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It’s no surprise that as we make our way through these gloomy winter months, we’re seeing an increase in the search term “how to be happy.” (If things like sunshine and outside time are your go-to mood-boosters, it’s no wonder this is the case!) So, in an effort to lift your spirits this season, we tapped two Happiness Coaches (yes, it’s a thing!) to answer your FAQs. From daily habits to boost your mood to steps to take to be happy, scroll on to see what they have to say — then get ready for a lift in your day!
HOW TO BE HAPPY
First, think about daily habits to add to your routine to boost your mood. If there’s anything we’ve learned around here, it’s that routines are key. Do you have a morning workout routine? Maybe a nightly skincare routine is what helps you wind down. The same thing can apply to your mood.
There’s value in practicing gratitude to improve your overall state. “The gratitude practice of identifying things you are grateful for can help set the intention for a happier and more pleasant day,” says Brittney Soukhone, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Life Coach.
A couple of ways of doing this include meditation and breathwork, setting affirmations and getting some movement in! “Meditation and breathwork help to redirect our busy minds by bringing our attention to the present moment and improving our mind and body connection. Affirmations help reframe our mindset and belief systems through daily reminders of positive thinking. [Lastly], movement improves our mental clarity while also reducing stress and anxiety,” she says.
Taking this a step further, Happiness and Laughter Coach, Jacquiline Hamilton, provides us with an IRL example of her routine for practicing gratitude and happiness daily.
“[First] I set an intention about how I want to feel during my day. Generally, it’s something like ‘I am happy, calm and healthy. My day is easy and I am excited for something amazing to happen.’... I [also] meditate and listen to Yoga Nidra, it’s amazing to start on a calm and happy state of mind,” she says.
Now, onto finding things that make you personally happy!
How do you find things that make you happy?
Now that we’ve established the importance of establishing a routine and how to do so, let’s talk about finding things that make you happy so you can incorporate these in your day-to-day. This simple exercise Soukhone recommends can help get you started: “Take a moment to reflect on past memories that bring you joy. What were you doing? Who was there? Why were you happy? What hobbies brought you joy when you were a child? What accomplishments are you most proud of?” she says.
While doing so, understand that finding your “thing” may take some time — and that’s okay! “I love this quote: ‘A lifetime of happiness is cultivated moment by moment, day by day’,” Hamilton says. Patience in your happiness quest is always a good thing!
What are ways to be happy?
Of course, happiness can come in many forms too. From prioritization to forgiveness, here’s how Soukhone says these can look: Taking responsibility for your happiness. Consciously prioritize your mental and emotional well-being. Practicing self-care, checking in with yourself and incorporate activities that bring you joy. Understanding that we are supposed to experience both positive and negative emotions in life.
Experiencing sadness, fear and anxiety does not mean that you are doing life wrong or that something is wrong with you—it’s part of the human experience. Forgiving yourself and let go of past painful experiences and mistakes. Choose to believe those experiences were meant to help you grow into a better version of yourself. Setting goals. Small daily goals help to direct our minds create a sense of accomplishment. Helping others gives us a sense of purpose and uplifts our mood. This can be through volunteering, donations, mentorship, even sharing helpful information on social media. Believing that you are worthy and deserving of happiness.
5 steps to take to be happy
Mood-boosting daily habits? Check. Approaches for finding happiness? Check. Steps to take to actually be happy? See below! Our experts are leaving you with an inspiring list of five steps to take to be happy, according to Hamilton:
- Find Your Passion: Honestly, there is nothing worse than getting up in the morning hating to go to a job you don’t love. If you cannot quit your job for various reasons, find a hobby as a passion that you can immerse yourself into heal your mind, body and soul. Being happy while creating anything is our purpose in this life.
- Hold On To Your Values: Did you think lately about what your core values are? They do change with circumstances so re-evaluate your values often.
- Listen To Your Heart: The joy you feel in your heart when you are aligned with your journey is priceless. Don’t underestimate the power of feeling. A content heart radiates happiness
- Do The Things You Love: Do you love listening to music, writing, walking in nature? What is that one thing that gets you excited every time you do it? Do more of that!
- Bask In Simple Pleasures: Watching the sunset, cuddles with your loved or a hot cup of coffee. The simplest things are truly the most heartwarming experiences.
Psst! If you’re looking for additional happiness resources, Hamilton designed two journals (available here and here) to help people along the way. Give them a read and best of luck on your happiness journey!