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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 January 21, 2020

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

        Why You Need a Vision

        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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        How to Create Your Life Vision

        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

        What Do You Want?

        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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        Some tips to guide you:

        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
        • Give yourself permission to dream.
        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

        Some questions to start your exploration:

        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
        • What qualities would you like to develop?
        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
        • What would you most like to accomplish?
        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

        A few prompts to get you started:

        • What will you have accomplished already?
        • How will you feel about yourself?
        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
        • What does your ideal day look like?
        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
        • What would you be doing?
        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
        • How are you dressed?
        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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        Plan Backwards

        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
        • What important actions would you have had to take?
        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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