Sunday, March 20 is International Day of Happiness, and I’m thrilled to be here introducing 10 ways that you can celebrate!
Check out the video above for 10 easy ways to celebrate International Day of Happiness (also known as 10 ways you can increase your level of happiness) or grab the highlights below.
Did you know that genetics and life circumstances only account for about 50 percent of a person’s happiness? The other 50% is determined by you and your habits. How you think, how you spend your time, and what you do. Happiness is a skill, meaning we have to practice it. Think about happiness like physical strength. We don’t just, poof, become strong; we get stronger by practicing various exercises and movements, and over time, this practice contributes to us becoming stronger.
With that said, here are 10 ways you can increase your level of happiness today!
1. Name what’s going well in your life. As human, our brains tend to get stuck on the one or two things that aren’t going well as opposed to the ten to twenty other things that are going great. Right now, take second to rattle off what’s going well in your life. At home, at work, with your health, with your relationships. Go ahead and recognize what’s going well!
2. Spend time with someone you care about. Meaningful relationships are one of the biggest contributors to happiness, and as one of my favorite country songs of the moment says, it’s all about the company you keep. Go be with someone you care about!
3. Complete a goal. Accomplishing a goal gives us a great sense of pride and fulfillment. Find time to accomplish a small goal or task that you’ve been putting off. No goal is too small; go out and check that thing off your list.
4. Buy something for someone else. Did you know that spending money on others can improve your emotional well-being? This relationship, also known as prosocial spending, has been documented in both rich and poor countries. Staying within your financial means is, of course, important, so while most of us can’t buy our friends a car or a tropical vacation, we can pay for a strangers coffee, pick up a bouquet of flowers for our neighbor, or raid the Target dollar bin for our stationary loving bestie. Spend some money on someone else today.
5. Take a deep, cleansing breath. Breathe in through your nose, pause, and then slowly exhale through your mouth.
6. Practice gratitude. If you are a frequent reader of my site, and you participated in my month-long gratitude challenge, you know all about this one. Gratitude is one of biggest contributors to happiness, and to keep yourself from getting into a gratitude rut, challenge yourself to name three NEW things per day for which you are grateful. The means you can’t say what you said yesterday or the day before; these points of gratitude have to be NEW each and every day.
7. Exercise. If you immediately let out a groan, hang with me. Research is pretty consistent about the impact of exercise, but this doesn’t have to mean spending hours in the gym or being glued to the treadmill. Just focus on moving for twenty minutes or so. Take the dog on a longer than normal walk, bike to the local library instead of driving, or throw the Frisbee with your kids. Just get moving!
8. Practice mindfulness. I talk a lot about mindfulness on my site, and if you aren’t practicing mindfulness on a daily basis, I highly encourage you to poke around my site to learn more. In a nutshell, mindfulness involves focusing your attention on the present moment. Not what happened yesterday, not what you have to do later this afternoon, but what is happening right now, in this very moment. Mindfulness has all sorts of benefits, and it’s a great way to get on a path towards increased happiness.
9. Learn something new. Our brains are designed to be challenged, and we can shake things up by learning something new. Learn a new crochet stitch, watch a TED talk on a topic you’re interested in, or try a DIY project you pinned months ago. Challenge yourself to learn something new today!
10. Change your scenery. We can sometimes get into a rut, doing the same routine over and over. Find a small way to change things up. Maybe instead of eating lunch at your table, grab a blanket and make it a picnic outside. Make your weekly meeting with your supervisor a walking meeting this week, or switch cars with your partner and pick a random Spotify or Pandora playlist. Shake it up.
Remember, happiness isn’t just something that happens, it’s something we have to practice. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating International Day of Happiness with some or all of these strategies!