For many of us, the ultimate goal in life is happiness. Individuals around the world strive to better their lives, but it’s not always as easy as it seems. In the U.S., only around one-third of adults claim to be satisfied with their lifestyle. Here, we go over how you can live life to the fullest and enjoy the world that’s right at your fingertips.
15 Ways to Make Life Happy
Improving your diet is one of the best steps that you can take toward a better life. A balanced meal plan can help you keep both your physical and mental health in check, both in the short and the long term.
The typical American diet includes many processed foods and refined sugars, which can contribute to health conditions such as dementia, anxiety, and depression. According to one study, teenagers that eat a lot of junk food are almost 80% more likely to suffer from depression from their cohorts with a healthier diet. Another study found that trans fats, which are often found in processed foods, raise the risk of depression amongst adults by almost 50%.
For your brain to function properly, you need to ensure that you’re getting the right nutrients. Nutrition experts recommend including plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet, as the antioxidants can help to ward off damage to your cells and improve your overall health.
It’s also best to stick to lean proteins and avoid red meat such as beef or lamb. Seafood is one of the best types of meat that you can include in your diet, as it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These are crucial for proper brain development and functioning and have been shown to help protect against mood disorders.
In addition to red meat, you should also try to avoid processed foods or items that contain high levels of sugar, sodium, or unhealthy fats. These types of food are often full of empty calories, offering little nutritional value in terms of vitamins or minerals. Whenever possible, it’s always best to prepare your own meals instead of opting for ready-made items, fast food, or even restaurant cuisine. You always know exactly what’s going into each meal, and you can work to avoid unhealthy or dangerous ingredients.
Most health experts recommend following the Mediterranean diet to maintain a high standard of living. This diet is inspired by the cuisine of Greece, Italy, and other coastal nations and includes plenty of whole grains, fruits and veggies, healthy oils, and seafood. The diet has been shown to offer a number of health benefits such as:
- Weight loss
- Blood pressure regulation
- Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
- Reduced risk of type II diabetes
- Enhanced mental health
- Lowered risk of dementia later in life
You should also make sure to stay hydrated. Water not only helps muscles and joints to work better, but also helps to calm your nerves, improve your mood, and even reduce your risk of depression and anxiety. Most experts recommend drinking around eight glasses of water a day, or about half a gallon. You can also stay hydrated by including more juicy fruits in your diet such as oranges, watermelons, tomatoes, and more.
Get Plenty of Exercises
In addition to a healthy diet, it’s important to get plenty of exercise in order to boost your mental health. These days, too many of us lead sedentary lifestyles, which is often a contributing factor in depression. Americans spend an average of eleven hours each day sitting, causing more than 300,000 deaths annually.
It’s a good idea to aim to get at least a few minutes of exercise each day. Even as little as ten minutes daily can help to improve your mood and lower your risk of developing anxiety and depression. However, experts recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Some examples of moderate aerobic exercise include:
- Brisk walking or jogging
- Gentle cycling
- Relaxed swimming
- Low-contact sports such as tennis or badminton
- Yard and housework
If you have the stamina, you can also fit in 75 minutes or more of vigorous aerobic activity each week, such as running, swimming laps, or playing high-contact sports. Regardless of what type of cardio workout you choose, it’s also a good idea to include strength training in your workout regime. You should work all of your major muscle groups at least twice per week using sets of around twelve to fifteen repetitions.
Exercise helps to boost levels of endorphins in the brain, helping to boost your mood in the short term. It also increases the concentration of serotonin in your brain over time, which helps to regulate happiness, sleep, and even appetite. Working out regularly can also improve your immune system and help to combat depression.
Spend Time in Nature
These days, it can be difficult for us to find our roots. Many of us get swept up in the hustle and bustle of daily life, including work, friends, and family. However, it’s important for your mental health to take some personal time every once in a while, and one of the best ways to do so is by stepping outdoors.
Spending just twenty minutes in your local neighborhood park has been shown to help improve mood and combat depression. It’s been shown to help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and regulate your heart rate. What’s more, going outside helps encourage more physical activity for those who spend most of their time behind a desk, at the wheel, or on the couch.
You don’t necessarily have to drive out to the countryside to get back in touch with your natural roots. Simply walking barefoot on your lawn can bring a sense of peace and comfort. You can also bring the outside world into your home by including plenty of plants and other natural elements in your design scheme.
Find a Healthy Work-Life Balance
As cell phones, email, and other methods of instantaneous communication have become more popular, many workers find themselves on-call at all hours of the day or night. It can be a challenge to find time in your day to dedicate toward friends, family, and yourself.
Spending the majority of your time stressing about your work does you no favors when it comes to mental health. Overworked employees often suffer from anxiety and depression, and may even experience physical symptoms such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and even certain types of cancer.
It’s vital that you put forth the effort to live your life outside of the office, no matter how busy your work schedule might be. Be firm in which hours you’re on call and which you’re unavailable. It may be helpful to have a separate work phone that you can turn off when you’re enjoying some personal time.
Be Kind to Others
Negative thoughts, feelings, and actions have a tendency to seep into our minds and can contribute to mental health issues over time. It’s best to try and live life with positivity, especially when it comes to the people around us.
Making a meaningful contribution in another person’s life can help us to feel more fulfilled in our own, helping to boost happiness in the long-term. Even something as simple as smiling at a stranger can help to lift both their mood and your own.
One of the best ways to help others is to volunteer your time and your skillset. You can join community outreach programs in your area, or offer to help out nearby nonprofit organizations. You can also make a daily mission to help someone out in your life, whether it be a friend, a family member, or a coworker.
Live in the Present
Too many of us tend to dwell on the past. Embarrassing, painful, or traumatic memories can keep us up at night and plague our days, putting us in a foul mood. It can be challenging not to focus on these invasive thoughts when they pop into your head.
Positive thinking can go a long way toward improving mental health. If you make a conscious effort to block out harsh or negative thoughts while focusing on the positive, over time, you’ll be able to shift your entire mindset into a healthier way of thinking.
One of the most important steps towards a more positive lifestyle is to let go of the past. If you constantly reflect on memories that cause you discomfort, you’ll be setting yourself up for anxiety, depression, and worse.
You should take steps to forgive and forget past transgressions, whether they were committed by or against you. You may even want to seek closure by apologizing for past wrongdoings, or by seeking out an explanation from those who have hurt you.
Even without concrete closure, the simple act of forgiveness in your mind can do wonders for your mental health. With understanding and empathy, you can work your way toward resolving your past so that you’re able to concentrate on the bright future ahead.
Make Time for Loved Ones
Humans are social creatures, and we can suffer if we go too long without contact or companionship. Loneliness can be just as much of a health risk as smoking and obesity, and nearly half of Americans report feeling isolated or alone.
You should try to make time for friends, family, and other loved ones whenever possible. Meeting with others face-to-face is the absolute best way to combat feelings of loneliness, which can later manifest as depression.
You can schedule get-togethers with your friends or family regularly to make sure that you’re spending enough time socializing outside of the office. You can also volunteer, take a class, or join a special interest group in order to meet people and build up your support network.
Since the advent of popular sites such as Facebook and Instagram, more and more people are using social media to connect with others. While the online landscape offers a quick and convenient way to keep up with people around the world, it can also be a toxic influence.
People on social media tend to compare their own lives to that of friends, followers, and influencers. However, most online presences only post the best moments of their lives, setting an unrealistic standard for others. This can lead to stress, disappointment, and a lack of motivation.
While it’s not necessary to swear off social media entirely, you should try to limit the amount of influence you allow sites to have over your life. Try to socialize with people face-to-face rather than through a computer screen, and make an effort to arrange meetings with your loved ones rather than settling for texts and instant messages.
Enjoy the Little Things
The more often you stop to revel in the world around you, the happier you’ll be in life. Many of us are too busy to stop and smell the roses, but doing so can make the difference between an average day and an outstanding one.
You should take some time to think about how you can enjoy your daily routine just a little bit more. Even if you have a packed work schedule, you can still make small changes to your day that will help you to improve your mood and your overall quality of life. Something as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help you to feel happier, healthier, and more motivated.
There are countless ways that you can improve your day without having to go out of your way to do so. Some common activities that people find relaxing include:
- Taking a long soak in the bath
- Treating yourself to a professional massage
- Listening to your favorite band or artist
- Settling in for the night and reading a good book
- Opting for a picnic instead of a traditional meal
- Cooking or ordering your favorite meal
- Watching a good show or movie
- Taking a walk around the neighborhood
- Giving a gift to a loved one
You should make a goal to stand back and appreciate at least one thing each day as you go about your business, no matter how trivial. Over time, you’ll find yourself acknowledging more of the good things in life without focusing on the negative.
Overcome Your Fears
Our fears often hold us back in life, preventing us from becoming the best version of ourselves. Concerns ranging from spiders to public speaking can deter us from taking risks, trying new things, and potentially reaping the rewards.
You need to overcome your fears if you want to live a happier life. The best way to do so is to develop a more positive association with your fear in your mind. There are a number of different methods people use to conquer what scares them the most:
- Visualization: Simply imagining your own success can be a powerful tool. Thinking about your fear, and visualizing how you would feel overcoming it, can play a pivotal role in motivating you to overcome your jitters.
- Think Positively: Like visualization, sticking to positive thoughts surrounding your fear can help you to create a more benign association in your mind.
- Name Your Fear: Simply acknowledging that you’re scared of something can help you to better understand and rid yourself of your fears.
- Face Your Fears: One of the best ways to overcome a fear is by facing it and proving to yourself that there’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s best to work your way up to facing your fear in real life. For example, arachnophobes should start with photos and videos of spider before confronting the insect in real life.
- Seek Professional Help: For deep-seating or crippling fears, it may be best to enlist the help of a professional. They can take you through the healing process step by step and ensure that you don’t push yourself too hard as you face your fears.
Once you’ve overcome your initial anxiety, you can end up turning what was once a fear into a strength. Once something loses its power over you, you’re left with an intimate understanding of how it works that you can use to your advantage. For example, public figures such as Warren Buffett and Joel Osteen have conquered a fear of public speaking to become some of the best orators of their time.
Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin
While there’s always room to improve yourself, you’ll never be truly happy if you’re constantly stressing about reaching new heights. You should be content with who you are in the present, mind, body, and soul.
When you learn to accept who you are, it will make a world of difference when it comes to your mood. Loving yourself can help to keep negative thoughts at bay. It can also help to lower stress and anxiety, improving your overall mental health.
The next time that you look in a mirror, try to focus on the aspects of yourself that you like, whether they’re physical, mental, or emotional. If you ever start feeling down on yourself, make sure to remind yourself just what it is that makes you an incredible individual.
While you should love yourself unconditionally, that doesn’t mean that you can’t acknowledge areas in which you need improvement. You should still set goals for yourself, such as losing weight, meeting new people, or learning a new skill.
It’s important that you set realistic goals for yourself when on the road to self-improvement. If you aim too high, you may find yourself failing and losing motivation. Start small at first, and slowly work your way up to loftier heights.
It’s often easiest to focus on short-term goals that have a predefined timeframe and can be checked off a list. For example, finishing a book, losing a certain amount of weight, or improving your diet are all short-term self-improvement goals.
Many people also set long-term goals for themselves, and these may or may not have a time limit. Working your way up the corporate ladder, starting a family, or even opening a savings accounts are all long-term goals that can help you to lead a happier lifestyle.
Make Happiness a Priority
Many people don’t consider their own happiness in life a top priority. Instead, they measure their success in terms of factors such as income, belongings, job title, and social circle. However, many people find that their version of success comes at the cost of a happy and carefree lifestyle.
While America has a reputation as being a high-stress environment for employees, many aren’t pleased with the status quo. Almost half would sacrifice a high income for a more low-stress lifestyle.
You need to make your own happiness a priority in life because it’s unlikely that anyone else is going to do it for you. While it’s also important to work toward your personal and professional goals, you should never sacrifice your happiness for either.
If you feel depressed in your day-to-day life, that means that something needs to change. Success means nothing if you aren’t able to enjoy it. You should consider what factors in your life are causing you the most stress, and work to address those issues in a healthy way. Doing so may involve counseling or therapy, especially if you’re having trouble with interpersonal relationships.
In addition to rectifying toxic components of your life, you can also make positive changes to your daily routine to lead a happier, healthier lifestyle. Try to do at least one thing each day that makes you happy, whether it’s listening to your favorite song on the drive to work or treating yourself to a mini-vacation.
For many people, creative pursuits are a healthy outlet that allows them to vent their frustrations and unload negative energy. Whether you paint, dance, write, act, or sing, you can use your passions to help yourself live with more positivity.
The next time that you feel stressed or overwhelmed channel these negative feelings into artwork. Not only will you feel better for it afterward but you’ll have also created something instead of remaining sad and unproductive.
Artistic endeavors can also help to reshape your way of thinking about the world. As you create, you can process negative emotions of a different plane and reevaluate why you feel the way that you do. With more frequent self-reflection, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of who you are and what drives you, helping to guide you down the path to a better life.
Sometimes, it seems easier to let others steamroll us than to voice our concerns and opinions. However, if you never speak up for yourself, you may find yourself stagnating in life. If you want something, you need to take the initiative and get it for yourself.
You should aim to be assertive in both your professional and personal life to avoid unhappiness and conflict later on down the road. This doesn’t necessarily mean being brash or aggressive about getting what you want. Instead, ensure that your voice is heard in a polite yet firm manner. Stick to your principles, and don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ every once in a while.
It’s crucial that you aim for open and honest communication with all other parties, and express that you expect the same from them. An open dialogue is the best way to ensure that all voices are heard and acknowledged to avoid treading on any toes.
If you have a disagreement with a boss, coworker, friend, or loved one, remember to stay calm. You should listen to their perspective and try to put yourself in their shoes before dismissing them entirely. Try to avoid emotional arguments and guilt trips and instead stick to the facts.
Hire a Life Coach
It’s not always easy to deal with unhappiness on your own. Sometimes, it can be worth your while to bring in the help of a professional. If you don’t feel that you’re living up to your full potential, a life coach can help to guide you toward a more positive lifestyle.
Speaking to a life coach gives you an impartial third-party perspective on what might be going wrong in your life to affect your mood. They can help you to identify the root cause of the problem, and together, you can come up with ways to feel better about yourself and your life.
You should always do your homework before hiring any life coach. You should look for those who have undergone training, have the experience, and can offer positive references. Some coaches are also certified by organizations such as the International Coach Federation (ICF).
Living Life with Happiness
Happiness isn’t always easy to achieve, but it’s attainable for any of us. With a little bit of effort and some small life changes, you can lift your spirits and gain more enjoyment out of your day-to-day routine.
Making your life happier is all about priorities. You should ensure that you have a healthy work-life balance and spend plenty of time catering to your personal needs. You need to make sure that you’re eating right, exercising, and socializing to maintain good mental health.