Are you feeling miserable, annoyed, sad, frustrated, depressed? Don’t worry, we have all been there. Some of us a little more than others, and some feel like this constantly. “If I can just be happy today, maybe things will be better”. The question then is, how to be happy today when I feel so miserable right now? Today I want to share with you 5 simple life hacks that you can practice daily to lift your mood and your thoughts. You will soon feel a lot lighter and happier.
What is happiness?
We all want to feel happy, but when we have those negative feelings of sadness and frustration we find it very difficult to change our mindset. It is like there is no way out of the sadness and we just don’t have the strength to even try to be happy. The thing we really need to do is to understand what happiness is.
So what is happiness then? I can give you a formal definition of the word, but it is more than that. What you really need is to define happiness in the way that relates to you as an individual. What makes me happy is not necessarily the same as what makes you happy.
Here’s a formal definition of happiness:
Happiness is the state of feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.
It does make sense right? But what is pleasure and how do I feel content? Again, it goes back to the individual. You need to understand for yourself what is it that will make you feel this way. What will make you feel pleasure? What will make you feel content? Think about it for a while and define it for yourself.
You are a happy person, you don’t understand how I feel
When you see my articles, my site or even myself, you might think that I am a happy person already and that I have no idea what you are feeling or what you are going through. Truth is, I do. I do know what it is like to be miserable, to be sad, to be frustrated, to be depressed.
Something you may not know is that I have suffered from anxiety and depression for many years. I was in and out of hospital due to this. I have had treatment and programs to help me cope, and I have even been put on anti-depressants, but I still could not find happiness. Although I had loving family, a super supportive husband, a good job, nothing really to complain about, I still felt this big hole in my life. I still felt miserable.
I knew I had to get out of this state because if I didn’t, I would be stuck in a deep, dark hole and it could end up ruining my life. I searched for ways to make things better, to improve my life, to end this depression I was going through.
You might have gone through or are currently going through the same feelings as I did.
I am here to tell you that it can change. No matter how bad your situation might look in your eyes, it’s not that bad. It’s all in your mindset. If you can change your mindset then you can change your situation.
5 Life hacks to happiness today
So how did I change my viewpoint then? How did I become happier? How am I happy even today?
These are just some steps that I took. It worked for me and I am sure it will have the same results for you. You just need to be willing to do it, and also be devoted to practicing it every day. And I really mean every day. Do not skip even one day (even if you feel that today you just don’t feel up to it. Just do it, you won’t regret it).
1. Practicing gratitude
This might seem simple to do. Practicing gratitude. But actually, when you are feeling sad and frustrated it could be the hardest thing in the world. However, this is a very important step to follow. When you practice gratitude or thankfulness, you come to see that things are not as bad as you made them out to be, and that you have a lot of positive aspects in your life.
I suggest that you start with even just one thing a day to be grateful for. Write it down in a “thanks diary”, and go back to your notes ever-so-often to see how much you have actually had to be thankful for. It really uplifts your spirit and it ends up putting a smile on your face.
If you struggle to find something to be grateful for (especially when you are in one of your down moments), then think of something simple like:
“I am thankful for the air that I can breathe” (isn’t it amazing how your body takes in air to keep you alive? To keep you refreshed, to keep you conscious? I think that is a huge thing to be grateful for!).
“I am grateful for having the sense of touch” (imagine if you were not able to feel anything around you. You wouldn’t be able to lift up a pen or put food to your mouth because you wouldn’t be able to feel that it was in your hand. How amazing is it to be able to feel your own skin! Think about it for a minute. Being able to feel means that you are alive and well).
Like this, think of little things to be thankful for. You will come to see that actually those little things are very significant things. As you start with the simple things, you will find it easier to find many things to be thankful for. That is sure to make you feel happy.
I had tried practicing gratitude before, but I was never consistent. Yes, it did make me happy, but then I would stop doing it, and then I would feel miserable again. A while ago, I started practicing gratitude again. But this time I had come across a book called “The Magic” by Rhonda Byrne. This book completely transformed the way I went about this practice. Rhonda gives you a 28 day journey that you can follow. Give it a go, you will easily be able to practice gratitude which will uplift your mood from the very first day. I am still following the practices even today and I feel very happy. Practicing it every day makes a world of difference.
2. Laugh in the mirror
They say laughter is the best medicine. Is it true? Well, try it. You might feel a bit silly but trust me it works. Stand in front of your mirror, look yourself in the eye and just start laughing at yourself. If you are not feeling up to it because you are feeling down, then fake a laugh. Pretty soon that fake laugh will turn into a real laugh (it could be because while you were faking it, you started pulling funny faces which actually made you laugh).
Laughing causes your body to release dopamine and stimulates endorphins which is associated with pleasure. It basically tells your brain that you are experiencing happiness. When you laugh, you experience pleasure or happiness, and when you are happy you feel good.
3. Do what you love
When you were trying to define happiness and what it means to you, I am sure you came up with at least one thing or activity that would make you happy. Now, that activity which makes you happy (for example, spending time with family, going hiking, painting, or whatever else that makes you happy), is a very important asset that you need to utilize.
You actually need to do that thing that you love and that makes you happy. Even if it is just for 30 minutes a day, you need to get up and do it. When you are doing something that you love doing, again those happiness hormones are secreted in your brain and it makes you feel good. Even a few minutes spent on these things will brighten the rest of your day.
4. Recite self-affirmations
This might be a difficult thing to do when you are feeling depressed, but it is just as important as the rest of the steps. Self-affirmations are a way to become a better and happier you.
I remember watching a video about a monk, who explained the purpose of prayer beads. The common conception is that it is utilized in worship. However, the truth behind the beads is that they are used for affirmation.
Each morning the monk would think of a statement. A statement that speaks to the person he is and the person he wants to become. He then repeats this statement to himself, once for each bead.
You can try this practice too. Here is a very pretty affirmation necklace that can help you on your journey. The Mala beads and gemstones are beautiful, and provide mental peace.
If you like more of a neutral colour here is an aromatherapy affirmation bracelet. I also like this one because it has a silver charm with inspiring words (6 to choose from). I like the one that says “Believe”, because ultimately when we do the affirmations we need to believe what we are telling ourselves. In addition, I also always like to write down my affirmations in a journal every day.
An important note on this exercise is that you should not simply say the
statement, but you need to feel the experience, visualize the achievement and version of yourself you are trying to become. Most importantly, you need to believe the statement.
Have you ever sat in class, at work, or at home and day dreamed? Did it feel good when you day dreamed about something that you wanted or something that you wanted to do or somewhere you wanted to go? Of course, it did. That’s because again, your brain was secreting those happy hormones.
A funny thing is, your brain does not know the difference between reality and a dream. If you visualize and really put yourself in the position of what you want then your brain tells you that you actually have it and are experiencing it. And that in turn will make you happy. So dream and visualize about the things you want to do, the things that make you happy. Eventually you will get to a point where that dream really does become reality and you do end up doing what you have been dreaming.
A personal example that I can share with you is that for a long time I kept day dreaming and visualizing what it would be like to have my own business. I would be able to be my own boss, I would have my own time, I could make my own rules, I could do what I loved. There were many other aspects that made this dream pleasurable for me. It got me so happy and so excited that out of nowhere I actually started my business. I took a tiny first step and just played around with business names (I already knew what field I wanted to be in – arts and crafts). And from there the ideas, the planning and the implementation just grew and grew. Overtime, when I finished one step, I would dream about what the next step would be, which again got me happy and excited for that step.
Like this you can see that dreaming is important. If you don’t dream, then what is there to look forward to? So try it… It will make you happy.
Being happy today leads to happiness tomorrow
If you feel happy today then what is stopping you from being happy tomorrow? Practicing these life hacks daily will lead you to a happier today and a happier tomorrow.
Although you might think that you don’t have the strength to try these strategies, you need to remember that it only takes one step. Once you have taken the first step, the rest become easier with time. I know you can do it. I know you don’t want to feel sad. I know you want to feel happy today. So just take that step. Go laugh at yourself in the mirror and release those endorphins! You won’t regret it.
Have you ever felt that when you are happy then the entire world feels happy too? Well, if these strategies worked for you why not share it with others. With time, the whole world will become happy.
Feel free to leave your comments below. Do you have any other tips that worked for you? Share them below so that we can all experience joy today and every day.