Feeling depressed or less-than-happy in life for extended periods of time often makes us think that we need to make a change. And that’s true.

You probably do need to change one or more things about your current outlook or perspective on life to be happier. But you don’t need to give up every part of your routine in order to be happy.

Here are 11 things you can cross off your things-to-give-up-to-be-happier list:

1. Your job

yourjob

While you may think that storming out of your office with a big “F you!” to your boss is a blissful dream that will surely lead to a happier life, you’d be mistaken. Try changing your perspective about your job instead.

There are so many people out there right now who are desperate for work, without the opportunities to put their skills to use. Be grateful that you have a way to earn income and, if you really hate your job, look for a new one like the super adult you are.

2. Your bills

Balancing The Account By Hand

I know you can’t realistically just give up your bills, but I’m putting this in my list anyway because you need to stop wishing you could.

You can’t really live in the modern world without paying bills, and that’s just the way it is. Come to terms with that and move on. You’ll be happier every day if you stop dwelling on the aspects of life you can’t control.

3. Video games

video games

I am a firm believer in video games as a constructive hobby. Whether you’re playing the latest COD MOD or scoring mad points on Peggle, video gaming is a great way to relieve stress, escape the pressures of reality, and exercise your fine motor skills.

4. Caffeine

caffeine

Unless caffeine gives you the shakes or causes you to break out in hives, don’t stop drinking it although even if you do get hives–what are a couple of bumps, right?). Studies show that drinking caffeine (and, specifically, coffee) can make you less stressed, boost your antioxidant levels, and even help you live longer.

5. Lazy time

lazytime

Being happy doesn’t mean that you need to give up your time-to-do-whatever time. Having a few hours of unplanned free time each week is a great way to unwind and let yourself go wherever the wind blows. Plus, knowing that you have free time to do whatever you want can make the daily tasks you have to do feel much more manageable.

6. Netflix

Netflix

Some would say that marathoning your way through the first three seasons of Dexter on a weekend is a sure way to leave yourself feeling unproductive, depressed and lonely. I disagree.

A good Netflix marathon can be a great way to relax and unwind. If you must feel like you’re doing something productive, though, watching one of the many informative documentaries Netflix has to offer is a good compromise.

7. Sleep

sleep

Do not give up your sleep if you want to feel happier. Some people get so caught up in making time for hobbies, work, and their families that they routinely sacrifice their 8 hours a night. Don’t do that!

Studies show that people who get less than 8 hours of sleep regularly are more prone to mood disorders like depression, have worse cardiovascular health, and are more stressed and anxious than people who consistently get a regular amount of sleep.

8. Your friends

yourfriends

You certainly don’t need to give up time with your friends to be happier. Quite the opposite. The people close to you are those who truly make life worth living, so don’t neglect them.

You might not be able to hang out with your girls (or guys) every weekend, but a couple dinner dates or game nights a month should be enough to keep good friends close by and to keep your happiness levels at their max.

9. Your spouse

yourspouse

Assuming you and your spouse are in a healthy relationship, there’s no reason why giving up your romantic time together should make you happier. Neglecting “us time” in favor of work or a busy schedule is no excuse.

If you really care about the person you are seeing/dating/married to, you need to learn how to make time for them. You’ll both be a lot happier for it.

10. Your planner

yourplanner

You don’t need to become a flower-child who lives in the woods in order live a stress-free and happy life. Of course, if you think that’s the best option for you I’d encourage you to try it out anyway. You can be a modern, functioning adult with your planner, calendar and phone alarms without being miserably overwhelmed by it all.

If you need to write something down to feel less stressed about it, fine. But let it go after that.

11. Your inner child

innerchild

Take some time to reconnect with who you are at heart. Make cheesy jokes, eat cake now and then, and stop caring so much about what other people think of you. What would your 10-year-old self say if he or she saw you now? Would you think you’re no fun and boring?

Doing things that your younger self would approve of is almost always a surefire way to feel happier, more alive, and just more like you. So act like a kid from time to time!

I hope you’re already feeling happier after reading this post! I’d love to hear what other things you don’t think you need to give up in order to be happy, so tell me in the comments section below!

Featured photo credit: charlie’s angels – Stranger #7/Terence S. Jones via flickr.com

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