Happy people know that mindset can be the most important piece to the happiness puzzle. Once you understand that your happiness is not reliant on external things like clothing, career, and dress size, you can focus on cultivating happiness from within.
Here are some simple habits you can adopt to change your mindset and increase your happiness.
Get a good night’s sleep
It’s not rocket science: sleep affects mood. After a sleepless night, you may be more irritable and vulnerable to stress. After a good sleep, your mood returns to normal. Humans don’t function well when they are sleep deprived.
Studies have shown that people who are not getting enough sleep lack the adequate levels of the hormone hypocretin, which has been proven to govern joy and happiness. This means that having a good sleep contributes directly to your happiness.
Spend time in nature
According to a recent study, people who spend 30 minutes a day outdoors report a significant increase in their sense of wellbeing, vitality, and energy, while feelings of stress and negativity, along with sleep disturbances, were all reduced
Drink, touch, and float in water
Neuroscientists, poets, and biologists have all linked our brains to water. Water soothes us, reduces anxiety, and connects us to nature. Water consumption increases our brain’s ability to transmit information. The sensory stimulation of touching or floating in water relaxes us. Even the sound of water can soothe.
The recent discovery of mirror neurons has proven what happy people have long known: if you are surrounded by smiling happy faces, your brain responds by causing you to smile. The brain secretes the chemicals to increase your happiness when you smile. So, smile and notice the world smiling back.
Make eye contact
Social connection is one of the keys to happiness. The simplest way to establish connection is with eye contact during conversation or just in passing. I like to practice making meaningful eye contact as a way to spread happiness everywhere I go.
Adopt a good attitude
Optimism is a state which correlates with, but is not identical to, happiness. If you are a person who is looking forward to a life “half-full” rather than “half empty,” you will have a better chance of obtaining more life satisfaction and enjoyment, more satisfying work and marriage, better health and longevity.
People who meditate report higher levels of happiness, but until recently there was no proof that the meditation was causative. That was, until Matt Killingsworth built an app, Track Your Happiness, that let people report their feelings in real time. Among the surprising results: we’re often happiest when we’re lost in the moment. On the flip side, the more our mind wanders, the less happy we can be.
Dream big dreams
One’s sense of purpose is deeply entwined with happiness. People who have big dreams and actively work towards them are happier. So, surround yourself with other dreamers and with people who are your cheerleaders.
Connect with “your” people
These are the people who are on a similar path and inspire you to keep going. I call them my tribe. You can find your tribe on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, at school, at work, or at the gym. People who feel connected feel happier.
Enjoy good food
Deepak Chopra advises you to ask yourself: “What am I hungry for?” then really listen to your body. Eating a balanced diet of fresh food makes you feel better, and it tastes great too. It’s amazing how much junk food is consumed simply because we think we don’t have the time to eat well. Nourish your body. It will thank you.
Notice moments of intuition
When the telephone rings and you know it’s your mom, or when you think of a friend you haven’t seen in years and then run into them the very next day — this is your intuition. Develop awareness of things that appear coincidental and start to trust that they aren’t. You will begin to trust your gut instinct with confidence. This self-awareness brings a sense of bliss, which is closely related to happiness.
Listen to music
When you play a song and chills run down your spine, savor this feeling. The ability to be powerfully moved by music is like a little vacation from your daily routine. Think of it as a mini spa for your soul.
In addition to being great for your physique, exercise also initiates the release of chemicals that increase positive emotions. Get out and hike, run, swim, or try some Zumba, and notice how quickly your mood changes.
The chemicals released by your body during laughter are transformative and healing. Find time every day for a little bit of laughter.
Happiness is a practice. Just like going to the gym or eating a healthy diet is a lifestyle, so is living a happy life. Once you begin to cultivate the practices to support your happiness, you will begin to notice changes in your relationships, your career, and your attitude.