10 Small Things That Make You Happy When You Need That Boost The Most
Sometimes it's the little things in life that we need to pay attention to the most, since many of us tend to focus on massive milestones or life events as sources of future happiness. We hope for a salary raise, wish for a proposal, or daydream about moving to a foreign city. But the truth is that it's the small things that make you happy and make you feel your best in your everyday life.
Instead of worrying about larger things (which are often out of your control anyways), the best thing you can do for your daily happiness is to pay attention to, and learn to incorporate, the little things that work to boost your mood. Happiness is, in some ways, a measurable science, which is excellent news for all of us. The more activities you're aware of that work to release feel-good chemicals into your brain, the better. The more strategies you have to reach that trigger, the better.
Whether it's sex, meditation, or a long walk on the beach with a furry floof, it's good to have a wide range of feel-good strategies for the days when you're feeling anything but good. Besides, none of these things have to be hard to achieve. You don't need to go to a theme park or the zoo to find happiness. Here are 10 easy ways to feel happier when you need a boost the most.
1. Blasting Music In The Car
When you're stuck in traffic listening to yet another podcast explaining just how dire our political situation is, or just how close we are to the end of days, it might be time to cut loose and give yourself a break.
Throw on a playlist, and jam it out until you're screaming at the top of your lungs and moving your car from dancing so hard. Listening to music will release dopamine in your brain, thus triggering an emotional release that will put you in a better mood.
2. Forcing A Smile
Forcing a smile, even when you're in a terrible mood, is actually an effective way to enter a good mood.
When we smile, we send endorphins to our brains, thus making us more likely to quite literally turn a frown upside down. When you feel frustrated or down, forcing a smile can be the fastest way to turn your day around, and it'll probably make everyone around you feel a bit better, too.
3. Watching A Video Of A Kitten Having A Nightmare
You know those internet rabbit holes you tend to fall down, the ones loaded with endless hours of footage of baby pandas and little kittens? Yeah, those are actually good for your mental health.
When you watch a cute video, you experience a massive flood of the warm and fuzzy feels to your brain (which can sometimes lead to a desire to kill that warm and fuzzy animal, but that's neither here nor there; let's focus on the positive, shall we?).
4. Snacking On Some Chocolate
Chocolate may not always be "technically" good for your health, but it's certainly good for your soul. And that's not just because it tastes so good, either. Chocolate contains certain chemicals that, when eaten, release neurotransmitters in the brain to inspire feelings of positivity. What more of an excuse to do you need to stock up on your next grocery run?
5. Getting Naked
As humans, we apparently love funny business so much that it makes us happier than the idea of being wealthy. According to a study by the University of Toronto, having sex at least once a week makes people happier than a $50,000 pay raise overall.
I personally think we should be able to have both, but that's another conversation for another day.
6. Making Time For More Fluff In Your Life
People who own pets are statistically more happy on average than those who live a fluff-free life.
Maybe don't sprint to the shelter to adopt a dog on a whim if you know you travel for work all the time, but what you can do is find a friend with a fluffy pet, and still reap all the same benefits and enjoy all that unconditional love.
Research shows that incorporating a daily meditation practice, even if for only a few minutes, can increase your overall happiness. People who find time to meditate for 15 to 20 minutes daily, and are able to turn this practice into a routine, tend to experience higher levels of positivity, mindfulness, and increased life satisfaction.
8. Practicing Your Positive Thinking
There are certain traits of mindfulness that, when properly focused upon, will make you feel happier overall. These five traits include being grateful, being optimistic, counting your blessings, using and paying attention to your strengths, and committing acts of kindness.
Try combining several of these mindful traits at once, and meditate on what you're grateful for in your life, or what you're looking forward to in the short-term.
9. Enjoying An Endorphin Boost
One of the easiest ways to improve your mood is to work out. Exercise not only triggers the release of endorphins in your body — which then makes you feel good — but it also serves as a remedy for a whole host of other issues. It's also been shown to be an excellent deterrent for depression and Alzheimer's, not to mention a crucial component of maintaining bodily health, of course.
10. Watching A Nature Documentary
Watching a lion rip apart an antelope carcass might not be your most immediate solution to a long, terrible day at work, but it should be. A research study titled "The Happiness Product" revealed that watching documentaries such as Planet Earth actually makes us happier, leading to positive emotions like awe and contentedness, and minimizing negative emotions like stress and anxiety.
So, what are you waiting for? Go binge some Netflix, guys.