Feeling better is as easy as one, two, …ten. No really though, if you are willing to take the small steps towards changing your short and long-term habits you will be able to reap the benefits of living a healthier, happier life. It all starts with your body and mind. If you take care of them you will not only look better, you will most definitely feel better too.
1. Better sleep
Getting yourself in the right state of mind begins with your sleep. Anything from getting a solid eight hours to fitting cat naps into your schedule will result in a direct increase to your happiness. Odds are if you are overworked you aren’t sleeping correctly (which actually compounds the problem even more). So make it a point to get more rest as your body probably needs it.
In addition, if you find that your schedule is busy even something as small as a fifteen or thirty minute power nap can make a world of a difference.
2. Eating Right
Eating right doesn’t necessarily mean loading up on comfort foods. It means eating food that will leave your body feeling great overall. Eating things that interest you or make you happy is another way of looking at it. You can never go wrong with good vegetables or fruit as those are generally great dietary choices.
On the flip side of the coin allowing yourself to cheat with a little ice cream isn’t necessarily bad either, just don’t over do it. The takeaway from this is that you should find the foods that make you happy and meals that you are excited to eat. It will not only make you feel better if you are eating well but it will give you something else you can look forward to also.
Whether you like it or not exercise has been scientifically proven to boost your happiness. From feeling good to looking good it is honestly an excellent way to feel better overall. I know that for people who don’t exercise frequently the idea of tiring yourself out may seem counter intuitive but I promise that the people who do exercise regularly can agree with me when I say that once you are consistently exercising you will feel much better. From a scientific standpoint exercise has even been proven to increase the production of your brain’s endorphins which is what directly controls your feeling for happiness.
Putting that point aside, exercise also extends beyond the basic science too because of its impact on your self-confidence about your body. This is another underrated aspect of feeling better because whether we like to admit it or not most of us like to look good. It is hard to think that we look good however if we are carrying around extra weight in places we do not want to. That’s precisely why exercise is important because it definitely helps eliminate that feeling as you see your waist line shrink.
4. Meditation / Reflection / Prayer and Spirituality / Decompressing
You don’t have to necessarily believe in a “higher power” to boost your happiness here. Whether you are talking to someone or just keeping a diary and writing to yourself this step is a healthy way to process your day. In an age where stimulus is at an abundance it is sometimes really important just to take some time to relax and process our thoughts or feelings. Reflecting may sound like some lame voodoo but it really does work. Try unwinding for ten minutes a day while listening to relaxing music and allow yourself to zone out in thought. When you zone back in there’s a good chance you will end up feeling a bit more refreshed than before.
5. Forgiving / Accepting Change / Changing your mentality
A friend once shared with me the quote “happiness is only the ability to accept change” from someone that he had talked to. I found that quote to be particularly interesting because it is pretty true no matter how you look at it. Acceptance has pretty much become a necessity in our day and age where we don’t have much control over anything anymore with social media, the internet, and a growing world population. At the end of the day happiness is a state of mind and being able to accept certain aspects of life which you cannot control will not only be freeing but will make you happier too.
It is also in the same vein that changing your mentality goes along with accepting change. Having a good mentality is a bigger deal than people think. Individuals with a generally more positive view on life tend to be happier. Now this isn’t saying to go become an optimist but instead it is rather pointing to the fact that it is easy to let the bad weigh you down. That’s why acceptance and changing your mentality go hand in hand here. The concept is to let go of the bad so you can leave yourself more open to the good within your life.
6. Be intimate
Intimacy is something we all crave. It is a pretty universal feeling. Whether that means spending time with someone that you love or having sex it is extremely important to take time to be intimate. Try to take time out of your week to spend time with your significant other. Doing things like making a special date night one day of the week or going out to a movie and an adventure can really go a long way here. Making your other feel better will in turn make you feel better if you truly enjoy spending time with them. So be sure to make those little moments special.
7. Reduce Stress
Working almost as if they are inversely proportionate, stress and happiness are pretty much unspoken antonyms of eachother. The reason why stress gets its own section is because it is one of the primary driving aspects of reducing happiness. Going back over the other bullet points also, everything else mentioned here in this article is directed at reducing your stress. From sex to exercise to eating right it is all designed to get you looking and feeling good about yourself while freeing your anxiety. Stress is only really truly brought on by deadlines or inadequacy. That’s why with careful planning and a sound lifestyle you can eliminate a lot of factors that are brought on by the inefficiency, uncertainty, or fear from stress.
Try reducing your workload once in a while and instead filling it with time to decompress. Odds are you will find yourself feeling reinvigored if you can locate manageable ways to cut down on your stress. A good rule of thumb is asking yourself the question “do I need to do this” or “is this making me feel better about myself by doing this”? If the answer to either of those questions is “no” you can probably cut it out at least temporarily. Find those things in your life which you can take a break from and you will see your happiness noticeably rise as your time frees up for the things you would much rather enjoy.
8. Creating time for things you enjoy
This might seem really basic and obvious but it is true. If you aren’t doing what you enjoy you won’t be happy. Make time for the hobbies which you can get excited about because if you have nothing to look forward to you are going to find yourself getting pretty depressed.
Also, exploring new interests is something that might seem scary but will pay dividends down the line. Now I know that it is extremely hard (and sometimes stressful) to get outside of your comfort zone but I think we can all agree that when it ends up working out and you make a new friend or find a new hobby you enjoy it is totally worth it. Exploring new interests is not always easy or fun but it can be very worth the risk.
Fresh off of a trip, I have to recommend this bullet point highly. Yes it does cost money but it is money well spent. Not only is it exciting, traveling gives you something to look forward to when those work days are especially excruciating. Not to mention when you are traveling you get to try out new and fun things that you probably would have not had the opportunity to experience sitting at home on your couch.
10. Maintaining a healthy body
This point coincides with the exercise step but takes it one step further. You will find yourself happier if you treat your body well. Now I know a lot of people enjoy the occasional social drink and that is fine but the point here is to not go overboard. You don’t have to treat your body like a temple but you should treat it well. Going out and getting so drunk that you are sick all of the next day probably isn’t the greatest thing to make you or your body feel well. It may seem obvious but if you keep the smoking and drinking at a minimum it will result in a much higher quality of life overall.