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10 Simple Habits to Help You Become Happier

10 Simple Habits to Help You Become Happier

According to the 2013 World Happiness Report, America is considered the 17th happiest country in the world. However, America is one of the few nations with freedom, equal rights and wealth. Why aren’t we happier?

Start your journey to a happier you by incorporating these 10 easy habits into your life.

1. Stop Shopping

Put down the plastic and step away from the cash register! According to this Science of Happiness infographic, consumerism is the biggest obstacle to happiness around the world.

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Retail therapy is only a temporary fix to make you happy. You may experience the joy of instant gratification when purchasing something you want, but, as the saying goes, “you can’t buy happiness.” Often times, shopping will lead to buyer’s guilt or jealousy because you can’t afford a certain product.

2. Work Out Often

Make a mix playlist of your favorite songs and hit the gym. Burning off calories and strengthening your muscles only touches the surface of the benefits of working out. Underneath all of your physical components lie some awesome chemicals called endorphins. When you break a sweat, these endorphins are released, and they bring about a feel-good reaction that promotes happiness. That’s why healthy people are generally 20% happier than the average person.

Ultimately, staying active can naturally cause you to feel more excitement and enthusiasm for daily activities. Adding music and friends to share in the workout experience can also lighten your stress load and help you unwind.

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    3. Eat Bananas

    It’s no doubt that this fruit is “top banana” when it comes to triggering happiness. Not only is this super food cost-effective and abundant year-round, it is also simple and portable for when you need it the most. What gives bananas their star-power is the amount of tryptophan and tyrosine they contain, which change into the hormone serotonin. Eating one banana can calm your body and mind while giving you the right amount of energy and brain power to face the day.

    4. Attend Church

    Denomination aside, attending church regularly can actually boost your mood.This simple hour can grant you time for reflection, causing you to put your worries and stresses on hold. Church can also be a place to release your stress and emotions. Additionally, church is a good place for socializing and talking with people of like minds. It doesn’t matter what walk of life you come from: a place of worship can put all in attendance on an equal playing field, joining together for a common purpose. This can put you in a better, more optimistic mood and put your issues into perspective.

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    happiness and church

      5. Volunteer

      It goes without saying that lending a helping hand is a reward in itself. Using your skills and expertise to assist the less fortunate can boost your happiness. After all, you’ve accomplished something for the greater good. Start small and maybe prepare a meal for your elderly neighbors or volunteer to cook and serve dinner at a local soup kitchen. Bringing some life and light back into someone’s life and seeing their happiness and gratitude is contagious.

      6. Enjoy Friendship

      Laughter is one of the best prescriptions for daily happiness. Find a group of friends and enjoy a distraction-free evening reminiscing and talking about your lives together. Avoid gossip and venting about problems that plague you. Chances are that you’ve fixated enough on these problems and it’s time to let things go. Keep in mind that often your friends know you well enough to give you sound advice. Take it and then let the conversation shift to something more lighthearted.

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      7. Plan Your Day

      Having a set schedule can alleviate stress and tension throughout your day. Plan your meals a week in advance and cook ahead on the weekends. Each evening, set aside a few minutes to ready clothing and items that you need for the next day. Remember, it takes at least 30 days to make a habit, so try it for a month. Each day, schedule in some flexibility or “me” time to relax. Keeping your own needs in mind is a great way to stay organized and in control of your life so you can enjoy each moment.

      8. Eat Healthy

      Eating a well-balanced meal can keep your metabolism going strong all day long. This will give you enough energy to sustain your daily routines and feel great. Strive to eat as naturally as possible. Cutting corners by eating pre-packaged and processed foods can actually make you feel lethargic and cause problems such as gas and unpleasant digestive issues. Make sure to eat plenty of lean protein like chicken or fish paired with some green vegetables for brainpower and focus. Don’t forget that banana!

      9. Turn Off the TV

      The temptation to turn on the TV for “noise” or to relax can actually be harmful to your health and your happiness. Don’t turn on the TV  while you’re doing something pleasurable and relaxing, like cooking or spending time with your family. These activities deserve your focus and will reduce your stress levels, if you aren’t multitasking.  So much television programming is made up of negative reports about crime and accidents, violence, or chaos, even having it on in the background can actually boost your stress levels. Try turing on some classical or smooth jazz music to relax your body and mind. Turn off the TV and give yourself some reflective time to read a book or play a game with your family.

      10. Meditate

      Tap into your inner wisdom in the morning for an easier and happier start to your day. Through focusing on positive thoughts, you can train yourself to view your accomplishments, your body and your relationships in a positive light. This improves your confidence and self-worth. Breathe deeply.  Challenge yourself to try the Loving Kindness Meditation. Channeling all of your love and joy to others will bring happiness back to you, magnified.

      You don’t need to change your entire life to find happiness. Start with these simple habits that can help refocus your mind on what is important and increase the joy you find in everyday living.

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      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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