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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

How to Be Happy in Life? 25 Ways to Make Your Life Happier

How to Be Happy in Life? 25 Ways to Make Your Life Happier

Perhaps there’s no such person in the world who wouldn’t like to be happy. We all aim for it, but not everyone succeeds. Is it genuinely possible to learn how to be happy in life? Of course!

It’s not about avoiding sadness; it’s actually about embracing the negativity in life while enjoying every moment you’ve got. It’s important to remember that true happiness is not a destination. Happiness often comes from cultivating goodness and positive feelings in life. It’s a side effect of doing good things for yourself.

However, happy moments can be brought into each and every day in order to take steps toward learning how to have a happy life overall.

Here is a list of 25 simple things you can do to make your life happier.

1. Get a Massage

Who wouldn’t mind receiving a pleasant massage? No matter whether it’s performed by a professional or by your spouse, gentle touches make everyone feel happy and good.

One article pointed out that “the physiological effects that most commonly occur during a massage to help reduce stress include increased endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, decreased cortisol and increased tissue”[1].

All of these effects are great for increasing levels of happiness.

2. Talk With Friends

When you talk to somebody who understands you very well and who can support you and help you whenever you need, it can lead you to feel lighter and happier. Humans are social animals[2], so these social connections will help your life satisfaction overall.

3. Go for a Walk

You need to spend time outdoors at least an hour a day. Walking outdoors can greatly improve your mood and will help you stay fit and healthy, thus making you a little bit happier.

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4. Listen to Music

Listening to music can be a great thing to do when you want to learn how to be happy in life. But be careful…the music you choose is important. Research shows that “Happiness ratings were elevated for fast-tempo and major-key stimuli, [and] sadness ratings were elevated for slow-tempo and minor-key stimuli”[3].

Basically, this means that upbeat, fast-paced music boosts happiness, but the study also made the important observation that it greatly depends on which music you think sounds happy.

5. Avoid Negative Thoughts

Stop thinking only of bad things, get rid of your fears, and try to be an optimist. Avoid negative topics for discussing. Don’t watch bad news on TV every evening. All this can make you depressed and make it difficult to learn how to have a happy life.

6. Find Your Meaning

Be sure of your uniqueness, and to do that, look internally and find your true calling. Only then will you find your place in this world.

If you’re not sure how to find meaning, check out this article to get you started.

7. Take a Relaxing Bath

Prepare a relaxing bath. You can even put in a few drops of essential oils, such as lavender or lemon. A bath will relax you, as well as help you feel cleansed, which will make you feel much happier.

8. Practice Meditation

Meditation, as with other relaxation practices, raises the level of your energy and improves your mental health. Try to meditate at least once a day. It’s also very useful to meditate when out in nature.

Many studies have suggested that mindfulness and self-compassion, in particular, are indicators of increased happiness, so try to aim to participate in mindfulness meditation or a loving-kindness meditation[4].

9. Buy Something for Yourself

Take yourself out and buy yourself something nice. It doesn’t have to be a holiday or a birthday. When you want to cultivate happiness, show yourself some kindness by offering yourself a gift for just being you!

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10. Dance

Any kind of dancing is a great thing to raise your mood, shake off negative emotions, express your personality, and live a happier life.

11. Do Yoga

A yoga practice can soothe your mind and give you more energy. Doing it regularly can be a great step when you want to learn how to be happy in life.

One study found that “Yoga practitioners were more likely than college students to report having strong morals and healthy values as well as the ability to express their feelings and consider the feelings of others”[5].

Of course, expressing feelings is key to cultivating positive emotions and happiness.

12. Help Someone

Helping others is a great way to become happier. When doing this you feel positivity inside you. You know that you’re doing something good.

13. Read a Good Book

Whether you like the classics, mysteries, or fantasy stores, pick up a book that interests you and let yourself get lost in it for an hour or two. You’ll be surprised how great it makes you feel.

14. Cook a Healthy Meal

Cooking is something you can do alone or with someone you love. It’s even better if you prepare something healthy and delicious to offer your body a nutrition boost to support your brain and body.

15. Do Something for Your Home

Your home is where you spend most of your time, where you relax, raise your family, and maybe even work. So do something for your home. Make it as comfortable and nice as you can.

16. Make a Plan

Making plans for your future is a powerful thing. There are no guarantees that all of them will be fulfilled, but the more you plan, the bigger the chances are that you’ll succeed in your life.

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If you’re not sure what to plan, try to plan a big vacation. An article in The Atlantic points out that, even if you never go, you’re still getting the benefits of pre-vacation anticipation, as well as gaining a sense of control over a future that may seem hard to imagine[6].

17. Go on a Picnic

Go on a picnic with your friends and family. Spend some time outdoors, enjoying nature, breathing fresh air, and having fun.

18. Go Swimming

Swimming or floating in pools, lakes, or seas is a great way to relax, feel good, and enjoy your life.

19. Get Some Exercise

Physical activity will not only help you to keep fit and remain healthy, but it will also improve your mood and help you to get rid of stress[7].

Learn how to have a happy life by exercising more!

    Studies show that “as little as 10-min physical activity per week or 1 day of doing exercise per week might result in increased levels of happiness”[8]. It doesn’t take much, so get up and get some exercise!

    20. Cultivate a Healthy Lifestyle

    Bad habits negatively influence your life. And it’s not only smoking or drinking. It may be laziness, spending too much time on social media, spending money on unimportant things, etc. Being unhealthy can push you further away from learning how to live a happy life in the long term.

    21. Keep a Journal

    Keeping a journal will help you to analyze yourself, understand your emotions, and improve your relationships, work, etc. It’s a great way to connect with yourself in a new way.

    Check out this article to learn about the many benefits of journaling.

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    22. Make a Photo Album

    Having a photo album is a great way to recollect on life and think of the happiest moments. Bringing to mind positive memories can help you experience more happiness now.

    23. Give and Receive Love

    Loving someone and receiving love can be a great way to cultivate happiness. This also applies to loving yourself! Show yourself some love every day by doing something good for yourself. Treat yourself as you would want to be treated by a loving partner.

    24. Spend Time Alone

    Being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely. When you spend time by yourself, you can learn more about what you like and don’t like. It’s a good chance to think over your problems, to analyze your work, and make plans for the future.

    25. Spend Time With Your Kids

    What can be better than watching your kids grow, playing with them, and making them smile and laugh? This can bring great moments of happiness when you want to learn how to be happy in life.

    Final Thoughts

    Remember, happiness isn’t a myth. It’s just all up to you. You build your own fate and create your own happiness.

    In the end, you can’t chase happiness because it’s not something outside of you. You have everything you need to produce your own happiness in this very moment, no matter your circumstances.

    Stop trying to find happiness and start enjoying the little things in life to feel happy.

    More on How to Be Happy in Life

    Featured photo credit: Courtney Cook via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Roman Soluk

    Roman writes about positive thinking and happiness at Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on January 15, 2021

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

    Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

    Posture

    First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

    • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
    • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
    • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
    • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

    All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

    Facial Expressions

    Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

    • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
    • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
    • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

    If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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    1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

    A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

    The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

    This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

    2. Relax Your Face

    New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

    The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

    To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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    3. Improve Your Eye Contact

    Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

    The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

    To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

    3. Smile More

    There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

    Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

    4. Hand Gestures

    Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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    It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

    5. Enhance Your Handshake

    In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

    “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

    It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

    6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

    As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

    Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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    Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

    Final Takeaways

    Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

    If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

    More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

    Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

    Reference

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