Inspired by a recent Up for a Chat podcast, I set about writing my own version of the ‘Habits of Happy People’ based on nothing other than my own meandering experience…
1. Give to Receive
If happiness is what you seek then become a source of happiness to those around you. The more happiness you create within those around you, the more likely you are to feel it yourself. Be generous with compliments and positive thoughts and cut the whingeing.
2. Sleeping beauty
I dated this guy in my late teens and his solution to overcoming problems was to go to sleep. He’d have an argument with his mum, go and have a nap, and when he woke it was like it’d never happened… While probably not an ideal way to get through life, the point is, sleep does wonders to improve your mood. So try to get at least 6 hours of quality z’s a night (I know, I know, easy to say when you don’t have kids).
3. Wander the World
I try to begin every day with a 30 minute walk, as this in itself halves the total stress in the body (physical, mental and emotional). Use this time to energise yourself, and mentally prepare for the day ahead. Try and get out into the bush – the sounds of nature are incredibly powerful on the soul.
I won’t go an and on with this one, it’s a no brainer. Just Eat Real Food.
5. Loose Yourself
Call it meditation if you will, but find something you enjoy doing that allows you to ‘get out of your head’ for a little while. For me, it’s playing the piano – my total focus is on the music, there’s no room for negative thoughts to creep in.
6. Sweat it out
Exercise releases endorphins, it’s science. Want to feel happy? Then move your butt! Personally, I have an intense love-hate relationship with Bikram Yoga. It’s one of the most hot, sweaty and uncomfortable 1.5 hours known to man, but the rush when you get out – feeling completely stretched and detoxed is like no other.
7. Get on with it
You know all those little things you’ve been meaning to do and keep putting off? Write it down. You’ll get a lot of personal satisfaction and a great sense of accomplishment as you cross each thing off.
8. Gather Experiences
They say ‘do something everyday that scares you’. Well, I’m going to tone that down a little bit to ‘try something new, often’ (doesn’t quite have the same ring does it?). Say you found yourself at a random seminar and suddenly realised you were going to have to walk across hot coals, just go with it! (This actually happened, I blame Marcus Pearce).
9. Seek Beauty in Things
I’m a highly visual person and I find happiness in creating beautiful things, emerging myself in beautiful places and seeking out pretty things everywhere I go. It’s one of the reasons I moved up to the Sunshine Coast. If you’re like me, then take the ‘Photo a Day’ challenge and try to capture something beautiful everyday. And share that beauty with your peeps – hashtag the hell out of it.
10. Free Bear Hugs
For those of you not in a relationship, then there’s a chance you’re missing out on the power of affection as a source of happiness. But it’s doesn’t have to be between the sheets affection, hugs are (almost) as good. Go on, boys don’t actually have cooties, share your energy with another human being – become a serial hugger.
11. Laugh Everyday
I’m not one of those overly bubbly, happy types by any stretch of the imagination. But when you smile and laugh you get a surge of good chemicals through your body, it’s powerful stuff. I use the smile trick doing my most loathed Bikram postures – it makes them (almost) fun if you smile through it!
12. Good News
I got back from New York about two months ago and since returning I have completely stopped watching TV. I used to watch the morning news each day and I’ve found it so much nicer not starting the day of by hearing all the horrors that have happened in the world. I’m not saying bury your head in the sand, but limit your ‘media’ time to quality journalism and do it at a time when you’re in a good head space for it.