10 Simple Ways to Feel Happier Right Now
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Happiness is the holy grail of life purposes, right? It’s that one thing we all strive for and leave no stone unturned until we finally have it in our hands. And I think we can all agree that the search for happiness is not a sprint, but a long marathon that actually never ends (and that’s a good thing – there are so many things in this beautiful world of ours to be happy about that we need a lifetime to really run out of reasons).
But sometimes, we all need a little jolt of endorphins (you know – the happy hormones), am I right? Just a little healthy pick-me-ups for those moment when our lives feel gloomier than they actually are. Truth is, we need those moments, as they often shine the light of perspective and let us appreciate all the good things that we have going for us…but that’s in the long run. Usually, when I’m sad, I’m not in a very perspectivy (ha, what a cute word I invented!) mood and I’m no fun to be around – even I don’t like my company in these moments. But, luckily, this, as most other things, can be changed pretty easily – if you want to change it.
So in case you feel a little down in the dumps today, try some of my suggestions and let me know if and how they worked out for you.
1. Say “thank you”
This is something with the potential to change your life! If you’re not in the habit of feeling thankful for everything good that you have in your life, now’s the time to start. Think of 5 things that you feel thankful for; it can be a big thing – like your awesome family, or something small – like that nail polish you found in just the perfect shade of pink. If you are in the habit of journaling and even more so if you’re not in the habit of journaling you can grab yourself a gratitude journal and start a truly life changing experiment. This Good Days Start With Gratitude journal is the perfect first step to journaling at all and it is designed to focus on being thankful for what we have, the big things in life, as well as the simple joys. Each weekly spread contains an inspirational quote, space to write 3 things you are thankful for each day of the week, and a weekly checkpoint. Everyone has something to be thankful for, no matter how bad you feel right now – you opened your eyes this morning, you are breathing, the world still stands, there’s music and art, and beauty around you. Just close your eyes and think (even better, write down) 5 things you are thankful for and let the gratitude sink deep in your heart. This will boost your positivity and will definitely shine some happy light on your day.
2. Take a cold shower
I know that this sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. There’s been a research showing that taking cold showers immediately increases the blood levels of endorphins, which help alleviate pain and trigger an overall positive feeling. The research also states that “a cold shower is expected to send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect”. So if you’re feeling like you need a jolt of happy hormones, hop into the shower and release that cold water on you – it will shock you right back into happiness. And yes, waterfalls count as cold showers, but if you don’t have one at your immediate disposal you should try this stainless steel rainfall shower head – it’s super easy to install and if you close your eyes, you’ll feel like you’re under a tropical waterfall….almost 😉
3. Take a walk
When’s the last time that you really took a walk? In our busy lives we are always rushing to somewhere, our minds preoccupied with a heavy to-do list. So why don’t you try a change in pace for once. Allow yourself a half an hour walk – no rushing, no tasks, no goals. Just relax and take in the view, try to really see what’s around you – the people, the shops, the architecture. There’s beauty everywhere and so many interesting things that we usually just don’t notice cause we have our eyes on the end line. Plus, even at a moderate pace, walking is a great exercise that can also release some more endorphins in our bloodstream and make us feel happier and more relaxed. If aimless walking feels too strange for you at first, try putting on some music like this Hygge – Cosy & Relaxed playlist and just see where your feet’ll take you 🙂
4. Take An Action Towards A Goal
That’s a big one for me. I am a master procrastinator and am so used to that nagging, tense feeling in my chest that I almost feel strange in the few moments that I am not procrastinating. But strange is good!
The most common reason for procrastinating is that we feel overwhelmed by what we have to accomplish. So we don’t start at all. And that is a sure way of achieving nothing but increasing our stress levels. Luckily, there’s a simple cure for that, that can make you feel so much better in a very short time. Here it is – break down the task that’s bugging you in tiny tiny smaller tasks and do at least one of them. I promise, you will feel so much better, because – first, you will have a game plan on what exactly you have to do to finish it all and second -you will be filled with a sense of accomplishment because you will have actually done something useful! That’s happiness in my book!
5. Do something good for someone else
Wait, weren’t we supposed to increase our personal happiness levels? Yes, we’re doing exactly this. In one of her researches, Dr. Carolyn Schwartz has found that those who helped others were significantly happier and less depressed than those who didn’t. Another research shows that choosing to donate also activated the brain’s subgenual area, the part of the brain that produces happy chemicals, like oxytocin. And why is that? According to Darwin’s theory, helping others is seen as beneficial to the group and as such – it is key to its survival and thriving. And in order to sustain this behavior, the evolution made it feel oh so good. So next time you’re pondering on helping that old woman cross the street or on donating to a dog rescue center – ponder no more, cause helping others and giving to charity will actually benefit you instantaneously, not mentioning that it will give you a karma boost as well 😉
6. Call an old friend
We all have that old friend that we were so close with, but kinda lost touch through the years. I actually have more than one of those and feel sad thinking I’ve let so many friendship slip through my fingertips. But as this is an article about happiness, I’ll tell you how I actually made myself feel a ton happier with a single action.
One weekend, I dug my old phonebook and found the number of my best friend in high school. It was a long shot, cause this was her home number around 15 years ago, but I gave it a try and, what do you know, she answered the phone. It was a surprise for both of us to hear each other’s voices, but it felt so good to talk to her again.
So if you have someone that was once dear to you, give it a chance and call. Odds are you will feel so happy afterwards that it will last you for days.
7. Listen to some music
There’ve been so many researches on happiness! According to one of them, listening to music that appeals to us, causes the brain to release dopamine – that’s another one of the feel-good chemicals in our bodies. So this one is a no-brainer – just go to iTunes (or another awesome music provider of your choice), put on a Feeling Good playlist and knock yourself off.
8. Plan a fun experience
Think of something that you’ve been wanting to do for a while – maybe go to a concert, or a trip, or a festival, or join a course of some sort – it can be anything as long as thinking of it makes you feel all tingly and giddy. Than start planning how you’re going to make it happen. The anticipation of the event and of all the fun you’re going to have on it will pull you right out of your funk, I promise. The reason is that by planning and thinking about how cool it’s going to be, you actually let your brain “experience” it over and over again. How neat is this! And if you’re looking for a great planner to be your trusted companion in planning your fun experience, you should definitely check out Panda Planner. Besides your regular sections, it has explicit room for tracking a passion project in its weekly tracking sections, which is just perfect for planning your fun experience.
9. Soak in some sunshine
Ever noticed how people tend to be happier, more joyful and light spirited in the summer? Well, that’s because of the long hours of sunshine we get during these months. Sunshine is known to increase the levels of serotonin (yep, again that’s a feel-good hormone) and exposure to it makes even clinically depressed people feel better. Sunshine is also the key factor in producing vitamin D, which is essential for the functioning of the whole body as every tissue in the body has vitamin D receptors, including the brain, heart, muscles, and immune system. So when you’re feeling a bit sad, try going outside and let your skin soak up a bit of sunshine – even 10-20 minutes will make you feel much better.
10. Eat some fresh fruits
There’s been a study (look how scientific I am today, ha!) showing that eating fresh fruits and vegetables have a significant effect on your mood. There’s no doubt that having them in your daily diet is a benefit for your overall health, but did you know that your happiness increases with each portion of fruit you eat during the day – up to 8 servings! How amazing is that! I’ll be stocking my fridge with strawberries and cherries first thing tomorrow! What’s your favorite fruit?
What do you think about these ideas? Have you tried any of them? Let me know how it worked for you and share your own happiness making secrets down in the comments 🙂