It can sometimes be hard to feel happy every single day, especially at this point in time, when so many things seem to be going wrong. If you pay any attention to the news, you probably feel stressed out quite often – especially when it comes to politics. Between President Trump’s tweeting (and every other action), North Korea’s threat of nuclear activity, England’s Brexit, France’s huge election, and of course all of the devastatingly horrific things going on in the Middle East, there is no shortage of reasons to feel negative, depressed, and scared. And then, of course, you have the rest of the world news, like shootings, serial killers, gang problems, drug issues, kidnappings… the list goes on and on. The point isn’t to remind you of all the crappy things happening, it’s to point out how easy it is to let it bring you down.
In the last few months, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how hopeless and scared they feel about the state of the country and the world. I’ve been one of those people myself. Constant negative posts on social media – from myself as well – made me feel stressed out and anxious all the time. It wasn’t until I went on vacation and shut off the rest of the world for a while that I started to feel like myself again. I realized something needed to change, and it wasn’t the rest of the world that I can’t control – it was my mindset.
This is probably true for a lot of you as well. There are too many things you will never be able to change, but you CAN have control over the way you think. As corny as that sounds, learning how to have a more positive outlook can make every day happier for you, which can only be a good thing. So, here are a few tips on how to make yourself feel happier no matter what else is going on. Of course you’ll still have off days, but that’s to be expected – as long as you have more happy days than sad, that’s what really matters.
1. Say “thank you” instead of “I’m sorry.”
Tweaking certain phrases and/or words can make a big difference in the way you think and feel. This advice on how to say “thank you” instead of “I’m sorry” has been floating all over the Internet lately, and I know it sounds corny, but I also really appreciate it. This comic explains it in more detail, giving more examples as to how this can make a negative situation so much more positive. Try doing it – you’ll absolutely notice a difference.
2. Make time for self-care without sacrificing too much.
Self-care is so important – it’s essential to give yourself time to do something that makes you happy and relaxed. However, we’ve gotten to a point where we’re encouraging self-care over everything else, and that’s not… good. You won’t feel great about self-care if you’re choosing it over other important things, like deciding to take a bath instead of studying for a test because that’s stressful, or being late to your job to take a walk. That only makes things harder. Instead, schedule your self-care for the moments you have time for it so that you learn to balance what needs to be done with the things that make you feel good.
3. Go outside.
Nature is literally the BEST. There are lots of studies that show that going outside and getting some fresh air and real sunshine – like, not through a window – is the easiest way to give yourself a much need boost of energy and happiness. I don’t care if you’re not an outdoorsy person, find something out there you like it and do it, at least once a week if you really can’t stand the idea of it. Sit outside and read a book, take a walk, go on a bike ride, do… something. Anything. Just go outside.
4. Clean up a little bit.
Cleaning is not a fun task, but as tedious as it is, it also has a benefit: a clean space will make you feel more organized, clear, put together, and relaxed. I promise. I hate cleaning, and even I know this to be true. Spend 10 minutes tidying up your room every day, and it will always be on the more clean side – and so you will always feel more relaxed when you’re in there. I promise your mother did not pay me to write this (although I am open to that possibility, if we are being honest).
5. Put on a feel-good song.
Few things will pick you up as quickly as a really great, happy song will. Make a feel good playlist, like the one above, and whenever you start to feel down, listen to it on repeat. Dance around a little if you can. It makes a difference.
6. Keep yourself busy.
There are definitely times where you need to lay in bed and do nothing but watch Netflix and eat junk food. But in general, staying relatively busy will probably keep you happier. Loafing around all the time isn’t as great as it sounds! It can actually make you feel lonely and sad after a while. You’re better off staying pretty busy with a mix of things you have to do and things you actually enjoy.
7. Say “It’s not a priority” instead of “I don’t have time.”
This is another exercise in changing your language to feel happier and more positive. This one, however, shows you what you should actually be making time for. Say to yourself, for example, “I couldn’t text you back because I didn’t have time,” versus “I couldn’t text you back because it wasn’t a priority.” If saying it wasn’t a priority feels correct and right, then you’re all good. If it feels wrong, then maybe you should have done it. See what I’m saying? One major step towards happiness and zen is realizing what is worth your time and what isn’t.
8. Write down what you’re grateful for.
Not to sound like your grandma, but you should spend more time thinking about what you’re grateful for rather than what you don’t like. For example: I recently got into a slump where I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and complaining about what I didn’t have. One day, I got sick of it, and I started to write down what I was grateful for – it wasn’t until that moment that I realized how much I had to feel happy about. Of course this doesn’t mean you have no right to feel sad about certain things – you absolutely do – it just helps put things in perspective when you need to.
9. Hug an animal.
Do I need to explain? Animal hugs are the best hugs, and just cuddling with one for a few minutes will lift your spirits.
10. Talk to a friend.
Chances are good that you talk to at least one friend at least once a day. But if you don’t, then make sure you do! Even if it’s just a text or something. Listening to your friends, having fun and silly chats with them, and especially hanging out are all great ways to make your day better.
11. Skip social media.
I love social media and rely on it for my job, but honestly, it sucks when there’s too much of it. Give yourself an hour, even a half hour, of social media free time. Don’t log onto anything, read a book, watch TV, have a conversation with someone… just get away from it more.
12. Meditate or do yoga for at least 10 minutes.
If you deal with anxiety or stress on a daily basis, and haven’t tried yoga or meditating yet, you are missing out. Doing even a quick routine every day can really, really, really help with your mood and your whole body. It’s amazing. You don’t need to pay a lot of money for a class or join a gym. You can go on YouTube or Instagram or Pinterest and find how-tos for free, and do it in your living room.
13. Think about what you want, not what you don’t want.
Sorry for the inspirational quote, but seriously – change your thinking! I can’t say it enough. Stop focusing on the things you don’t like so much and start thinking about what you do like. For example, instead of saying, “Wow, my ex was such a jerk to me, I never want to meet someone like them again,” turn it into, “Here’s what I learned – I want someone who is around more often.” Instead of saying “I don’t,” turn it into “I do.”
14. Think “here’s what I can do” instead of “I can’t do that.”
This is the same kind of thinking – focus on what you CAN do instead of what you can’t. If you get a huge homework assignment, don’t think, “I can’t do all of that.” Think, “Well, here’s what I can manage…” and then go from there.
15. Get rid of negative people.
Okay, so this one isn’t exactly easy or little, but it is important. If you have a negative friend in your life who always brings you down, let that person go. Negative people will make you more negative. When I was in high school, I dated a guy who was always miserable, and it turned me into that person too. It wasn’t until we broke up that I realized how happy I could be when I wasn’t focused on the crappy stuff.
Which one of these tips are you going to try? What do you do to make your days happier? Fill us in in the comments!
say “it’s not a priority” instead of “I don’t have time” https://www.instagram.com/p/BRTwhoghT8fDJFDh6HOiNnESJlref2OtHW8_kY0/