3 Simple Ways to be Happier Today

 

 

Let me get one thing out of the way: 

I don’t know what you’re going through. But I do know that you’re strong enough to get through it and live a happy life. 

We’ve talked quite a bit about stress, herbs, and diet...but what about happiness? 

If I can share something personal, I wasn’t always good at being happy. 

I thought of happiness as something to be chased. And like so many people today, I thought, “I’ll be happy when I have this thing or that job or that number in my bank account.” 

I lived like a stress case, repeating the same day over and over, thinking, “this will all be worth it when I’m happy.” 

I was only concerned with myself, I didn’t prioritize my friends and family like I should have, and I was pretty pessimistic. 

It took a while to undo this way of living (and I’m still working on it), and it took meeting someone special to realize I wasn’t focused on the right things. 

So I’ll share what’s helped me in hopes it helps you live a happier, more fulfilling life: 

 

1. The Big Three: Sleep, Diet, and Exercise

There’s no magic pill or supplement that’ll ever come close to matching the benefits of a good night’s sleep, a healthy diet, and some exercise. 

90% of serotonin - an essential neurotransmitter for happiness - is created in your gut. So a healthy diet is critical. 

Exercise increases feelings of wellbeing, reduces stress, increases another important feel-good neurotransmitter called dopamine, and improves your sleep. 

Sleep improves your energy, concentration, mood, immune system, and more. 

Take care of The Big Three, and you’re off to a great start towards happiness. 

 

2. Before dinner, say one thing you’re grateful for

On my way to work, I try to list all the reasons I have to be grateful: 

My family, my friends, my experiences, a roof over my head, etc. 

The more I practiced this, the more reasons I found to be grateful. And by the time I get to work, I’m in a really good mood. Sometimes I’ll send a text to a friend or family member I thought about, just something small and encouraging. 

Not surprisingly, science has confirmed1 the benefits of gratitude: 

“Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.”

Gratitude naturally leads us to our next one: 

 

3. Call a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while

This is one that helped tremendously during quarantine. And it took a while to get used to because I’m not much of a talker. But the truth is, we all need social interaction, and relationships are key to a happy life. 

Every time I talked to a friend or family member, I felt a massive wave of relief. And again, this has been studied by happiness researcher Martin Seligman: 

“These ‘very happy’ people differed markedly from average people and from unhappy people in one principal way: a rich and fulfilling social life. The very happy people spent the least time alone (and the most time socializing), and they were rated highest on good relationships by themselves and by their friends.”

Well, this was originally going to be "6 ways to be happier today," but this email’s getting a bit long. Don’t worry. I’ll send you part two next week! 

 

References:

  1. “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude.
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