We all just want to be happy. That is the life goal. It’s been proven that when people are happy, their health improves, their skin brightens, their attention span strengthens, and they have more success at work and at home.
All of that sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
But how, in this chaotic, jam-packed, and exhausting world, do we find happiness? It seems like such a long-term goal, something we have to really work towards, not something that is accessible right now.
I’m here to tell you that you can be happier NOW, just by tweaking a few things in your life.
If you want to know how to be happier, here are 5 ways to do it — even if your default is usually crabbiness:
1. Forget positivity. Focus on the negative.
Everyone tells us these days that in order to be happy we must practice mindfulness, live in the moment, and focus on the positive. While those ideas have their place, I think that the best way to be happier is by focusing on our negative thoughts.
You know those thoughts, the ones that tell you that you are worthless or ugly or unlovable? Yes, those ones. They aren’t comfortable in our body and yet how easily they settle in for a long visit.
Try this. Next time you tell yourself that you are unloveable, pull out a piece of paper and write a list of everyone who loves you. When you tell yourself you are ugly, go look at your profile picture on Facebook, you know that one where you look AWESOME.
When you tell yourself you are worthless, call your mother. She will remind you how worthless you are not.
I suggest that if we push back against, argue with, those negative thoughts it will bring about quicker change than focusing on the positive. Really, it’s very hard to access those positive thoughts when we are unhappy. The negative ones, however, are right there for the plucking.
Smiling seems like such a small thing, but it’s not. Did you know that when we use the muscles on our face to form a smile instead of a frown, we actually change our chemistry, releasing dopamine into our system which allows for an immediately improved mood?
I know that when my kids were little and I was drowning in the chaos that was my life, smiling at them made my day just a little brighter, if only for a few minutes. And then I smiled at them again because I just couldn’t resist and there I was, happy again. So I did it all day long — or tried to.
3. Lots of lovin’.
Did you know that hugging is one of the best things you can do in your life, for a variety of reasons?
A brief hug produces oxytocin which helps reduce anxiety. A prolonged hug produces serotonin which leads to increased happiness. Hugging relaxes the muscles and reduces tension. Skin to skin contact calms down the nervous system.
So hug your friends, your kids, your family members, someone who looks sad. Hug away. It’s quick and painless.
That being said, a good orgasm releases enough dopamine to guarantee you 5-7 hours of happiness. Really.
4. Watch a scary movie or an action flick…or go skydiving.
So this is an interesting thing. Whenever I am feeling blue I love to watch “The Walking Dead”. I know. And yes, I am a grown woman. I never understood why until recently.
When we watch a scary movie or an action flick, our body actually produces adrenaline and that rush of adrenaline makes us happier. When I watch “The Walking Dead”, I get a full hour dose of adrenaline which can last me well into the night.
Skydiving, helicopter skiing, and swimming with sharks have the same results, but they aren’t quite as accessible on a Wednesday night after work. But definitely try them as well if presented with the opportunity.
5. Give back in big and small ways.
Really it doesn’t take much to give back to the world.
We all have excuses about why we can’t volunteer. We are “just too busy” is usually the first one that comes out of our mouths.
But, really, you can give back to the world, every day, in small ways.
So reach out to someone every day. That crabby person running the register, smile at them. Open the door for someone, just because. Make (or buy) cookies and bring them to work.
Just thinking about doing good can make all the difference. Doesn’t it just make you feel good thinking about bringing cookies to work?
We all just want to be happy. And I would encourage you to reach out to me, the ultimate life coach, to help you work towards that goal. But there are things that you can do in the meantime, right now, to elevate your mood.
Whoever designed human beings installed mechanisms for maintaining mood and keeping us healthy and alive. We modern humans have a tough time accessing those mechanisms because we have forgotten they are there.
I have just reminded you. Go forth and use them. Be happy.
Mitzi Bockman is a New York City-based Certified Life Coach. Looking for ways to be happier? Contact her here and she can help!
This article originally appeared on YourTango. For more like this from YourTango, try:
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