The pursuit of happiness is not my main goal in life, but it DOES make it easier to pursue the meaningful things in life when I’m feeling happy. Here are some very simple, quick ways to increase your happiness today and throughout the year.
Hugs are amazing! They do all kinds of good stuff for our bodies, including relieving stress and lowering blood pressure. Hugging also gives you a big boost of oxytocin, and may even help prevent illnesses. For you to get these awesome benefits, hugs should last 20 seconds though. So get to hugging!
Write down the good stuff.
One of the most powerful and easy ways to increase happiness is to make a list of three good things every day. Some people call it a gratitude list, but it can also be thought of in broader terms. For maximum impact, you should think of a good thing that happened during your day and why it happened when possible; like you got to sleep in longer than usual because your partner woke up early with the kids. It only takes a few minutes to do, but studies have shown that people who have done this daily for even just a week have lower levels of depression one, three, and SIX months later!
Do something nice for someone.
This could be as simple or as complex as you would like. You could email a friend a thoughtful note, pop a surprise into the mail for someone, text a compliment to a friend, hide a kind note for your partner, let someone go in front of you at the grocery store, or donate to a charity. There are so many easy ways to do something nice for others, and the boost that you get from it makes it more likely for you to choose to do another good deed. What a lovely cycle!
Everyone loves a good laugh and for good reason, we get tons of physiological benefits from laughter both short and long term. If you are feeling stressed or sad, seek out something that always makes you laugh. I can pull up some autocorrect mistakes and be in tears from laughter within minutes! Know what makes you laugh and seek it out regularly.
Make time for friends.
Motherhood is a busy time and spending time with friends can sometimes get pushed way down on the To Do list, but don’t let that happen! Social interaction feeds our happiness meters, and contributes to a host of other benefits, like improving our health and helping us to live longer. Even with busy schedules and lives that seem to be running in opposite directions, you can still carve out some friend time if you are willing to be intentional and make an effort. It is a brand new year and you probably have a brand new planner waiting to be filled, so pencil in some friend time for yourself. Your family will reap the benefits of having a mom who is happier, more relaxed, and maybe even a little bit healthier!