We live and breath on this incredible planet in this insanely miraculous journey called life so why can it be so difficult to be happy? Although I tout that happiness as a choice, a perception, a mindset, is it really that simple? I don't believe that anyone is just gifted with oodles of happiness. Although some might have the propensity to have a more positive mindset, everyone has to work for it at least some of the time. I'll never pretend that every day starts out a happy one for me however I am always doing my best to focus on the habits that I know can truly build happiness. Life is truly too short to be unhappy. One of the best compliments that I have ever received was from a man that I used to see in the morning at the gym. His name was Gerry and every morning he'd say 'good morning sunshine'. The fact that my energy could make him smile every morning was truly a gift. Do I leap out of bed happy all of the time? No! There are mornings that I get up at 5am dragging my sorry butt out of bed while the rest of my family is still blissfully snoring away. When I get my body in motion with my clients (who are all incredible people - bonus!) that tired, dragging feeling fades away and is replaced by energy, momentum and a smile 🙂
Here are 12 happy habits that some of the happiest (and healthiest!) people that I know practice:
- They are grateful - it's really tough to be unhappy when you think about all of the good things in life. Even in the darkest of times we can always find a few things to be grateful for. Even when my kids drive me to the brink of insanity I am so grateful that I have them in my life.
- They get outside - nature and fresh air have a way of bringing perspective and a smile to your face. I spent the afternoon with our daughters at the beach yesterday. No phone, just getting in the ocean, and relaxing on the beach chair watching the girls splash in the waves, BLISS! Oh and it didn't cost a cent nor did it have anything to do with any type of 'thing'.
- They help others - nothing is more rewarding than feeling like you've lent a helping hand, that you've helped to lift someone else up. When someone gives me the gift of the opportunity to help them with something I always feel better for it.
- They take care of themselves - they regularly participate in some type of exercise, generally eat well (real food ;-)), and have some type of spiritual practice. When I'm getting in some exercise, eating well, and making time for meditation I am automatically happier and more confident. Putting on some makeup, getting my hair done, just generally putting some effort into how I look can also make me feel better.
- They connect with others - they put their phones down and connect in real life, in person (gasp!). In this day and age it's tough, devices are addictive, I know... Leaving the phone behind is very freeing!
- They laugh - whether something is funny or not they will find something to make them laugh. Watching some good comedy, or just being silly and laughing for no reason will lighten the mood and brighten any day.
- They focus on learning and growth - reading, listening to audiobooks or podcasts, attending conferences and taking classes are all ways in which we can learn and stay inspired in our lives
- They get good sleep! I don't know about you but when I'm operating in exhaustion sometimes all I can focus on is how much longer until I can get back into bed. Getting good sleep, even when it means that we must get into bed a lot earlier is so key to a positive outlook.
- They fake it - even when they're really frustrated with someone or everything seems to going wrong they will try to smile through the process until it becomes authentic. Try smiling when answering the phone even when you are in a hurry.
- They see challenges and failures as opportunities - we can choose to see the challenges and failures in our lives as opportunities to learn and grow. I remember one day our bike (scooter) broke down when I was on the way to meet my family at the beach. I was frustrated that I wasn't going to get there and two guys in a truck stopped to help me. They were able to diagnose and fix the problem for me and I was gratefully on my way. That breakdown likely saved my husband from a breakdown on the way to work the next day and I got the opportunity to meet two very kind people.
- They have fun. If there's something that you think looks fun, don't wait, do it! You are never too old...I watch longingly as my daughters do gymnastics and horseback ride (things that I used to do much more of in my youth) and am scheduling in time to do both in my own life..why not right?
- They allow themselves to feel their emotions. They trust that even when they are feeling down that they have to power to get their happy back. They allow themselves to feel unhappy for a while guilt free and then dust themselves off and get moving.
What are your happiness practices? I'd sure love to know!