Being in a good mood doesn’t always just happen naturally; sometimes you have to be the architect of your mood. It’s a daily practice that we need to be aware of so we can feel better and happier.
Our mood affects our overall wellbeing. New research shows our mood impacts our immunity, our digestive system works, and how our brain works.
When we’re in a positive or good mood we strengthen our immunity, improve our digestive system, we’re more creative, can think clearly and strategically and our stress levels are much lower.
Here are 8 simple actions that we can take right now to lift our mood and feel happy.
8 Simple Ways To Feel Happy Right Now
1. Explore Nature
Fresh air has a magical effect on our spirit and wellbeing. Mother Nature is god’s free gift to us to de-stress, so why not explore and enjoy it?
Immersing ourselves into nature calms us down, relaxes our nervous system, increases our serotonin and decreases our cortisol. So we end up feeling calm and at peace.
Find a trail in your local area and go explore it.
Get the family to go on a bike ride after dinner.
Have your lunch outside and absorb your natural surroundings.
2. Get Moving
No time to get to a gym? No worries, show off those runners and go for a jog or a brisk walk. Even 10 minutes of working out will produce enough of the ‘feel good’ hormones known as endorphins.
While walking, take note of your surroundings and soak in nature while you’re at it. Listen to the birds overhead or the rustling leaves on the trees. If you’re around water, enjoy a stroll by the water. The sound of the waves and tranquility of the water has a natural calming and relaxing effect.
Partner up with a friend or loved one and incorporate some movement into each day - not just a stroll but a vigorous activity that gets your heart pumping. Try cycling as well.
3. Be Around Loving People
Your tribe reflects your vibe (and vice versa). Think of someone who makes you feel good - it could be that warm smile from your mom, that loving hug from your partner, that belly-laugh from your bestie. Keep those thoughts in your mind and if you can reach out with a quick call or text - do so! It’s a natural picker-upper.
Avoid being around negative people - you know the ones who leave you feeling bad or inadequate. Negativity spreads like weeds and the last thing you need is to be pulled into someone else’s storm.
Instead, reach out and grab a coffee with a friend who you know makes you feel good and who you can share a good laugh with. Drop by and surprise a loved one with a visit. Invite a friend over for dinner and watch a funny movie together. Laughter also increases serotonin and leaves you feeling happier.
4. Plan Your Week
Life gets busy and can be overwhelming leaving you running around like a headless chicken.
To reduce that stress from life, try to plan ahead, it will help decreases the feelings of overwhelm and help focus. Things run a lot smoother when you’re feeling calm and focused.
Take time to plan something ‘fun’ for yourself in the week. It could be a tv show you’ll watch on your own, grabbing a coffee with a co-worker or friend or picking up that book you’ve been wanting to read for a while.
These planned ‘me’ items bring some excitement in your life - we all need something to look forward to in life. Having a weekly activity will raise your happiness as it’s always exciting to plan a fun event!
5. Practice Gratitude and Generosity
Gratitude and generosity are disciplines rather than responses. A discipline is something we practice regardless of our circumstances. Choose to be thankful today - don’t wait until you have more money, or more time or have that ideal job - the timing is never more perfect than now.
Choose to be generous with your time, skills and money. If you see someone struggling, see what you can do to help. It creates a boomerang effect. By helping those in need, we feel that happiness inside ourselves.
If you’re in line at the grocery store and see someone who needs help loading, give them a hand. Know someone who is struggling with an illness? Make something special for them and drop it off. Clean out your pantry and donate some of the extras to the local food bank.
6. Focus on the Good
Regardless of what is going on in your life, there are always good things happening. You woke up this morning (many people around the world didn’t), you’re fed, you’re healthy, you have family and friends, and you have opportunities.
Marine Sgt. Jonny Joseph Jones lost both of his legs in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan and his comment reminded me of how we should always focus on the good. Jones says: “People ask how I stay so positive after losing my legs... I simply ask how they stay so negative when they have both of theirs”
Remember that happiness is not a thing - it’s a perspective. If you’re looking for reasons to be happy, you’ll find them. Happy people focus on the positive, happy thoughts.
7. Practice Healthy Habits
They say life is short but when you think about it, if the average person lives to be 75, that converts to close to 3900 weeks, 27,300 days, 655,200 hours. Life’s not so short when you break it down. Develop healthy habits that add value to your hours, days and lifetime!
8. Shift the Focus from 'Me' to 'You'
Although we should all pursue our interests, this should not be the end all and be all. We pursue self-survival, self-promotion, self-gain... it’s hardcoded in our brain.
The most effective pathway to happiness and fulfillment is not looking at our own interests but also to the interest of others. We need to focus less on what is in it for us and focus more on how we can help others. What can we do to make someone’s day better?
When we shift our focus from ‘me’ to ‘you’ our lives have greater purpose and meaning. We experience the beauty of selfless love.
Happiness is not something that happens, it’s something we create. Happiness does not have pre-requisites - when I am richer, when I have time, when I am older... it’s something we create now.
Happiness is something we can all achieve now - by creating the life we want with healthy habits, planning ahead, feeling gratitude, focusing on how we can help others, enjoying nature, incorporating exercise in our daily routine and surrounding ourselves with the right tribe.
Many are on the pursuit of happiness and hopefully they’ll realize it’s not as far as they think.