If you ask someone what they desire most, chances are, they’ll say something like, “I just want to be happy in life!” But what does being happy actually mean? With so much going on in the world these days, true happiness can feel hard to achieve. The good news is that, even with life’s challenges, happiness is 100% attainable, and reaching a state of optimal well-being may be simpler than you think.
According to positive psychology, there are a few key elements that can help you feel happier in the long-term. If you’re in a rut right now and could use a little change of pace, here are six practical ways to boost your happiness.
- Increase positive emotions
This one may seem like a given, but positive emotions are crucial for your happiness! It’s not about feeling positive all the time, but instead, you want to feel generally hopeful and inspired by the life you live. Positive emotions include gratitude, satisfaction, inspiration, curiosity, hope, or love. Pro tip: positive emotions are more frequent when you practice mindfulness, so try to enjoy the here and now rather than living in the past or stressing about the future.
- Engage in activities you love
Have you ever felt so immersed in something that time and space practically fade into the background? Psychologists believe that this type of engagement, called a flow state (AKA being “in the zone”), is essential for our long-term happiness. Whether you love music, sports, fitness, art-making, or simply having an immersive convo, find an activity that excites and engages you. If you’re in a rut, try getting in the flow and see how it changes your mood!
- Foster healthy relationships
Your social circle has a huge impact on your long-term happiness. Take a moment and audit your circle, from friends and family to peers and coworkers. Who gives you energy, and who drains you? Does your friend group feel exciting or exhausting? If you’re feeling low or unmotivated, having healthy connections to lean on can help you feel less isolated. Psst: in today’s virtual world, you may also want to audit your social media circles. Thank us later.
- Celebrate your accomplishments
According to psychology research, fostering a sense of accomplishment is key for boosting your happiness. Accomplishment isn’t necessarily about winning (although that feels amazing too)! Instead, it’s about feeling genuinely proud of yourself. If you need some inspiration right now, try creating a reverse bucket list. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write down anything and everything that makes you proud. Chances are, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve already achieved!
- Focus on what gives you meaning
If you’re in a rut, now is a great time to evaluate what personally gives you meaning in life. Laughter? Creativity? Volunteering? Spending time with family? When the going gets tough, remember your values and explore personal development tools if you need some guidance and inspiration. By focusing on what’s important, you’re taking an important step toward long-term happiness.
- Take care of your physical health
Happiness doesn’t mean much if your body doesn’t feel good! In addition to the tips above, make sure you’re also practicing healthy eating habits, moving your body, and getting enough sleep on the reg. Over time, you’ll start to feel lighter, more optimistic, and on your way to achieving optimal well-being.
Happiness can seem like an elusive concept, but I promise, it’s often simpler than you think. We can’t always control our external circumstances, but we can nourish our bodies, practice self-care, and take small steps toward a truly happy life. Rest assured, a little goes a long way.