The 10 Little Things That Will Make You a Happier Person

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Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

The world is full of challenges and it’s easy to become overwhelmed when it feels like nothing is going your way. So how do some people seem to always find the silver lining in the storm clouds?

Some would say that happiness is more than a feeling; it’s a choice. We may not be able to control the things life throws at us, but we can always choose how we react to them. You can choose to dwell in the negative or you can work to improve your outlook and learn how to overcome challenges. When you change the way you respond to the world, you can also change the way you see it.

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None of us are happy all the time, but there are different aspects of happiness. Joy. Gratitude. Contentment. Feeling satisfied with yourself and your life is what it means to truly be happy and there are changes you can start making right now to get there.

Here are 10 little things you can do to start becoming a happier person.

1. Exercise more often.

You’ve heard it a thousand times, but it’s true. Exercise makes you feel better. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins that can boost your mood. To enjoy the mood-boosting benefits of exercise, however, you need to be consistent about it. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least 5 times a week. Join a fitness class, take a walk during your lunch break, or go hiking after work.

2. Follow a healthier diet.

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A great meal can make you happy, but culinary indulgences often come with a serving of guilt. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite foods, but there should be a balance to it. When you treat your body well, you’ll feel better for it. Avoid fad diets and obsessing about calories – just focus on fueling your body with healthy nutrients and don’t be afraid to cheat once in a while.

3. Practice gratitude at least weekly.

Sometimes all it takes to change your attitude is to tweak your perspective. When you spend all your time focusing on what’s going wrong, it’s easy to succumb to stress. If you can shift your perspective, however, and realize how much you have to be grateful for, you may find your mood changes as well. Start each day thinking about something you’re grateful for or keep a weekly gratitude journal.

4. Spend more time outside.

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When you spend your days stuck behind a desk in a cramped cubicle, it’s easy to give in to feelings of negativity. Sometimes the quickest way to lift your spirits is to get outside, even if only for a few minutes. Sun exposure boosts serotonin levels and can help improve your mood. There’s even a name for it: heliotherapy. Heliotherapy is a treatment for depression but can also help with seasonal affective disorder, sleep disturbance, and chronic pain.

5. Invest in your relationships.

It’s easy to fall into a negative mood when you’re feeling lonely, but a kind word from a friend or loved one can pick you right up. Make time for the friends and family in your life and invest in preserving and strengthening those relationships. At the same time, stop giving your attention and energy to people who drain you. The more you surround yourself with people who make you feel good, the happier you will be in the long run.

6. Make self-care a priority.

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When you’re stressed and exhausted, you don’t feel like yourself. While many of us are used to existing in that state, it isn’t healthy. If you want to enjoy life, you need to give yourself time to experience it. Self-care is not selfish, it’s necessary.

Spend a few minutes reading the paper over a cup of coffee in the morning. Enjoy a good book outside during your lunch break. Close your laptop early to give yourself a chance at a full night’s sleep. There’s no recipe for self-care, just make time to do the things that help you relax and restore your spirit.

7. Stop worrying what others think.

We all need to hold ourselves accountable for our actions, but it doesn’t do any good to obsess over what others think. Constantly worrying about performing to someone else’s impossible standards keeps you from achieving your own goals. Instead of worrying what strangers think of you, value the opinions and advice of the people who know and love you best.

8. Take steps toward personal growth.

Everyone has things they’d like to change about themselves, the struggle is knowing what things can change and what things should. It’s great to take steps that might further your career or to invest your time in learning a new skill. Read a self-help book, join a support group, or spend time meditating to come to a greater understanding of yourself. Even talking to an online psychiatrist to learn how to better manage mental health issues can put you on the path to happiness.

9. Have as many experiences as you can.

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Money can’t buy happiness, so don’t waste your time on the things that won’t make a difference. There’s nothing wrong with having a good job and enjoying the benefits that come with it, but life isn’t about things, it’s about experiences. Take a weekend off to travel with your family. Challenge yourself to try something new. You don’t have to do something big every day, but if you start looking for opportunities to experience more in life you’ll find there’s more to love about it.

10. Give back to your community.

Even when you’re having a difficult day yourself, you can always do something kind for others. Helping someone or simply doing something to brighten their day has a way of lifting your mood as well. Volunteer at a local food bank, spend time with someone who is lonely or give to charity. When you’re bringing light to another’s life, you’ll find some of that light reflects back on you.

There’s no single recipe for happiness – it’s all about finding what makes you feel like you and pursuing the best possible version of yourself. As you take this journey, be kind to yourself. It takes time to make significant and lasting change, so start with just one of the tips above and see how far you can take it.

Life Hack.org: 7 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be a Happier Person

Inc.com: 25 Tiny Changes That Will Make You a Happier Person

Life Goals Mag.com”: 20 Bite-Sized Habits To Become A Happier Person

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