“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness… We all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…” | The Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness
A lot of articles and wellness experts will probably tell you in order to be happier you need to “change your way of life”, “Change your thoughts”, “Meditate every day” “sleep 9 hours night” and so on – and they will probably be right.
Unfortunately, the 24/7 hectic lifestyle that a lot of us lead doesn’t allow us to do all these big life-changing steps towards that oh-so-desired bliss at once. But it does NOT mean we can’t be happier. Moreover, sometimes we are quite content with our lives but just want that extra sprinkle of happiness on top.
It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. John Wooden
Surely, there are no shortcuts on the road to happiness but there are a couple of steps you can take that will get you a bit closer.
You might think, ‘oh come on… how can we be happier in just 10 minutes a day…? If it was true wouldn’t everybody be doing it?’
Happiness isn’t something that just happens to you. I believe that happiness is like a muscle. Just as it takes practice to get those hardcore abs or master a new skill – you can train your brain to be happier. These little things can add up to extremely profound improvements in your overall happiness.
Here are a few Happiness Hacks to help you become happier in just under 10 minutes a day.
If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I talk about gratitude quite a lot. That’s because I believe it made a huge difference in my life. Appreciating the little things, not taking things for granted, always looking for the good in each situation has definitely turned my outlook around. It may come naturally to you or might need some practice at first, but you can easily train yourself to develop an “attitude of gratitude” in just a few minutes a day.
Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude toward us | John Mitchell
A five-minute-a-day gratitude journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10 percent. That’s the same impact as doubling your income!!!
You can read all about the benefits of gratitude and tips on how to do that here.
Being happy may mean different things to different people. It may differ during your life or even during the day. It’s just important to be mindful of that. It doesn’t have to be this profound insight on life. It could be as big or as small as you like. Just ask yourself – what would make me happy now? What does my body or soul need right now?
A hug from a friend? Some chocolate? A good nap?
You know the saying: ” Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy ice cream and that’s kinda the same thing”? Exactly. Find your “ice cream”, what makes YOU happy and once you figured out the answer – Just do it. Even if it involves spending (some) money on that or breaking your strict diet rules. Sometimes it’s worth it and it’s just as simple as that.
Many studies dealing with SWLS (Satisfied With Life Scale), show that regular small pleasures have a bigger impact on happiness than fewer larger ones.
Just thinking about lists makes me giddy like a schoolgirl. I always like to be prepared. In case you need an occasional reminder of what makes you happy just make a list of “100 things that make you happy”. The actual process of making the list will put a big smile on your face and you can always start with some things and add to it daily/weekly. After you’re done, hang it in a visible place so it will be a constant reminder of all the joyful things in your life.
Some that made the cut in my 100 list: My loved ones, cheesecakes, a Childs’ laughter, the smell of the ocean, food (of all kinds), hugs, a cold shower on a hot summer day and making lists LOL
A lot of time when we’re feeling down we just want to cuddle up in bed with a bucket of ice-cream and some extra melancholic music in the background. Don’t get me wrong- I’m defiantly pro-emotions and there is nothing like a good cry to wash away your sorrow. But when I’m feeling low, I deliberately try to surround myself with happiness. I put on some upbeat tunes, read something funny, eat something that I like, watch another rerun of ‘friends’… And I find myself actually feeling better.
It’s not a magic cure – it probably won’t turn your boyfriend into less annoying or your boss into any less impossible but it will do the trick. Doing things that makes you happy is good for your emotional wellbeing.
Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude toward us | John Mitchell
I hear a lot of people say that “If we’re sad then we’re sad. There is nothing we can do about it”. Your choices determine how you live your life. Remember: happiness is a choice, it’s not a given fact. It’s fine to be offended or sad or lonely or just f*** tried of EVERYTHING. But it’s also ok to choose to be happy. It’s just easier to be the victim of a story but deliberately stepping aside from that takes courage and it’s not far away from your reach.
Also fake-it-until-you-make-it kind of thing. Smiling will give you an immediate attitude boost. You don’t even need the whole 10 minutes. Just try smiling for a minute. right now. If you can incorporate thinking of a happy memory or something that usually makes you happy – even better.
A simple smile can trigger the release of neural communication boosting neuropeptides as well as mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Think of smiling like a natural anti-depressant.
You can read here why I think smiling can turn a frown upside down.
Or as known best on Grey’s Anatomy: “dance it out.” If you’re not a fan of the show- it just means to put on music and dance out your problems.
How is it that such a simple physical act has the ability to lift the spirits? The reasons say dance psychologist Dr. Peter Lovatt of the University of Hertfordshire, is four-fold. “Dancing stimulates us physically and emotionally while there are also cognitive and social elements to it,” he explains.
“Dancing makes you feel good because it makes you feel so alive”. So put on your dancing shoes and just dance your way to happiness.
I’m a strong believer in mind-body connection and exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being. Studies have shown that exercising releasing proteins and endorphins that make us feel happier.
Another study found that people reported the most happiness if they had been moving in the past 15 minutes than when they had been sitting or lying down. Most of the time it wasn’t rigorous activity but just gentle walking that left them in a good mood.
So it doesn’t have to be intense or time-consuming… Check out ‘The Scientific 7-Minute Workout‘ mentioned in The New York Times or just go for a walk outside.
Which bring me to this:
I personally prefer my vitamin D and sea taken naturally. Research shows that: spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood but broadened thinking and improved working memory. YES, Sun exposure is good for you.
A UK study from the University of Sussex also found that being outdoors made people happier. Head outside for a walk around the block or at least station yourself near a window for a few minutes and just soak up the sun.
Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family makes a big difference in how happy we feel. Harvard happiness expert, Daniel Gilbert, says it well: We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.
Is “Happiness only real when shared”?
Dedicate 10 minutes of each day to maintain a connection with a loved one. If it’s someone far away from you – make sure you call them and genuinely interact with them. If it’s someone (physically) close to you go ahead and give them a hug. Physical touch can decrease stress, make us feel happier, and even improve our health.
Can you be happy for 100 days in a row?
This challenge is a viral online movement that has had more than 8 million participants from 160 countries since its launch in 2013. As they mention: Those who have completed the challenge have found that spending 100 days intentionally finding or creating a happy moment each day—whether through trying something new or just seeing their daily life in a new way—added up to long-lasting feelings of optimism, gratitude, and satisfaction that far exceeded the sums of their parts.
I think it’s important to find the little things in everyday life that make you happy | Paula Cole
It’s fun and easy to accomplish. You can join the challenge on their website, do it alone or convince a friend to join your happiness journey. Accountability is key!
Every day you take a picture of what made you happy. You can choose what social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) you want to share it on or just create a designated folder in your phone to treasure all these special moments.
I believe it takes a while to establish a new habit, so it’s helpful to commit to a certain period of time. Once the habit is established you’ll start noticing what makes you happy every day.
Whatever way you define your happiness, achieving it means a lot more than just “accomplishing a goal”. It could change your whole life around. And Hey! it’s just 10 minutes a day so why not give it a go?
Please share in the comments below your own Happiness Hacks. I would love to learn new and awesome ways to add some happiness to my life