We all just want to be happy. That is the life goal. It has 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 am here to tell you that you can be happier NOW, just by tweaking a few things in your life.
#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, 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 un-loveable? 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 un-loveable 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 in which 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.
Because, really, it’s very hard to access those positive thoughts when we are unhappy. The negative ones, however, are right there for the plucking.
#2 – Smile.
Smiling seems like such a small thing but it’s not. Did you know that when we use the muscles in 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’.
Yes, I know. Sex is great. Really great. But what I am talking about here is physical affection.
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 ways and small.
Really it doesn’t take much to give back to the world.
We all have excuses about why we can’t volunteer – that 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.
Last week I ran into a woman on the streets of NYC. It was early morning and we were walking our dogs. I complimented her on her clogs, footwear that is rarely seen here in the city. We chatted about clogs for a bit and I bid her good morning. She said that me reaching out to her “made her day.” That I made her feel good made me feel good.
So reach out to someone everyday. 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? For many reasons….
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.
Do you want to be happier, quickly?
Let me help you, NOW, and you can start loving your life today!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.