Note: I am not a psychiatrist nor do I play one on t.v. so please remember that my advice is just advice and should be followed at your discretion. If your feelings of sadness go beyond just a funk and at all resemble depression, please seek out professional help.
No one is happy 100% of the time. And really, it’s delusional to expect yourself to be because sometimes life just SUCKS. There are and forever will be obstacles, thoughts, and feelings that get in the way of our happiness. But, that doesn’t mean we should declare defeat and never allow ourselves to experience happiness again. Here are 11 ways to be happier when life kind of sucks.
1. Try not to sweat the small stuff.
It’s important to recognize whether what you’re stressing over is actually worth stressing over. Should you really give that much power to that annoying sticky note your coworker left you at work? Probably not. When you find yourself getting upset over something trivial, take a deep breath and allow yourself to see the situation differently. You can feel angry over that note and give it the power to dictate your day or you can read it, shrug it off, and go about your day. Be conscious of your reactions to daily occurrences. Don’t let anger be your go-to emotional response to every little inconvenience.
2. Don’t rely on one source of happiness.
While it’s great that many of us find happiness through partners and our careers, we should never allow just one aspect of our life to be our primary source of happiness. Relying on one source of happiness isn’t just limiting, it’s risky. What happens if you and your partner break up or your job becomes what you hate the most? You become devastated, lost, and uncertain where to generate your happiness from. It’s important to have multiple sources of happiness, so you can create happiness from one stream if another stream happens to dry out.
3. Retrain your thoughts.
It may sound simple or insignificant, but changing your negative thinking to positive thoughts is a challenge that can make a world of difference. The best way to do this is to acknowledge and practice the power of positive affirmations. I’m not saying you have to share every inspirational quote you come across on Facebook, but positive thinking truly holds more power than most of us believe.
Negative thoughts sometimes become so frequent that they almost occur instinctively. And while there may not be a way to prevent them from occurring, we can at least change them into something positive after they’ve occurred.
Personally, I believe the law of attraction is a real thing. But, if you’re a skeptic, at least hear me out and accept that it’s worth looking into. If you’re constantly spouting negativity, negativity is what you’ll receive in return. You can’t expect to attract your dream job or dream partner when you’re trapped in an unproductive and toxic mindset.
4. Work towards something.
Setting and achieving goals can make you happier. Goals give us a sense of purpose and direction. Without them, we often have trouble finding reasons to keep going. When you have a goal in mind, your motivation is heightened and you’re that much closer to feeling that rush of dopamine from accomplishment. Though the happiness of accomplishing a goal may be short-lived, you will at least have the satisfaction of progress and knowing you succeeded and can succeed again.
This one is a bit difficult for most of us considering it’s easier to envision all the things we could have rather than take the time to appreciate what we already do. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting more for yourself, taking the time to appreciate your life now encourages positive feelings. And if you were paying attention to what I said before, positivity is powerful. That’s not to say that you’re required to be happy about every aspect of your life, but be mindful of what you do have to be happy about. Maybe your job is awful, but it helped you pay off your incredibly awesome and reliable car. Maybe your love life is nonexistent, but being single has given you the free time to focus more on your health and fitness. If you look deep enough, there’s almost always a bright side to everything.
6. Find an outlet for your angsty energy.
Feelings of anxiety, anger, and negativity are unavoidable but letting them consume you solves nothing and just causes these negative feelings to multiple. Instead, find an outlet for your negative energy. For instance, writing this post is therapeutic to me. Painting, drawing, writing, coloring, journaling, and exercising are just a few ways to relieve the stress from unwanted thoughts and feelings.These activities may not rid yourself of negativity entirely, but it will at least give you a healthy coping method and encourage you to focus on something positive.
7. Make time for laughter every day.
I think it’s pretty self-explanatory why laughter makes you happier. After all, it’s said to be the best medicine. However, in the chaos of everyday life, some of us forget to take the time to laugh. We’re so on edge that we lose touch with our sense of humor. You can make time for laughter each day by sitting down to watch your favorite sitcom, watching Youtube videos or a funny movie, spending time with family or friends, or even playing with your pet. There are many ways to add laughter to your life, so don’t forget to take time out of each day for it!
8. Make time for the things you love.
I know this is something we hear all the time, but it couldn’t be more true. You MUST make time to do the things you love. I know adult responsibilities can result in having less time and energy to do the things you enjoy, but manage to make time for it anyways. Even if that means staying up a little later than normal and being tired for work the next day. Do it anyways! Going to work more tired than normal isn’t the worst thing in the world. (Unless you’re a brain surgeon or something, then ignore this point entirely).You either have to make time for the things you love or learn to love the things you hate. And I don’t know about you, but the former sounds a lot easier and enjoyable than the latter.
9. Do something nice for yourself.
Don’t go too crazy or anything, but oftentimes a great boost of happiness can come from treating yourself in some way. This could be as simple as getting a manicure or as extravagant as changing up your whole look. Outside of materialistic things, you can also do something nice for yourself by making wise and healthy choices such as joining a gym, cutting that toxic person out of your life,and complimenting yourself. There are plenty of ways to be nice to yourself, so be sure to treat yourself kindly in a multitude of ways!
10. Do something nice for someone else.
You ever notice how Ellen DeGeneres seems to be one of the happiest humans on the planet? Sure, that could be because she has a great life and a super successful career, but I also think her happiness is partially from all of the kind things she does for others. It’s scientifically proven that doing something nice for someone isn’t only great for them, it’s great for you too. Doing something nice for someone evokes those warm and fuzzy happy feelings. So, go ahead and make it your mission to practice acts of kindness each day. Chances are when you’re making someone’s day, their happiness will end up making yours too.
11. Stop comparing yourself to others.
In today’s world, it’s easy to compare yourself to someone else. Pictures of models in magazines are no longer our only competition, we’re now in competition with each other. We’re tricked into believing that our popularity is ranked on how many Facebook friends we have, our attractiveness is based on how many likes our photos get, and our success is measured by how large we’re living life on social media.
But, regardless of how great someone else’s life appears, don’t delude yourself into believing that your life pales in comparison. Their reality isn’t your reality and their reality probably isn’t even their reality. People only show what they want others to see. We all go through good times, bad times, and mediocre times. None of our lives are perfect. So, just stop comparing your life to someone else’s. Like the wise Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”.
So, there you have it. These are the 11 behaviors I’m introducing into my life to be happier. What are your favorite ways to create happiness in your life? Share in the comments below!