People say, “Happiness starts from within.”
Nothing could be more true.
You can’t expect anyone or anything to give you the fulfillment you crave. You have to find that for yourself.
But what if tackling your whole emotional well-being feels like too daunting of a task?
What if you just want to feel a little bit more motivated, more energized and all-around happier, right now?
Good news: There are ways you can start improving your happiness by simply making a few adjustments to your environment and the way you interact with it.
Think of the following as your happiness starter pack:
1. Keep a clean living space.
The cleanliness of your living space can have a huge impact on the cleanliness of your mind. When your space is clear, your mind will be clear.
As someone who has spent 18 years defending her messy room in the interest of “creativity,” I feel like I’m allowed to say this.
Having a clean room and a clean mind has increased my creativity and made me a much happier person.
2. Get rid of old stuff and unnecessary nicknacks.
Seriously, do it. I know it’s hard, but you will feel so much freer once it’s done.
You’ll probably realize the only reminders of the past you really need are the memories.
Only keep the things that are either extremely meaningful or add to the character of your living space.
For instance, I’ve done a lot of crappy art projects in my life. They all went into the trash, except for an artfully sloppy watercolor of a sunset I rather like.
It lifts my mood and reminds me of the good old days, when I thought I could be an artist. It also fits with the color scheme of my room.
You get the picture.
3. Don’t spend on things you don’t really want or need.
If you’re spending money on little things you don’t really need, the excitement of buying something nice for yourself is going to lose its meaning.
You’re just going to feel like a cluttered and financially unstable mess. Be frugal, and practice financial conservatism.
That way, when something is worth it, you won’t feel guilty or pinched for indulging.
4. Be selective about the people in your life.
You know those people with whom you can be authentic? Keep them close.
You don’t have to banish the people who don’t fit this bill from your life, but don’t pay them as much mental energy or let them affect your mood.
This will help you to retain a lot more of your positive energy, and you'll have more to give to the world as a result.
5. Eat healthy.
This is not about maintaining a certain diet or looking a certain way. Putting healthy, nourishing foods into your body is the ultimate form of self-care.
The foods we eat not only give us the energy we need to go about our lives, but they also play a role in making up the tissues that comprise our very bodies.
Enjoying the indulgent foods you love is part of eating healthy, too. What you should strive for is a balanced attitude toward food.
This doesn't mean certain food is labeled inherently evil, but you recognize the foods you choose have an impact on the health and functioning of your body.
The rush of endorphins provided by exercise is a quick path to a jolt of happiness, like an emotional Red Bull.
Keep up an exercise regimen that works for you, and you'll find yourself not only happier and more comfortable in your body, but proud of the amazing things it is able to do.
7. Engage in your passions.
Whatever you do, always make time for your passions.
Not only are they guaranteed mood-lifters, but focusing on what you love could be the start of the career of your dreams.
Even if you don’t think your passions will take you anywhere professionally, you should always prioritize them.
They will take you to a more inspired and fulfilled mental place. This has huge impacts on the other areas of your life, even if you don’t become a famous musician.
8. Clean out or fill in your calendar.
Having too much or too little to do can be detrimental to your mental health.
If you’re too busy, you don’t have time to get in touch with yourself. This will prevent you from learning and growing as a person.
Conversely, if you have too little to do, you’re going to start overthinking everything in your life, and that’s definitely not going to help you to blossom.
Create a schedule that makes you feel balanced, productive and inspired.
Sometimes, you’re going to be overwhelmed, and sometimes, you’re going to be bored. That’s okay.
We need those extremes to know when to stop and reflect and when life is urging us to get up and make a move.
9. Fill your life with things that have meaning to you.
The other day, I was passing through a farmer’s market and saw a stand with African violets for sale.
I also kind of wanted to buy a necklace, but I ended up buying a violet.
I love to garden, and I knew nurturing the small life of that flower and watching it grow would make me consistently happy in a way a necklace couldn't.
Now, I’m not saying you should never indulge yourself. If you want the necklace, buy the f*cking necklace.
But, it’s important to remember that building a happy life is less about collecting things and more about enjoying and appreciating the world around you.
Be a lover, not a hoarder.
10. Do yoga.
Yoga is pretty much the ultimate example of working from the outside-in when it comes to your mind.
You don’t have to ponder your path in life or think about all the ways you could be happier. You’re not supposed to think about anything.
All you do is set an intention for the practice (such as, “I want to do more yoga”), focus your physical energy toward this intention and let your body do the work.
Sometimes, there’s only so much you can figure out in the present moment, and you just have to show up to life with a smile.