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10 Ways to Have Happiness Back in Your Depressing World

10 Ways to Have Happiness Back in Your Depressing World

How many times have you heard the phrase: “Happiness is a choice?” Well, I’m here to tell you that it is indeed correct. In a world of horrific events discussed every five minutes on the television, radio and in the newspapers, it’s no wonder so many people are sad when the state of the world is as it is. It’s times like these that we need to view life from a new perspective, to not let outside circumstances, the media and other people’s negative attitudes affect us in our daily lives. With this in mind I’ve come up with 10 ways to bring the happiness back into your life, to help gain a better perspective on what is happening around you, and to help you to live a brighter, more vibrant life.

1. Always surround yourself with people who love you.

Sounds obvious, but it’s true! If you surround yourself with those who love, nurture and care for you, you will know that even through the toughest times you will always be supported. However, if you surround yourself with negative, soul destroying and energy zapping people who are only out for themselves, your world will look completely the opposite. When love is around you, you will feel it, and because of that you will provide the same love to others who may need it from you. Sometimes, it will be necessary to move away from those who drain you and bring you down. That’s OK. Each person we meet is there to teach us a valuable lesson, one way or another.

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2. Distract yourself by doing something you love.

What do you love to do? When was the last time you did something you really loved to do? If you’ve answered, “I don’t know,” to both of those questions, then I’d suggest taking some time out to remember what it is that inspires you, lifts you and fills you with passion. In a world with so much sadness we need to remember that following your bliss and doing something you love will have a deep and meaningful effect on you and those around you. It’s doing things you love that brings you joy and brings the happiness back in an otherwise cold world.

3. Smile, laugh and play as often as you can.

Try not to take life too seriously. I know that ‘seriousness’ is required in some circumstances, but if you continually treat life as a struggle or as something painful then it will continue to be that way. Let your true self come out by remembering what it was like as a child to be carefree, to laugh, to smile and to play regularly. If you can learn to bring more play into your life and the lives of those you love, you’ll see that life no longer has to be depressing or sad. Just because the rest of the world is like that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit!

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4. Be grateful for what you already have in life.

This is always so important and no doubt you’ve seen it many times before. Being thankful or grateful for what you already have in life is one of the main things to remember when living in a depressing and sad world. To put the happiness back in your life you have to be thankful daily. Remember, if you are reading this you probably have a roof over your head, or you have food to eat, or water readily available and most of all you are able to wake up every morning with good health. It is easy to take these things for granted, especially here in the Western world. So instead of worrying or wishing for things you do not have, always be grateful for everything you already do have.

5. Write down your thoughts to calm the mind.

Journaling or writing is a powerful way to unburden the mind of all the sadness or depression around us. So often those who get weighed down with depression or mental health issues feel that they have no one to talk to or they are unable to express themselves openly. Writing is a perfect way to help with getting happiness back. It can release any stress, worries or anxiety, and once you have written down your thoughts—however negative or sad they are—you will feel a hundred times better for letting it out. If you can write every day, putting down your thoughts and feelings and sharing them on paper, you will feel a weight lifted from your shoulders. This is one habit I would recommend if you want to be happier and healthier.

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6. Go back to nature.

Nature is beautiful and if it’s been a while since you stepped out in it and really took in its natural wonder and magnificence, then perhaps you should take some time out and absorb it fully. There is no need to go on a great hike or head miles away to truly embrace nature, just stepping out into your back garden early in the morning or late in the evening will do the same thing. Sitting and listening to the birds, watching as they go about their daily routines, feeding their young, catching worms or singing their wonderful songs will soon have you fully aware of their presence. It’s not until you really sit, listen and observe that you become in awe of how nature just gets on with life in the only way it knows how, one day at a time.

7. Do something for someone else.

A lot of what has happened in the world to make it depressing has happened because we have forgotten to love and forgotten to give. To get the happiness back in your life, it might be time to start looking at how much giving you actually do. When someone asks you to do something for them, how do you react? Are you resentful, offhand or plain rude? If you have answered “yes” to any of those, then perhaps it’s time to re-think how you are to those you love. Giving does not have to be about money, it can just be giving back time, or helping someone move, or lending a loved one a book. It can be anything. I’ve always felt that if you aren’t giving then you aren’t living because that’s what life is all about!

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8. Always look for the good in the world rather than the bad.

If you look for reasons to be happy and to get back to happiness then you will find them. So rather than focusing on what’s bad in the world, perhaps it’s time to shift your perspective and focus on the good around you. Remember that your perceptions usually determine your reality, so make sure they are good ones!

9. Trust your gut instinct.

You are the only one who knows and understands what is right or wrong for you. To keep the depressing world from hammering on your door, remember to follow your intuition and have faith that you are going in the right direction. It’s when you believe that you can survive anything that you will have happiness back in your life. Don’t forget that there are no mistakes in life, there are only opportunities to grow.

10. Be the change you want to see in the world.

The world may be a depressing state of affairs, especially when you listen to negative people and the media. If you want to see a change in the world and have happiness back in your life, then start changing your own beliefs and attitude. It’s when you change that you can become what you want to see in the world. If you are more loving, then you will experience that more within your daily life. If you want more happiness then be happy, if you want more money then give money—the list is endless!

So, what ways can you have happiness back in your life when the outside world appears to be so depressing?

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Let’s be honest. When you’re going through a difficult time in life, doesn’t it drive you crazy when someone says, “just be optimistic”?

Everyone has that one overly-optimistic “Positive Pam” friend who sees the good in everything. Trying to find anything to be happy about when you’re struggling feels unrealistic.

The question remains: “Why is it difficult to pull upon happy thoughts when everything in life feels like it’s falling apart?”

Well, the root of the problem lies in the brain. Your brain isn’t designed for happiness because its focus has always been on promoting survival, it saves the happy chemicals (dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) for opportunities to meet a survival need.[1]

While all of this is true, it is still possible to train your brain to be optimistic so that you can find the silver lining amidst life’s greatest adversities.

You Can’t Be Positive All the Time

Before I talk about how you can do this, you must realize that you aren’t expected to be positive 100% of the time. You’re human and life happens.

Have you ever had a solid plan in place, and then life comes along and says, “Let’s explore rock bottom for a while instead?!” You’re allowed to feel sad, angry, or negative sometimes.

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However, the trick is making sure that you don’t live in this place for too long. Disempowering emotions serve their purpose in the short-term but can become destructive to your overall quality of life in the long-term.

When it comes to thinking positively, I think a lot of people have a skewed understanding of what positivity should look like. You don’t have to sing in the rain or smile 24/7 to be deemed a positive person.

Appreciating the smallest of things can work wonders for your mindset, such that, over time, you start wiring your brain to seek out and expect more positives. This speaks to the power of having an attitude of gratitude.

Research has shown that gratitude can improve general well-being, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships, and reduce stress and depression.[2]

The more grateful you are, the happier you are.

So, what does all of this mean? Well, happiness won’t always be your automatic response. Rather, it’s a choice that you have to make every single day.

3 Ways You Can Train Your Brain to Be Positive

Similar to any habit, your brain conditions itself to think and behave in certain ways through repetition. Thus, if you engage in daily rituals that enhance your positive thinking, over time you will rewire and train your brain to become more positive.

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Let’s talk about 3 ways that you can train your brain to be positive:

1. Challenge Negative Thoughts

Your mind is a powerful tool – you can either fill it with positive thoughts or negative ones. The average person has thousands of thoughts per day, 80% of which are negative, and 95% of which are exactly the same thoughts as the day before.[3]

If you’re like most people, you probably spend a lot of time in your head. This is where your inner critic loves to hang out and try to convince you of all the reasons why you’re not good enough or why things won’t work out.

Not surprisingly, if you play this disempowering record over and over again in your head, eventually you will start believing it.

People get into trouble when they define who they are based on how they think. You are not your thoughts, so don’t believe everything that you think. This is why it’s so important to practice challenging your negative thoughts.

The next time that you have a thought that doesn’t serve you, stop and reflect upon whether or not that thought is accurate. Once you determine where the fallacy is in your thinking lies, step back and ask yourself, “Is this thought building me up or tearing me down?” If it’s the latter, reframe the negative thought to a more empowering one.

The fastest way to change your life is to change your narrative. Small shifts in your mindset can trigger a massive shift in how you perceive yourself, others, and the world.

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2. Surround Yourself With Positive People

Your success in life is determined, in large part, by your environment. If you want to be an optimistic person, you have to surround yourself with optimistic people. End of story.

As Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Take a moment and think about your close circle of friends. Are they inspiring and driven people who uplift and empower you? Or are they lazy, negative, and toxic?

If it’s the latter, I hate to break it to you, but it’s time to find new friends.

When you surround yourself with positive people, you’re more likely to adopt empowering beliefs and see life as happening for you instead of to you.[4]

Decide who you want to be and find people who embody those traits. When you raise your standards, your circle will change and so, too, will your life.

3. Make Your Mental Health and Well-Being a Priority

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a drastic increase in mental health issues. The isolation, fear, uncertainty, and economic turmoil that people are facing around the world is a breeding ground for psychological distress.[5]

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Given the current state of our world, there has never been a more important time for us to make our mental health and well-being a priority.

The question remains, “How do you stay positive when everything sucks?”

It’s all a matter of perspective.

We know that the mind and body are connected. If you ignore one, the other one suffers equally as much. Research has found that taking care of ourselves physically and mentally can influence our happiness and train our brains over time to be more positive.[6]

Looking after your mind and body means creating a daily self-care ritual, consisting of eating healthy foods, exercising, meditating, doing yoga, staying connected with friends, journaling, reading, and practicing affirmations, to name a few.

Anything that helps you manage your stress and connect with the present moment is key. Even in the most challenging of times, it is always possible to find something to be grateful for. By choosing to focus on what is good in your life and what makes you happy, you will grow stronger in the face of adversity.

Now Is the Time to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Your mindset is everything. Thinking positively is as important as your skills or talents. We cannot always control our outer world, which is why it’s imperative to cultivate a strong inner world.

How you respond to adversity will determine your success in life. Have faith, trust in yourself, and believe in what is possible. When you think positively, positive things will happen.

More Tips on How to Be Optimistic

Featured photo credit: Dayne Topkin via unsplash.com

Reference

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