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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

14 Things That Make You Happy and Enjoy Life More

14 Things That Make You Happy and Enjoy Life More

Do you ever come across people who are always upbeat and no matter what life throws at them? While people can be genetically disposed toward happiness, it’s more likely that these people have simply discovered more of the things that make you happy in life and utilize them to their advantage.

The good news is that you can increase your own happiness quotient by doing these 14 things that make people happy.

1. Start With a Good Dose of Gratitude

Being consciously aware of what you’re thankful for can actually change your level of happiness.

When you wake up each morning, spend time recalling all the things for which you feel grateful. Before you go to bed, you can keep a gratitude journal. Write down 3 to 5 things that you felt grateful for that day and why. Use all five senses to imagine these things vividly in order to help you brain latch on to all that goodness.

Gratitude leads to more things that make you happy

    One study found that, among mindfulness, belief in personal control, and gratitude, “happiness among students was primarily predicted by gratitude”[1].

    You can learn how to start a gratitude journal here.

    2. Make Sure You’re Giving Back

    Do you give 10% of your income to your favorite charity or organization? Instead of spending money on yourself, you’ll feel happier giving to others.

    There’s something about giving that allows you to receive more in return besides just the act of giving to help others. When you give, you’re sending a message to the Universe that you know everything’s going to be alright.

    According to a study published in 2010, “people experienced happier moods when they gave more money away—but only if they had a choice about how much to give”[2]

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    By giving, you’ll be taken care of, too. You see it from those with very little to those who have millions: you have to give to get, and by doing that, your happiness increases. You’ll feel better as well when you accomplish your goals.

    3. Laugh Every Day (It’s Better than Money)

    Do you spend time each day laughing? Do you purposefully find happy things to laugh about?

    When you laugh, you release happy hormones called oxytocin and endorphins. These are hormones that uplifts us as we share experiences with others. Even just making yourself smile will put you in a better place.

    It is thought that the fact that laughter releases these hormones in order to promote social bonding, so try getting together with friends for a good dose of laughter, as well as increased social connection[3]. These are things that make you happy.

    4. Foster Good Relationships With Family and Friends

    Happy people don’t spend large amounts of time alone. By spending time with people you like and love, you forge supportive relationships that help people feel better during times of stress.

    You also bond with others through common experiences, such as life’s ups and downs. They become your support network and help bring more of the things that make people happy.

    People who don’t spend as much time with family or friends are more prone to loneliness and depression. Here’s How to Tell If You Are Fostering Positive Relationships in Life.

    5. Take Some Alone Time

    In contrast to spending time with family and friends, it’s important to step back and take some time for yourself in order to cultivate self-care.

    You can recharge your spirit and find a little peace. Taking some time away and being alone can do wonders for your mood and outlook, as well as help you find the meaning of true happiness.

    Use this time to do more of the things that make you happy, such as a favorite hobby, exercise, or simple relaxation. Even just sitting in the sun or listening to your favorite song can improve your life satisfaction in the short term.

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    6. Do What You Love

    Have you ever heard the phrase, “Do what you love, and the money will follow?” Doing things that you love to do–and even better, getting paid for it–are good ways to boost your levels of happiness.

    When work feels like play, you’re more likely to enjoy other aspects of your life more, too.

    7. Volunteer Your Time

    When you give your time or talent, your focus shifts from your life to that of others.

    This can help you realize that your own problems may not be that bad. You invariably forge new relationships and experience an uplift in your spirit.

    Furthermore, volunteering can give you a sense of purpose and keep you active during downtime in your life. It will also increase self-confidence as you begin to feel better about yourself and your place in the world[4].

    8. Get Enough Exercise

    Among the things that make you happy, few are as well researched as exercise. When you take time out for exercise, you’re doing your body good in more ways than one.

    First, you’re doing what it was designed to do: physical exertion. Humans were made to move around, and the body works best when it does what it was meant to do.

    Furthermore, as you exercise, you release a ton of feel-good hormones. These hormones can help increase happiness levels, as well as lower stress.

    One study found that “Exercisers were more satisfied with their life and happier than non-exercisers at all ages”[5]. And the good news is that it takes as little as 30 minutes to gain the amazing benefits of exercise.

    Try these 10 Simple Morning Exercises to Make You Feel Great All Day

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    9. Avoid Regrets

    We all make mistakes in life–that’s part of the human condition. However, with a little forethought, you can try to avoid making big mistakes and focus more on the happy things in life.

    Even then, they still happen. That’s when it’s best to learn to forgive–yourself and others–because everyone else just trying to get through life the best they can, too. They’ll make mistakes, but the trick is moving on from them.

    10. Take Time to Meditate

    Sitting down, lighting a candle and doing some deep breathing for 10 minutes is all it takes to relax your mind and body.

    In doing so, you get in touch with your inner-self, and invariably, you’ll get to know your values and priorities a little better. That’s definitely a booster on the happiness scale and will lead you toward more of the things that make you happy.

    11. Deal With Clutter

    Are you overrun with books and papers piled everywhere? Too much mail sitting on the table? Why not tackle a small task each day for a month in an effort to de-clutter your life?

    When you’re not running around looking for items you can’t find, and when everything has its place, you’ll automatically be less stressed and in a better mental state.

    That’s a great place to be on Monday morning when you’re trying to get out the door and you already know where the lunchboxes are, and the bills you have to mail.

    Here’s a guide to help you declutter: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

    12. Get Enough Rest

    Among the things that make people happy, sleep is one of the easiest and most natural. Ever notice how cranky you are in the afternoon when you’ve only had 5 or 6 hours of sleep? Many of us are suffering from sleep deprivation, which can lead to higher levels of stress and edginess.

    Research has shown that simply getting enough sleep “improves memory, increases people’s ability to concentrate, strengthens the immune system and decreases people’s risk of being killed in accidents”[6].

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    After a good night of sleep, you can tackle your daily tasks in a more calm, alert way. It’s so much better than experiencing that awful sluggish feeling in that oh-so-important meeting with your boss. Your body will thank you, too.

    13. Eat Healthier Foods

    You’ve heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.” Healthy, nutritious foods not only make your body feel good, but they can improve your mental health as well.

    If you spend your time eating package after package of boxed noodles, canned dinners, or fast food, your body is going to let you know by gaining weight, feeling sluggish, and quite possibly having a host of health problems. How can you look and feel your best if the foods you eat are not good for you?

    By eating better, you’re not only taking care of yourself, but you’ll also feel more vibrant and energetic. You’ll literally be healthier from the inside out.

    Try the tips in this article: How to Start Eating Healthy No Matter How Old You Are

    14. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

    This is definitely easier said than done, but if you can condition your mind to focus on the good that you are doing and the good things in your life, you’re not going to be tempted to focus on how others are doing.

    Research on the effects of social media use has found that upward comparisons on social media are associated with lower self-esteem[7].

    Here are some tips to help you stop comparing yourself to others.

    Final Thoughts

    Happiness comes from all the small things and habits you do every day. If you want to start living a happy life, practice these 14 happy things and fit them into your daily routine!

    More on Things That Make You Happy

    Featured photo credit: Matheus Ferrero via unsplash.com

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    Cyndi Calhoun

    Cyndi is a passionate writer who writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on July 20, 2021

    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

    You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

    Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

    Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

    Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

    1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

    According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

    “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

    Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

    Warming up

    If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

    If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

    Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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    1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
    2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
    3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

    Stay hydrated

    Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

    To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

    Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

    Meditate

    Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

    Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

    Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

    Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

    2. Focus on your goal

    One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

    Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

    Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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    Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

    If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

    3. Convert negativity to positivity

    There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

    ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

    It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

    Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

    Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

    Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

    4. Understand your content

    Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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    However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

    “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

    Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

    Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

    One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

    5. Practice makes perfect

    Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

    In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

    Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

    6. Be authentic

    There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

    Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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    Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

    To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

    With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

    Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

    7. Post speech evaluation

    Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

    Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

    We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

    You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

    Improve your next speech

    As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

    Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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    • How did I do?
    • Are there any areas for improvement?
    • Did I sound or look stressed?
    • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
    • Was I saying “um” too often?
    • How was the flow of the speech?

    Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

    If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

    Reference

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