If there was one thing I could give to my kids, it would be happiness. What parent doesn’t want that for their children? But the thing is… You cannot make your child be happy. And as we grow, we learn that no one else can make us happy. The tough lesson in life is that happiness is within you, not anyone else.
While I don’t want it to be true, there are people in this world who do not want the best for others. I wish everyone lived in some type of harmony where everyone is kind, helps each other, and is sincerely happy for each other. But the world is a messy place. Jealousy, bitterness, anger, and negativity are rampant emotions. Once you go down that dark path, it’s a rut that’s difficult to remove yourself from, a place in which I never want anyone to be.
Being happy with, and for, yourself is not impossible. And if more people did it, perhaps we could get back to a world where people are sincerely happy for one another. There are lots of things that can make a person happy, but if the root of happiness is from within, how do you accomplish that?
Read on for three ways to promote happiness within you every day.
1) Fill Up On Endorphins
The word “endorphins” is mostly associated with exercise. The emotional, physical, and mental benefits of exercising every day should not be ignored. I encourage you to find something you like to do and make it a constant part of your life. Some people have time for physical activity every day and I hope you’re one of those people.
And there’s another way to release endorphins too, that’s equally as important and perhaps more fun: Laughter.
Make it a point to laugh every day!
It’s best to laugh with others, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t find other ways to make yourself laugh as well.
- Follow funny social media accounts, take a quick scroll a couple of times a day.
- Tell jokes with your coworkers and family.
- Read the comics in the newspaper. (Do people still receive newspapers?)
- Watch a quick video clip of your favorite comedian.
- Play a re-run of your favorite comedy tv show.
- Get together with small groups of friends and make it a point to have a humorous conversation.
- Save funny memories on your phone and glance through them from time to time.
2) Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is most simply explained as “being thankful”.
Another definition that’s equally as important: Gratitude is the magic drug that prevents your brain from finding ways to create problems out of nothing.
It’s easiest to be grateful when things are going well, so hard to be grateful when things get rough, and practicing daily gratitude is easily forgotten when life gets busy.
The thing about gratitude is that it must become a habit. It can have lasting effects on your brain.
So how can you practice gratitude every day?
- Journaling: writing down the things you are grateful for every day or even once per week, is a great way to form a habit of gratitude. It makes gratitude a consistent part of your life.
- Dinnertime: use dinner time (or another meal) as the gratitude meal. If you say grace before eating with your family, use a few minutes to also say something you are thankful for. Many families do this around Thanksgiving; why not do it every day?
- Focusing on the Positive: When you have a bit of an off day and nothing seems to be going quite the way you want it to, at the end of the day, make sure you take a deep breath and focus on something simple in your day that went well. Promoting positivity is a form of gratitude.
- Reframe: When something negative happens, try to think of a positive. People call this “finding the silver lining”. If you practice reframing regularly it can make you thankful for various challenging times in your life, making even negative experiences a chance for gratitude.
For more information on all the ways gratitude can improve your life and promote happiness within you, please read this article.
3) Help Others
It’s been scientifically proven that helping others makes you, the giver, happier, and thus makes you live longer. (This one has some endorphins involved as well!)
So how can you help others? Sometimes there’s a big-time commitment involved, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.
- Volunteering: There are so many people in our communities who need help. Your local church has support groups, the local food bank needs manpower, park clean-ups occur on weekends and your neighbor probably needs help moving that couch, picking up that big limb after the storm, etc. It’s about doing something for someone else without expecting something in return.
- Pay it forward: when someone does something nice for you, smile and say “thank you”. Then the next opportunity you have to do something nice for someone else, seize it! It’s about perpetuating kindness all around you.
- Complimenting a stranger: You never know how someone else’s day is going. If you like his shirt, tell him. If you think her new necklace is pretty, say something. It takes nearly nothing of you to do so and you may just make someone’s day.
- Posting: Sharing positivity on social media is an easy way to reach many people. Use your platforms to share good stories, quotes, gratefulness, and laughter. It will make you feel good and who knows how many people it will reach when your friends and family share as well.
Summary & Further Reading
Happiness is within you! Make sure you try to do these three things every day, even if they are small snippets of time:
- Practice gratitude
- Help someone
Another article of supporting evidence and more ideas on happiness from within can be found here.
Happiness can be a spectrum and is often an individual battle. If you feel you are a long way from happiness and are struggling with depression, please read about 6 lifestyle changes you can make, backed by science.
What are you going to start doing to make yourself happy?
Dr. Mac says
I love your 3 “Ways to Promote Happiness Within You Every Day!” And I like the support you provide for each. Thanks for the link to “Barking Up the Wrong Tree.” That is also very good – as a result, I subscribed to that newsletter also (although I think it should be renamed “Barking Up the RIGHT Tree.” 🙂 As a Christian, I appreciate the reference in that article that going to church is associated with happiness. And I appreciated your recommendation to use dinnertime as the “gratitude meal,” and during grace, saying something you’re thankful for. Last week when walking to my office from the parking lot, a woman I greeted said “You sure are happy!” I sopped, smiled and said, “When Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, we can’t help but to be happy!” Keep up the good work! Our society certainly needs more happy people!