It's common knowledge that there's no exact formula for happiness, and once you get there it can't be ticked off forever; working on happiness is like working on your health - a constant, life-long relationship with good habits that contribute to mental wellbeing. Honing habits for happiness doesn't mean you'll never experience down days, but it makes bouncing back from them happen a lot faster, and experiencing them a lot easier. Read on to find out about our top ten habits for happiness, and let us know your personal favourites at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Belly, Happy Brain
Looking after our mental wellbeing starts with a good meal. Whether it's because good food creates a sense of Hygge or because what we eat takes care of our health for us, making sure we're well-fed has a seriously big impact on mental health. Keeping snacks wholesome is a great first step to a happy belly, but indulging in your favourite comfort food from time to time also boosts serotonin levels.
Increase Your Heart-rate
We're all well aware that exercise is good for us, but it's great for our minds too. Whether you prefer a heavy workout or something more light touch, raising your heart-rate releases serotonin and boosts confidence, making lacing up those running shoes a win-win. If exercise really isn't you friend, don't push it. Start small with a five minute jog, a ten minute yoga class, or even just a stroll through the park.
Our brains are often so busy dwelling on what's wrong, that there's no room to remind ourselves of what we do have. Making the conscious decision to list out the things we're grateful for each day; our loved ones, a sunny day, a regular pay-check, or running water really puts things into perspective. It's incredibly easy to take all that we have for granted, and give what's missing far too much thought - so carving out five minutes for gratitude each day can really put a positive spin on things.
Just ten minutes a day can change your life (dramatic, but true). Learning how to meditate takes time and patience, but the rewards are huge and have the potential to completely rewire your brain. If you're a total beginner, you can access guided meditations through a number of apps (Calm, Headspace) or for free via Youtube. Give meditation a go for five minutes before work each day, and see if it makes a difference to your outlook.
Social connection is an easy way to top up your happiness - whether it's picking up the phone for a long-overdue catchup, or asking a shopkeeper how their day is going. Whether or not we think speaking to strangers is awkward, multiple studies have found that even the smallest social interactions leave people happier than those who keep to themselves.
We're all addicted to our devices, so switching them off for an hour a day gives our brains time to rest from the information that's constantly being throw at them. If you're feeling particularly mindful, try deleting your social apps - or if that's too big a step, switch off your notifications so you can concentrate on what's right in front of you.
Nature puts us all in a better mood; getting outside and hearing birdsong, seeing flowers in bloom, and smelling the sweet scent of fresh air lifts a bad mood instantly. If you can't get outside or don't live near a green space, invest in some houseplants, and make plans to leave the city on the weekends.
A tidy space creates a tidy mind. Keeping your surroundings clean and tidy often leaves you feeling much calmer inside, and also removes the possibility of procrastination and distractions. The more we focus on what we want to, rather than on the mess around us, the more centred we feel.
Whether it's a toxic relationship, a job we don't enjoy, or a project that doesn't bring us the happiness it used to, being real with ourselves and drawing a line underneath the things that drain our energy can be freeing. Letting go is a liberating action, and ridding ourselves of unhealthy attachments leaves more brain space for good things to come.
Accept Bad Days
We're never gonna have it all every day of the week - but just like great days come and go, so do the bad. Rather than struggling against your mood when you feel low, invite it in, sit with it, and accept that it's a passing stranger who'll be replaced by brighter days very soon.
There are hundreds of habits to incorporate into our daily routines that will make us more content, happier, and calmer. We'd love to know about your favourites, so why not email us at email@example.com to share your thoughts?