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Are you happy?
These three simple words have the power to fill you with instant dread, fear and agony. After all, just what does it mean to be happy? When I asked a friend about whether she was happy, she couldn’t answer, which is perhaps an answer too.
Being happy doesn’t mean you are a huge success or that you have a perfect life. Instead, happiness is about finding joy in the moment, in what you are doing right now, and (choosing to enjoy) this fleeting experience (no matter how small).
Happiness is more a mindset than something outside of yourself. Being able to access happiness as a state of mind in the moment is a great way to keep your sanity and help ease tension.
Being able to find your happiness can help alleviate depression symptoms and generate forward momentum in life, breaking the inertia we all feel at times. And the good news is, it doesn’t have to take long to feel happy in the moment.
So if you’ve ever looked for ways to help you feel happy, this is your lucky day- just read on for some of the best happiness hacks.
What Are Happiness Hacks?
A happiness hack is a trick, device, or habit that stimulates the brain into releasing endorphins and oxytocin (the happiness hormone) when you are feeling down or depressed.
The stimulation from a happiness activity or habit can help you beat the blues and place your own joy in your power to command, instead of leaving it up to chance.
Why Happiness Hacks are Important
Imagine if your feelings were never up to you to control. How terrible it would feel to rely on someone else to give you permission to be happy. Yet, this is essentially what some people believe.
They wait for others to make them happy, when they can make themselves happy with any number of activities or actions.
Being able to manage your happiness and trigger it when needed is a vital skill that can help you lead a more fulfilling life that is free of negativity and regret. From happiness stems a positive spirit, a can-do attitude, and gratitude.
Benefits of Happiness
There are several benefits from being happy, and these benefits double when you can influence your own happiness:
Here’s Why You Control Your Own Happiness
Happiness is a feeling you experience when something satisfies you. What that something is, is up to you. This means you are in charge of feeling happy. We often believe others make us happy, but this is a mythical belief. We make ourselves happy. You engineer your own happiness in life.
We know happiness isn’t a pill, it’s not someone in our life, and it’s not anything tangible. Instead, happiness is your reaction to all of these; it’s about consciously deciding to relax, release negative feelings, and letting yourself feel joy in the moment when you practice happiness.
43 Quick Hacks to Make Yourself Happy
If you are the master of your own joy, you can create happiness. Many of us believe this is impossible, clinging to the belief that we were meant to suffer through life instead. Life is meant to be lived joyfully, and these happiness hacks can help you do just that.
Your health is important to being able to live with purpose and accomplishment. Happiness often has its roots in being physically healthy. An ailing body may require an extra effort to be happy.
While we can’t always do anything about disease or injuries, we can take care of the little things which will bring us into a more healthy state of being.
1. Get Moving
Physical activity, whether at the gym or simply by taking a walk, dancing around the breakfast table, or taking up a sport, all contribute to the production of oxytocin and endorphins. Both these chemicals activate receptors in the brain, triggering feelings of contentment and happiness.
Tip: Move for the sake of moving, not to lose weight or because you are told to. Choose a movement form that’s relaxing and enjoyable. Why not take up belly dancing or take long walks around the block?
2. Sleep Tight
There’s a reason the old adage is “sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” When we don’t get quality sleep, our sleep is bugged by nightmares, fears, and worries that steal your joy.
Try to practice good sleep routines where you eliminate blue light at night, avoid caffeine at night, and create a sleep cave. With a few good nights’ sleep, your happiness will bubble through.
3. Breathe Mindfully
While you may not think of breath as being important to joy, it’s the root of all action and thought.
When you breathe mindfully, you unlock your thoughts, release negative energy, and reconnect the different parts of your body. With a few calming breaths, you can open the door to joy.
Tip: Practice box breathing to help refocus and rise above negativity. Breathe in four seconds, hold four seconds, breathe out four seconds, hold four seconds, and repeat.
4. Eat Some Chocolate
Yes, there is joy in chocolate. Eating some dark chocolate not only improves your day, it also boosts your health with antioxidants and flavonoids that improve your heart health.
While binging on chocolate isn’t a good idea, a few blocks of quality 70% dark chocolate (or 95% if you’re serious about your cocoa) will do wonders for your mood.
5. Do a Face-Gym
We often exercise our bodies, which makes us feel happy, but do we ever take care of our faces? Much of our tension is carried in our facial muscles. Giving yourself a quick face gym session can really help bring happiness back to your life and leave you smiling.
Sitting at your desk, tilt your head back until your face is parallel to the floor. Now imagine your face is melting, letting the muscles of your cheeks, forehead, and chin melt away. Pucker your lips while you massage your cheek muscles toward your ears.
Relax your eyebrows and massage the skin of your forehead to the sides. Pout your lips and make a fish-mouth, then let your lips naturally spread into a smile. Allow that smile to extend to your eyes too. Sit up slowly and enjoy better health and happiness.
6. Eat With Intention
Stop rushing through meal times or ordering take out. Instead, take the time to cook a wholesome meal for yourself and your family at least once a week.
Set the table neatly, add fresh flowers, a glass of quality red wine, and eat each bite as if it’s your last. Savor the flavors, knowing that your meal is nourishing your body, filling you with contentment.
There’s a reason we love to dance—its fun. When your life seems to be without joy, chances are that you’ve stopped dancing in the rain. Put on some fun music, dance in your PJs, and just let loose. Laugh, smile, and have fun. Happiness is only a song away.
While you may feel like your job doesn’t satisfy you, it’s up to you to make your career a source of joy. No matter whether you have a high-paying job or flip burgers—happiness is still your choice. Take the dull out of the 9-5 with these hacks.
8. Get to Work Early
While you may not like being at work, showing up late will only add to your stress. Arrive early, have a cup of tea, and allow yourself to chill before the day’s duties begin. And while you are at it, stop looking at the clock—it strains your joy.
9. Enjoy the Communication
Your colleagues are often a source of support and satisfy your need to communicate during the work day. Instead of focusing on work only, take the time to value the little exchanges you have during the work day (in person or online) that support you and make your job more enjoyable.
10. Keep the High Road on Promotion
You may think that being at the top of your career is what will bring you happiness. While success is satisfying, it’s not worth it when you sacrifice your morals or throw colleagues under the bus to get to the top. There is great happiness in knowing you walked the high road to get to where you are.
11. Merge Careers
The days of having one career for the rest of your life is a thing of the past, and most of us will make at least one career change in our lives. Use your current career to find what makes you happy.
When transitioning to a new career, take the happiness from your previous job with you. If you were a teacher and then started a career in writing, you can still nourish the teaching skills that you enjoyed previously.
12. Swap out Careers for More Happiness
For anyone feeling low in energy and ambition, it can seem impossible to consider something as daunting as a career change. But if your current job is doing nothing more than making you more miserable, why would you want to keep suffering?
Taking the plunge and exploring opportunities to try new things outside of your comfort zone can be an incredibly rewarding experience. You never know what new-found interests or skills you’ll discover – and who knows, maybe that next career path holds the key to increased happiness.
Stop wallowing in despair, challenge yourself, and make that career jump!
13. Reflect on Life Goals
Looking back on your life, how has your career benefited your life goals? Note where your career caused a life goal to slide past. Now slow things down, take the time to apply life goals to your career.
Our relationships can be a huge source of happiness, but this relies on what we put into the relationship. A cautionary note is to never let your entire happiness depend on the people you have relationships with.
14. Replace Sorry With Thanks
We often focus on being sorry, when we should celebrate thanks and gratitude instead. Make it your goal to stop saying sorry, and instead focus on saying thanks. Giving thanks will help fill you with joy.
15. Keep the Ball in Your Court
Ensure you stay in charge of your relationship journey. Keep the ball in your court and stop waiting for things to happen. You create joy in your life.
Tip: Listing the times your actions brought you happiness is a great way to see where your true power lies.
16. Think Before You Speak
This is an oldie, but a goodie. When you speak without thinking, people get hurt, including you. Rather take a few seconds to think about the situation before you cause pain to others. When your words are gracious, you will experience more joy and happiness.
17. Happiness in a Bottle
Seeking happiness is often complicated because our own bottle of joy has been drying up. Envision that you see all the happy thoughts about your partner and feel rejuvenated. The vision isn’t a dream.
You stock the bottle with happiness and joy, allowing others to also enjoy.
18. Accept Your Partner as Different
Wanting someone to be like everyone else will only create rage. You don’t want to be like everyone else, nor should your partner expect you to be similar.
19. Make Shared Planning a Goal
A great way to have relationship happiness is to include your partner in everything. You’ve gone from “me” to an “us” so you should communicate and plan your life together. Being included like this leads to relationship happiness.
20. Have Fun Together
Romantic couples need play time. Add some frolic to each week to help your happiness balance.
21. Reflect on Assets
Not material ones—relationship assets. If you are in a relationship, list all the beautiful, fun, happy, and valuable elements of your relationship. Now allow yourself to feel truly grateful for these and feel happiness fill your heart.
22. You’re Awesome
When you are single, it’s so easy to become despondent. After all, society programs us to believe that being in a relationship=happiness.
Remember just what it is about your own company that makes you happy. Are you funny? Do you laugh at your own thoughts sometimes, smile when you look in the mirror? Allow this happiness to increase each day.
When last did you plan something to do by yourself that gives you joy? Schedule a little me-time and go on a date with yourself. Try a spa-day, a meditation retreat, shopping at the art supply store, or taking a long hike by yourself. Invest in yourself and shine.
While you can find joy at work, it’s essential to maintain a happiness balance during your leisure time too.
24. Take a Walk
Taking a walk is a great way to discover happiness. It combines physical activity with a change in scenery. If you can walk somewhere beautiful such as a park and listen to the birds singing, happiness is sure to find you.
25. Find a Partner for Outdoor Activities
Happiness can be in the strangest places and with the most unlikely people. Why not go horseback riding with that 75-year-old lady who has been riding for most of her life? Or join your neighbor as he prunes his rose bushes and enjoy the company.
26. Discover a New Sport
Few things can build your interest, like a new sport. Discover a new sport to participate in, learn to play with others, and develop new interests. Happiness is just a ball away.
27. Cloud Gaze
As children, we love to lie on our backs, cloud gazing as giant clouds roll by, making all sorts of shapes and cloud-beings. Find a quiet space to rediscover the joy and mystery of cloud gazing.
28. Pursue a New Hobby
When you find things to be interested in, it can fill you with wonder and contentment. A hobby is a great place to start. Find a hobby you can do anywhere, like building puzzles or snapping photos of butterflies. When you feel blue, a click or a few puzzle bricks can make you feel great.
29. Reach Out to Others
Getting involved in helping those who are less fortunate than you can really help you find a purpose in life and be more content with yourself. Volunteer at a youth center, coach football, or donate some basketballs to the local street group.
When you reach out to others, think about expressing gratitude. Not only does sharing your gratitude help others feel better, but it actually gratitude has many benefits for your health, happiness and wellbeing that you might not expect.
30. Start a Mindfulness Adventure
When you are outside, take the time to really appreciate where you are, what surrounds you, and feel how it affects you.
Eat your lunch outdoors, sit in the park, and feel the wind on your skin, the sound of birds or children playing in your ears, and the smell of freshly rained-on sand or newly mown grass. This is contentment and life, be happy.
31. Accomplish Something Outdoors
Did you ever pursue activities like flying a kite outside as a kid? Time to wake these skills up. Find what you did as a child when you had a lazy Sunday afternoon. Do those things again. As the kite soars above you for the first time in many years, smile with joy.
Happiness hides in the ordinary and mundane too. Explore joy when you take care of everyday activities.
32. Cook Great Meals
Most of us just cook to live. How about really investing time and energy into making a great meal for yourself, your family, or a few close friends. Find recipes to make beautiful food and enjoy the whole process of cooking from start to finish. Cooking can become a happy activity.
33. Cut out the News
We are often filled with a fear of missing out (#FOMO), and missing out on today’s paper or online news bulletin may be scary to you, but these also steal your happiness. Instead, take a break from the news.
Avoid reading newspapers, going onto social media, and turn off email notifications. For a day, a week, or a month (if you are brave), avoid the news. Life takes on new meaning when you can’t worry about the “big” things.
34. Mental Reconditioning
Our brain can make us think negatively about everything in life, if we let it. Negativity can become a lifestyle, but you can choose differently. A simple mantra or phrase can help reprogram you for a more positive life outlook and happiness. Perhaps use: “I am able to think good thoughts about this person, place, or situation and feel happy about it.”
35. Choose Outfits that Make You Happy
Instead of wearing the same clothes as always, choose something that makes you feel beautiful. Select an outfit that’s made of natural fibers and makes your skin smile.
36. Take a Bath
Warm water is a great way to help lower your blood pressure, ease tired muscles, and bring relaxation. When you feel unhappy, why not switch things up with a warm bath during the middle of the day.
37. Walk Barefoot
The earth has the power to rejuvenate our minds. Walk barefoot for 15 minutes every day.
38. Read More Often
Unhappiness is often the result of a closed mind. Read to open your mind and experience joy with each page.
You can experience bliss on your spiritual journey too, no matter what faith or religion you follow.
Whether you believe in a particular religion or follow your own spirituality ideals, prayer is a conversation between yourself and the divine. There is peace at the end of this talk, and it brings happiness too.
- 17 Positive Prayers for Happiness, Love, & Joy
- 49 Positive Morning Prayers to Inspire Your Day
- 31 Prayers for Your Anxiety & Fear
- 31 Bible Verses About Not Giving Up or Surrendering
40. Learn About Other Religions
Being judgmental can bring you great unhappiness. Let go of your own spiritual hang-ups and enjoy learning about other religions or faiths. There is value in all things, and happiness in shared experience.
41. Establish a Spirituality Routine
Fear is the killer of happiness, and working on your faith is a great way to release fear and embrace happiness in simple things.
Decide how you will bring yourself closer to the spiritual each day—either through meditation or prayer or writing or singing. Feel your spirit bloom and be happy.
42. Look at What Makes You Happy
Happiness can be found in many things if you look for it. Focus on things that make you happy: a smiling child, your puppy playing with their own tail, your lover’s face. Become self-aware.
43. Sound Out
When was the last time you sang to the music in your car at full-blast? Singing activates the soul, lightens your spirit, and fills you with happiness.
What to Do When Happiness Hacks Don’t Work
Not all happiness hacks may work for you, and the reason you may struggle with finding happiness may be biological… such as a chemical imbalance or perhaps you are suffering from depression.
In this case, it’s not going to work to watch puppy videos on YouTube all day long—depression doesn’t clear with a tail wag. Professional help is what you will need, so don’t delay.
Final Thoughts on Happiness Hacks
Happiness hacks are great at helping you rebalance your life, aligning the positive and negative to live more harmoniously. A life without happiness is a life not lived. So start hacking and start living!
You can also put more tools in your happiness handbag by reading our article on what life is like when you practice a “glass half-full” philosophy. There are so many ways you can improve yourself… happiness hacks are just one tool. Meditation and affirmations are another great resource to help you on your journey.