Life can be very stressful at times, so it is essential to inject joy into it as often as possible. We’ve put together some tried and true ways to find happiness even during times of struggle.
Devote time to your hobbies
When you were a child left to your own devices, what activities did you gravitate toward? Chances are good that you still enjoy some of those activities, such as playing a particular sport (and yes, golf counts), reading, gardening, writing, painting, woodworking, etc. It is important to make time each week for the activities you enjoy. After all, you need something to look forward to! If you are extremely busy, you may have to schedule your hobbies into your calendar. Whatever you do, do not wait until you have more time, more money, or are retired. Find ways to incorporate your favorite pastimes into your life TODAY! You will see a big difference immediately.
Take care of your body
It’s no surprise that healthy people are happier. It’s nearly impossible to be happy when we feel sick, anxious, or lack energy. If you’re serious about feeling better, it’s time to tackle your health. There are four basic areas of health: diet, exercise, sleep, and mental wellness. Focus on one area at a time and make one positive change at a time. If you try to make too many changes, such as trying to cut out meat and run three times a week and meditate regularly and get 7 hours of sleep, you are setting yourself up for failure. Focusing on one change at a time is doable, and it allows you to create habits that turn into automatic routines. Healthy lifestyles are created one small step at a time.
Finding gratitude in everyday life can be challenging, but it truly is a game-changer. Make a practice of thinking, praying, or writing about what you are grateful for every day. Look for the small things throughout your day, such as the cool autumn breeze you felt on your walk to work, or that tasty cup of coffee you had, or the driver who let you into her lane. Focusing on what is positive in your life will bring you more joy and, bonus, even more positive things for which to be grateful!
Connect regularly with family and friends
Human beings, by nature, are social creatures who thrive on connection. Staying in regular touch with family and friends, specifically the ones who support and encourage you, is a cheap and easy way to find happiness. Cell phones make it easier than ever to stay in touch, so there really is no excuse. Schedule fun activities with friends, even if you’re not in the mood. If you don’t have friends, try to make acquaintances when you’re practicing #1 above, enjoying your hobbies. Spending too much time alone and in your own head is a recipe for loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Conversely, it’s hard to be sad when you’re surrounded by people who love you.
Chances are good that you blame yourself for some failure, misstep, or mistake you’ve made in the past. You can’t experience joy or happiness if you blame yourself or have negative thoughts about your character or abilities. Wouldn’t you forgive your friends if they made a mistake or endured a failure? Be gentle with yourself, understand that failure is a natural step in learning, and realize that everyone fails on a regular basis. Forgive yourself, and then be proud that you are still here and showing up for your life.
Though the above suggestions are simple and fairly intuitive, putting them into practice requires planning and consistency. This can prove challenging, but investing in your own happiness now will compound into generous rewards throughout your life.
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