Write down things, listen to others, and when all of that fails – go on the playground!

How can we make ourselves happier on a daily basis? Being grateful, unplugging from technology and living in the moment are three immediate ways to achieve this goal. Sometimes we know all the answers, but taking the ideas in our head and transferring them into tangible plans is another matter. If you really want to embrace life as it unfolds, take a look at the list we created of helpful practices. (You can also click on the highlighted links to read more about each of these practices.)

  1. Self-Control

If we make healthy habits an automatic part of our lives, we do not have to exhaust our self-control on a daily basis. Make sure you are adding some of these healthy habits to your daily routine. These will get you set and allow you to focus on forming even healthier habits: 1. Getting plenty of sleep. 2. Going on 20-minute walks. 3. Eating small meals throughout the day. 4. Uncluttering your life. 5. Giving yourself treats on occasion.

  1. Sleep

Sleep expert Michael Breus, Ph.D., believes that sleeping less than seven hours a night can have a really negative impact on your outlook on life. It also makes you crave unhealthy foods and makes you less productive. If you have real problems sleeping, consider going to bed and waking up at the same time each day so you can form a routine. Also remove your television from the bedroom.

  1. Build an Emotional Toolkit

If you are someone who struggles with occasional depression or anxiety, it is time to build up that emotional toolkit. Use self-compassion to give yourself the same type of sympathy, love, understanding and kindness you would show to others in your situation. Stop listening to your inner critic and give yourself some cushioning to land on when things are not going your way. Fill your mind with happy and pleasant thoughts about yourself.

  1. Improve Conversations

Empathy is one of the most powerful emotions we can practice on a daily basis. When you are talking to others, show empathy by asking them questions. If someone talks back to you and is showcasing complex emotions, try to summarize what they said so that they know you were paying attention to their emotional diatribe.

  1. Exercise

Research shows there is a huge connection between our mind and body. Exercise boosts the dopamine levels in your body, which make you feel happier. Find a type of exercise that you really enjoy and work at it every week. Set goals for yourself so that you are always trying to improve – try to get faster, stronger or more durable. Having goals allows you to be engaged with your life, which makes you excited for the future.

  1. Get Happier with your Work

Make sure you are happy at work by brainstorming for new solutions to your work challenges. Have a cup of coffee or tea in the morning and sit down for a few minutes to think about new ideas and solutions to long-lasting problems you are having in your professional life. Sometimes the outcome is right there, you just have to take the time to think of it!

  1. Play

The National Institute for Play shows that if we add some playtime to our daily routine, we will be less stressed, more creative, improve our brain function and have better relationships with other people. Whether it is playing board games, running up and down a hill or doing cartwheels, unleash your inner child every now and then!

  1. Smile

When you smile more, others are more comfortable and happier being around you. Even if you are not at your happiest, smiling at others and getting a smile in return will make you feel better almost instantly.

  1. Win your Battle Against Worry

Erma Bombeck, a famous author, once said “worry is like a rocking chair,” it gives you something to do but it never gets you anywhere.” The President of the American Anxiety and Depression Association, Karen Cassiday, also agrees with this sentiment. She believes that worrying occurs when we are afraid of uncertainty. It is a good idea to keep a journal with all of your worries, so that you can keep them in check. Mediating and relaxing can also help with handling worrying.

  1. Improve your Resilience

People go through horrible ordeals and tragedies all the time, but it is how you respond that defines how you will live the rest of your life. The famous surf champion, Bethany Hamilton, who suffered a shark attack and lost her arm does not view her experiences as a negative. She is resilient and chooses to focus on the positives since her attack. Look for the silver lining in any situation you are facing and attempt to improve your resilience.

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