Everybody wants more happiness in their lives but sometimes it can feel hard to achieve. And happiness is different for different people – what makes one person happy can be another person’s misery.
However, the good news is that research shows there are things you can do to help you live a happier life, according to the charity organisation Action for Happiness . They are:
1. Do things for others
Helping others is not only good for those you help, but it also makes you feel good. Whether it’s a big act or something small, helping others or volunteering boosts happiness and connects you to people. Give it a go!
2. Connect with people
Talking, listening and spending time with other people helps you feel connected. Whether it’s spending quality time with family members, friends, workmates, sports groups or local clubs, building a network of positive relationships with others will help support your wellbeing and happiness.
3. Take care of your body
Being active, eating well and participating in regular exercise is good for your physical and mental health. It improves your mood, boosts your energy and improves your sleep, which all help you feel happier.
4. Live life mindfully
Learning to be more mindful and aware of the present moment can help improve your sense of wellbeing. In our fast-paced lives, taking some time to slow down and be in the now and not worry about the past or future is beneficial.
5. Keep learning new things
Learning new things helps you stay curious and engaged. You could learn a new language, take up a new sport or hobby or try something else you’ve never done before. It’s also a good way to meet new people and become involved in your community.
6. Have goals to look forward to
Having a goal gives you direction and something to look forward to. Make sure your goal is not only challenging, but also achievable. If your goal isn’t achievable it will only lead to disappointment, so make sure it’s realistic. Achieving your goal will bring a sense of confidence, accomplishment and satisfaction. Learn more about goal setting.
7. Find ways to bounce back
Life can be challenging sometimes, and stress, trauma and loss are a part of life. Being resilient or finding a way to bounce back has an impact on your wellbeing. The good news is that resilience can be learned, enabling you to find healthy ways to cope with life’s challenges.
8. Look for what’s good
Focusing on positive emotions and having a half glass full (rather than empty) attitude helps you feel good in both the short term and long term. Research also shows that positive emotions broaden your perceptions (helping you to see more in life), respond more flexibly and in new ways, and be more creative.
9. Be comfortable with who you are
Criticising yourself all the time makes you feel unhappy. Accepting yourself for who you are – both the good and not so good – and being kind to yourself increases your enjoyment of life. It also helps you accept other people for who they are.
10. Be part of something bigger
Research also shows having a connection to something bigger than yourself, such as religion or spirituality, makes you happy and healthier.
It’s normal to have slightly changing moods. However, if you experience long periods of sadness or depression, please contact your GP or healthcare professional as you may need medical help.
- 1737 phone or text 24/7 to reach a trained counsellor
- Depression Helpline 0800 111 757
- Lifeline 0800 543 354
- Samaritans 0800 726 666
- Youthline 0800 376 633
- 10 keys to happier living Action for Happiness, US
- 10 days of happiness
- Ways to wellbeing Mental Health Foundation, NZ