I just love this post from Zen Habits. It outlines a few things you can do each day that will increase the happiness in your life. And none of them are hard or take up much time.
Try doing these on a daily basis:
List 3 Good Things. Tell someone or write down 3 good things that happened to you today. Focus on what you’re grateful for. This can create a mental habit of gratitude that you can use other times in your day (like when you’re focused on the things you don’t like or have). When you feel this, think about something you do have, that you love. Find a way to be grateful, and you’re happier.
- Help Someone. When we focus on ourselves, and the woeful state of our lives, we are self-centered. This shrinks the world to one little place with one little unhappy person. But what if we can expand that worldview, and expand our heart to include at least one other person? Maybe even a few others? Then we see that others are suffering too, even if that just means they’re stressed out. Then we can reach out, and do something to reduce their stress, put a smile on their face, make their lives easier. Help at least one person each day, and you’ll find your entire perspective shifted.
- Meditate. Meditate for just 2 minutes a day, and you’ll create a habit that will allow you to notice your thoughts throughout the rest of the day, that will help you to be more present (unhappiness comes from not being present), that will help you notice the source of anxiety and distraction. That’s a lot that can be accomplished in 2 minutes! Sit every morning when you wake, and just notice your body, and then your breath. Notice when your mind wanders, and gently return to your breath. You become the watcher of your mind, and you’ll learn some useful things, I promise.
- Exercise. Everyone knows you should exercise, so I’m not going to belabor this point. But it really does make you happier, both in the moment of exercise (I’m exerting myself, I’m alive!) and throughout the rest of the day. Exercise lightly, if you’re not in the habit yet, and just for a few minutes a day to start out. Who doesn’t have a few minutes a day? If you don’t, you need to loosen up your schedule a bit.
There are a number of other habits that also help: mindful eating, drinking tea, doing yoga, socializing with others.
How do you form these habits? One at a time, starting as small as possible, with some social accountability. Set these habits in motion. You’ll notice yourself becoming more present, more grateful, more other-focused. The shift that results is nothing short of a miracle.
Read the entire post here from Zen Habits