You may have noticed that the habits of happy people are exactly like those that are essential for leading a healthy lifestyle – exercising and eating right, for example. However, your mindset must come first. Out of the heart, happiness will grow. What you have in your mind seeds your heart.
We often times have to rewire our brains and choke out the negative thought processes. Once you adopt a happiness mindset, and even before you do, embracing healthy habits will help keep your mood elevated naturally even under the influence of great stress.
Happy people tend to be healthy people, and vice versa. In addition to healthy food and exercise, the following lifestyle strategies can also help to support emotional wellness.
1. Dream big!
Get off the couch. Believe in your limitless potential. Big dreams increase the likelihood of accomplishing your goals. Rather than limiting yourself, when you dream big you’re opening your mind to a more optimistic, positive state where you have the power to achieve whatever you set your mind to.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
In other words pick your battles. If the issue you’re mad about will be irrelevant a year, a month, a week or even a day from now, why sweat it? Happy people have mastered letting life’s daily irritations roll off their back.
3. Regard your problems as challenges.
Change your internal dialogue so that anytime you have an “issue” you view it as a challenge or a new opportunity to change your life for the better. Eliminate the word “problem” from your vocabulary entirely.
4. Surround yourself with positive people.
The saying “misery loves company” is entirely true. Choose friends who are optimistic and happy themselves, as you will be surrounded with positive energy. Happiness breads more happiness.
5. Let go of grudges.
Forgiving is necessary for true happiness. Holding a grudge means you’re also holding onto resentment, anger, hurt and other negative emotions that are standing in the way of your own happiness. Letting go of a grudge frees you from negativity and allows more space for positive emotions to fill in.
6. Treat everyone with kindness.
Kindness is contagious. Science has proven to make you happier. When you’re kind to others, your brain produces feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters like serotonin and you’re able to build strong relationships with others, fostering positive feelings all around.
7. Speak kind of others.
It may be tempting to gather around the office water cooler to get and give the daily gossip, but talking negatively about others is like taking a bath in negative emotions; your body soaks them up. Instead, make it a point to only say positive, nice words about other people, and you’ll help foster more positive thinking in your own life as well.
8. Enhance your listening potential.
Take the time to listen to others. Listening helps you soak in the wisdom of others and allows you to quiet your own mind at the same time. Intense listening can help you feel content while helping you gain different perspectives. Listening also helps you understand the depth and beauty of each situation.
9. Live in the present.
Allow yourself to be immersed in whatever it is you’re doing right now, and take time to really be in the present moment. Avoid replaying past negative events in your head or worrying about the future; just savor what’s going on in your life now. You can miss your whole life if you are not present.
10. Get up early and at the same time every day.
Getting up at the same time every day (preferably an early time) is deceptively simple. Doing so will help regulate your circadian rhythm so you’ll have an easier time waking and feeling more energized. Your body is on an natural internal clock and does enjoy the consistency. The habit of rising early every day is one shared by many successful people, as it enhances your productivity and focus. “The Early Bird Gets the Worm” is a cliché that has a lot of valid truth to it.
11. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Your life is unique, so don’t measure your own worth by comparing yourself to those around you. Even regarding yourself as better than your peers is detrimental to your happiness, as you’re fostering judgmental feelings and an unhealthy sense of superiority. Measure your own success based on your progress alone, not that of others.
12. Express gratitude for what you have.
People who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, have more positive emotions, and are better able to reach their goals. The simple things – family, a roof over our heads that don’t leak, food on the table and health should never be taken for granted.
The best way to harness the positive power of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal or list, where you actively write down exactly what you’re grateful for each day. Doing so has been linked to happier moods, greater optimism and even better physical health.
13. Be honest.
Every time you lie, your stress levels are likely to increase and your self-esteem will crumble just a little bit more. Plus, if others find out you’re a liar it will damage your personal and professional relationships. Telling the truth, on the other hand, boosts your mental health and allows others to build trust in you.
14. Avoid making excuses.
It’s easy to blame others for your life’s failures, but doing so means you’re unlikely to rise past them. Happy people take responsibility for their mistakes and missteps, and then use the failure as an opportunity to change their lives for the better.
15. Nurture social relationships.
Positive social relationships are a key to happiness, so be sure you make time to visit with friends, family and your significant other. We are social creatures by nature. Join a group fitness class, a prayer group or a meditation class. Start a walking group and invite all of your friends.
16. Use prayer and meditation.
Prayer is a communication. Meditation helps you keep your mind focused, calms your nerves and supports inner peace. Research shows it can even lead to physical changes in your brain that make you happier.
17. Eat well.
What you eat directly impacts your mood and energy levels in both the short and long term. Nutrition is 85% of your long term outcome. Eating right primes your body and brain to be in a focused, happy state. Eating processed junk foods will leave you sluggish and prone to chronic disease. An unhealthy nutritional protocol is the key to all chronic sickness and disease.
Exercise boosts levels of hormones and brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which may help buffer some of the effects of stress and also relieve some symptoms of depression. Exercise is an effective tool to prevent taking anti-depressant medications, high blood pressure medications and developing osteoporosis.
19. Live minimally.
Clutter has a way of sucking the energy right out of you and replacing it with feelings of chaos. Clutter is an often-unrecognized source of stress that prompts feelings of anxiety, frustration, distraction and even guilt, so give your home and office a clutter makeover. Purge them of the excess papers, files, clothes that have not been worn in two years. This excess stuff not only takes up space in your physical environment, but also in your mind.
20. Realize that you don’t need others’ approval.
It’s important to follow your own dreams and desires without letting naysayers stand in your way. It’s fine to seek others’ opinions, but happy people stay true to their own hearts and don’t get bogged down with the need for outside approval.
Avoid letting other people dictate the way you live. Instead, establish personal control in your life that allows you to fulfill your own goals and dreams, as well as a great sense of personal self-worth. Only you can really establish your worth. Realize it is not up to someone else.
21. Accept what cannot be changed.
Everything in your life is not going to be perfect, and that’s perfectly all right. Happy people learn to accept injustices and setbacks in their life that they cannot change, and instead put their energy on changing what they can control for the better.