally puts us in a worse mood. So make a promise to sleep well tonight and enjoy the difference it makes.
Day 10: Clear the clutter
For most of the population, mess equals stress. This is because clutter directly stimulates our cortisol levels, the body’s stress hormone. It affects how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, our mental productivity and our self-happiness, leaving us feeling anxious, guilty or overwhelmed. It could be a messy bedroom, kitchen cupboard, an overflowing email inbox or a never-ending to-do list. Whatever is most cluttered in your life, clear it out! Find your favourite playlist, cancel all other plans, find some help and get your head in the game. Decluttering will boost your endorphins if you’re moving around, the sense of accomplishment and success will improve your mood and your stress levels and anxiety will be reduced.
If you’re ready to take the next step toward your happiness and your health and fitness goals, try the 12WBT for 7 days FREE today.