It’s probably safe to say we could all be happier these days. Lots of happiness and mental health experts say that happiness is a choice, not a destination and while that may true in some cases (and a really awful thing to say in a lot of other cases), it’s a choice that requires a lot of work in the current climate and you know what? We’re all too freaking tired.
If you’ve found that happiness used to come to you accidentally but it’s been a while since you felt the pure sunshine of joy, you might need to give it a bit of a kick start.
Here are 7 ways to be happier… without taking up too much of your time or energy.
1. Be generous
Did you know that being generous can make you less anxious? Shut up and take my money. Literally. Here are a few ways you can be generous.
- Really listen when someone is talking
- Take a bag with you when you go for a walk and pick up rubbish
- Smile at everyone
- Write a review for a podcast you love
- Leave a Google review for a local business you love
- Bake for someone and deliver it to their house (a packet mix will do – it’s unlikely they’ll know the difference!)
- Pass on books you love to people you know will love them too
- Give blood/plasma – here’s how to do it in Australia
- Share your mate’s business on social media
- Clear the table when you’re other people’s houses for a meal
- Support social enterprises – here’s a good place to start in Melbourne
We all KNOW how important sleep is but it’s even more complicated than that. There’s research that shows how poor sleep can lead to weight gain, increased levels of stress and it can even shorten your life expectancy. Yikes. As if insomnia isn’t bad enough on its own it’ll also make you die young. Great.
Here are a few blog posts I’ve written that might help you improve your sleep. If you have bona fide insomnia, none of this will help. Sorry, sports fans. If you simply need a kick up the butt to refine your sleep hygiene, these posts are a great place to get started.
3. Be curious
It also just generally makes you a more awesome person. Here are a few ways to be curious.
- Ask questions
- Join and use your local library
- Be open to asking dumb questions
- Check your sources (make sure they’re credible)
- Be interested in everything
- Do things you don’t know how to do
- Be bored
- Be comfortable not finding a black and white answer
- Collect ideas
- Reach out to people you admire
- Talk to strangers (carefully)
- Go for a walk somewhere you’ve never been without a map
- Visit art galleries and museums (if and when you can of course)
4. Buy experiences not stuff
I can definitely feel a shift in the general psyche when it comes to spending money. Most people are downsizing, buying quality over quantity and coveting superior items that will last a lifetime over cheap thrills. Here are few things to save your pennies for… when you may be allowed to do them again.
- Travel (big and small)
- Beautiful meals in fancy restaurants
- Beautiful meals in cheap and cheerful cafes
- Theatre tickets
- Theme park passes
- Tickets to musicals
- Paint/yarn/clay/watercolours – anything you need to feed your creativity
- Admission to lectures
- Concert tickets
- Sports events
- Sunday afternoons spent in country pub beer gardens listening to local bands
- Anything that lights you up inside and creates beautiful memories
Not only does reading strengthen your brain, it improves your memory, makes you more empathetic and it increases your vocabulary. A lot of people struggle to find the time though. Here are a few ways you can fit it in.
- Time yourself – 30 mins per day
- Read things you enjoy – not things you think you should be reading (I forced myself to read War and Peace when I was ten because I thought that’s what obsessive readers did. I barely made it through the first chapter and didn’t read for months after that)
- If you’re not enjoying a book, stop reading it, for real just stop
- Learn how to speed read
- Read in bed at night
- Spend less time on your phone
- Join a book club or reading challenge
- Never leave the house without a book
- Exchange TV for reading
- Schedule your time for reading
- Listen to audiobooks so you can clean/cook/exercise/commute at the same time
- Make reading a part of your routine
6. Choose joy
Obviously this is easier said than done in a lot of cases and if you have a genuine chemical imbalance, none of this stuff is going to help, but you already knew that. If you DO have the option to choose joy, I say give it a red hot go! Here’s how to choose joy.
- Say thank you
- Find beauty in small moments
- Let go of other people’s expectations of you
- Embrace mediocrity
- Embrace imperfection
- Choose to live in the current moment
- Do things that have a good track record of boosting your mood
Exercise not only decreases your risk of premature death and cardiovascular disease it’s also a proven mood booster. But you don’t have to slog it out at the gym 7 days a week with Ripped Ricky (I made him up) to get these benefits. Here are a few ways you can work more movement into your day.
- Garden or mow the lawn
- Pop on your favourite playlist and clean the house
- Go for a walk
- Walk around when you make phone calls
- Go to the pool
- Go for a hike
- Play football or soccer
- Sign up for a fun run
- Do yoga
- Go to the gym
- Play tag
Also, you should totally sign up for my newsletter. I’ve started sending weekly newsletters again and they’re full of useful things and don’t forget Crochet Coach has a free trial offer if you fancy making all your Christmas presents this year.