“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~ Dalai Lama
With the New Year just around the corner, I thought this would be a great time to share 12 ways you can boost your happiness in 2014–both for yourself and for others.
- Compliment others. Make a point of giving one compliment a day to someone. You’ll be amazed at how wonderful that feels (for both of you!)
- Surprise someone. Cook up a batch of cookies and drop them off at your local post office. At this time of year, postal workers are overloaded and will welcome the sweet (and thoughtful) treat.
- Go outside! A study from The University of Sussex found that being outdoors made people happier. And if you really want to get the most out of the weather, keep an eye on the temperature. According research from The American Meteorological Society, happiness is maximized at 13.9 degrees celcius.
- Get some sleep. Studies have found that having a more positive outlook on life is directly linked to improved sleep quality—so be sure to get enough ZZZZs!
- Practice gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal and write down at least three things you are grateful for every day. Or skip the pen and paper and use a gratitude app. I use Gratitude 365 and I love it!
- Take care of your body. There is a ton of research out there to prove the claim that exercise is tied to happiness. That release of endorphins during physical activity does the trick!
- Pay it forward. At a drive-thru coffee shop pay for the order of the next person in line.
- Stay in touch. Make time for family and friends. Sure, we’re all busy, but some of the top five regrets people have when look back at their life is that they wish they had worked less and stayed in touch with friends. Coincidentally, on that list is this: “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
- Volunteer. Selflessly helping others is a great way to feel good inside—literally! Performing acts of kindness releases serotonin in your brain– which makes us feel more blissful.
- Smile! It’s really difficult to be unhappy when you’re smiling – plus it’s contagious.
- Be in the moment. Make time in the day to stop and breathe. There’s even an app to get you started.
- Recognize! Whether for personal or for business, create a monthly routine where you send out a positive message to a friend weekly or a small gift to one business advocate each month. In your message be specific about why you appreciate their support.
I stumbled across this quote by author Dan Millman recently and thought I think it does a great job of uncovering some of the mystery people have about how to be happy. The fact that happiness doesn’t “find you,” – it’s something you create for yourself through your own actions.
“I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed. I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live – there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.”
Wishing you a very HAPPY and prosperous New Year!