We all want to feel happy, both in ourselves and in our everyday life. But what does this look like to you? Many people might say that their family, home and relationship bring happiness into their lives, and while these are all perfectly fine, the truth is that the secret to living a happier and healthier life starts with you. Anything else is just a bonus.
Here are six simple tips you can follow to feel happier and healthier.
If you love to move your body, you're in luck. Whether it's dancing, jogging, swimming, a sweaty session at the gym or a relaxing yoga class, exercise is excellent for releasing endorphins; the chemicals in the brain that enhance our mood and make us feel happy. Even just half an hour's exercise is worth the effort as studies show it can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
'You are what you eat' as the old saying goes, and every type of food and drink you consume has an effect on the body. Eating a healthy balanced diet filled with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and lean sources of protein such as chicken and fish not only helps you to stay slim, but research indicates that the vitamins and minerals found in these food sources can support a healthy cognitive system. Calcium, chromium, folate, iron, magnesium, omega 3's and B vitamins, to name but a few, play an essential role in releasing serotonin – the happiness hormone, while regulating emotions and balancing mood.
Kind acts don't just make others feel happy, they can make us feel good too. From volunteering for a good cause to giving our time to helping strangers, neighbours, friends, family or colleagues - kindness can help us to connect with people, allowing us to relate more to others.
If you have life goals that you've always wanted to achieve such as writing a book, setting up a profitable business or running a marathon, then making a realistic SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Focused and Time bound) that you practice on a daily basis is the best way to get results. Working towards a life goal can give us purpose, engagement and accomplishment as we focus on achieving it.
Finding time for yourself helps you get in touch with your inner self and find peace. Stress can make us tense, leading to feelings of anger and helplessness. Spending time by yourself, practicing deep breathing exercises or unwinding in meditation (even just 5-10 minutes) can make a difference to your overall wellbeing. It is believed that regular meditation can change the structure of the brain, improving both cognitive and emotional capabilities and promoting positive emotions that also have physical benefits, such as improved immune function.
Being grateful means you appreciate what you already have in life. It's tempting to feel unhappy and jealous of others who may seem to have plenty of great things happening to them. The truth is, we usually have more than we realize and by shifting our perspective on certain issues it can encourage us to be thankful for what we currently have in our lives. In return, it leaves us open to receiving more love, abundance and prosperity in the future.
You can practice gratitude training by writing all the positive things that happened in your day into a diary, smiling more and appreciating the present moment. If this is too difficult, try going a week without complaining and notice how you feel after this time – you may notice you're feeling much happier and want to continue this practice long term.