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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

13 Simple Habits of Happiness To Change Your Outlook on Life

13 Simple Habits of Happiness To Change Your Outlook on Life

You know how some people seem to be happy no matter what happens to them?  They always have a positive outlook on life. They seem to enjoy things more than you and me, and their relationships with people thrive in a way that we only imagine.

You’ve probably wondered what it is about them that makes happiness so easy for them. Well, it turns out there is no special trick to happiness. Just like anything else, it’s just something that we have to learn to make a habit.

Incorporate the following 13 habits of happiness into your routine and you’ll start to experience joy in your everyday life:

1. Change Your Perspective

There are plenty of reasons to not be happy… Someone cut you off on the way to work. You got a ticket. You made a bad grade or got a less than stellar performance review, etc.

The interesting thing about not feeling happy when these things happen is that you aren’t in control. You have chosen to let external forces dictate how you feel about life.  When you learn that you have control over these things, simply by changing your perspective, the whole world changes.

For example, take the “someone cut you off on the way to work” scenario. By making an excuse for that person, such as that they are rushing to get their pregnant wife to the hospital (or some other emergency), you excuse their wrongdoing and are not negatively affected by it.  Hopefully, they make it to the hospital in time and bring a beautiful child into the world.

It turns out Your Perception IS Your Reality.

2. Get Some Sunlight

Sunlight makes us happy. UV rays hit the skin and the body begins to produce vitamin D ( vitamin D deficiency is associated with depression, among other things).  When the sunlight hits your eyes, it signals to your brain to slow down secretion of melatonin (a hormone that helps you sleep), and increases secretion of serotonin (a hormone associated with happiness and wakefulness).

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What does all of this mean?

Getting more sun will make you happier. If you aren’t getting at least 15 minutes of sun exposure on your skin per day, it’s a good idea to try and get out more. Take a walk during lunch, sit outside for a few minutes instead of watching TV. Make time for it.

3. Make a Life List

Life lists are awesome. They are the theme park of life planning.

Think about the things you want to experience and accomplish before you die. While it may sound like a morbid pursuit, it’s actually life changing and inspirational; especially when you make plans to start checking things off your life list.

4. Learn a New Hobby

Hobbies are fun ways to experience happiness. Whether you love to cook, play games, paint, or anything else, the joy of learning a new hobby is one of the most enjoyable endeavors you can embark upon.

When starting a new hobby, focus on the joy of just experiencing something new. There is something magical about being a “newbie,” because with every experience there is something to be gained.

5. Focus on Appreciation and Gratefulness

Learning to show appreciation and to be grateful for what you have is, in itself, a reward. People who express appreciation and take time to be grateful are happier and have more positive outlooks on life.

Start with a simple experiment. Every night before you go to bed, write down something that happened throughout the day that you are grateful for. It wont take long before that habit changes your entire perspective.

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6. Meditate Regularly

While meditation often gets the reputation of being spiritual and strange to those who don’t partake, it has benefits for practically everyone who gives it a real chance.

I don’t see meditation as spiritual. I see it as therapeutic. I sit quietly for 5-10 minutes per day (I don’t time it‒I just do it), and focus on me. Sometimes, I close my eyes; sometimes I don’t. But I focus on my breathing, I take stock on how I feel (physically and mentally), and I visualize what my day is going to look like. It’s almost like a pre-game ritual.

Try it. You wont be disappointed.

Here’s a guide to help you start meditating: Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly

7. Embrace Your Fears

Fear is one of the big zappers of happiness. Fear leads us to worry, causing stress and a focus on negativity. One way to stop fear is to begin welcoming it into your life.

Obviously, you don’t want to jump into the deep end on this one, but start small and start tackling your fears. You’ll find yourself stronger, more confident, and happier with every fear tackled.

Here’re some tips to help you: 10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear

8. Smile More

Where I live, it’s a common occurrence to exchange smiles with anyone you come into contact with. I’ve traveled enough to know this isn’t a common practice everywhere, but I think it should be.

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Smiling is easy to do, feels good, tells your brain you’re happy, and can be the one happy thing the receiver of your smile sees that day. You can brighten up the lives of people around you with just a flash of your pearly whites.

With that kind of power comes great responsibility. Use it, and use it often!

9. Exercise Regularly

There are numerous benefits to exercise. I’m sure I don’t have to convince you of that — stress relief, physical fitness benefits, etc. But my personal favorite benefit is the release of endorphins. They are natural pain and stress relievers, and they make you feel great.

I didn’t believe in the endorphin rush, or Runner’s High, as it’s commonly referred, until I started running. Now I can’t get enough.

10. Embrace Your Negativity

Some people swallow and repress the negative thoughts and feelings they have, thinking this will somehow make them happier. Unfortunately, it always seems to come back, manifesting in stress, physical pain, or otherwise.

The truth about negativity is that it’s necessary to understand and accept that sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes you will be stressed. Sometimes things will happen that you have no control over.

Understanding and accepting this will reduce the stress you feel from repression, allowing you to get back to the things that make you happy.

Try to understand your negative emotions better: Why Negative Emotions Aren’t That Bad (And How to Handle Them)

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11. Challenge Yourself

One of the greatest things you can do in life is to set the bar high and then achieve. By challenging yourself in ways that are achievable, but require work, you continue to work hard and improve yourself, often times leading to the outcome of being satisfied not with the accomplishment, but with the progress that you’ve made simply by having the goal.

Set challenging goals, and then create realistic plans to achieve them. Every achievement becomes another step on the staircase towards your greatest, happiest self.

12. Volunteer Your Time

There is no quicker way to feel happier than to help someone else, especially someone in need of help.

Volunteering your time is addicting, not just because you’re helping people in need, but because you feel good doing it. It’s a humbling way to honor humanity and be grateful for the blessings that you’ve received.

There’s tons of reasons for the good feelings associated with volunteering, but suffice it to say it’s a no-brainer for both quick and long-term happiness.

13. Posture and Breathing

Sit up straight, pull your shoulders back, and take a deep breath. Do it a few more times. Feel that?

Posture and breathing have a profound effect on your outlook on life. In just a few moments, hunching and taking weak, shallow breaths can sap the life right out of you.

Focus on sitting up with your shoulder back and taking deep breaths as often as possible, and you’ll be happier throughout the day.

Featured photo credit: Suad Kamardeen via unsplash.com

More by this author

Ibrahim Husain

Ibrahim is a management analyst who writes about communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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