It just cost me £120 to fill my car…I feel miserable every time I watch the news…A couple of weeks ago I turned 60…and hangovers last a week now!

Are thoughts like these constantly swirling around your head? It is no wonder many of us are finding it hard to stay happy during this crazy time in our lives. 

Having said that, I make sure I smile, laugh, and stay upbeat whenever I can. 

Behaviour breeds behaviour. If I am happy, others around me will be happy. Before I go into any situation where I’m meeting people, (either at work, or when I’m visiting friends or relatives), I ‘choose my mood’. If I go in with a face like a slapped fish, then others will mirror that. Go in happy and everyone is happy. Try it.

Happiness looks different for everyone. For you, maybe it’s being at peace with who you are. Or having a secure network of friends who accept you unconditionally. Or the freedom to pursue your deepest dreams.

Regardless of your version of true happiness, living a happier, more satisfied life is within reach. A few tweaks to your regular habits can help you get there.

Here are a few things you may want to try;

1. Smile

You tend to smile when you’re happy. But it’s actually a two-way street. We smile because we’re happy, and smiling causes the brain to release dopamine, which makes us happier.  That doesn’t mean you have to go around with a fake smile plastered on your face all the time. But the next time you find yourself feeling low, crack a smile and see what happens. 

2. Exercise

Exercise isn’t just for your body. Regular exercise can help to reduce stress, feelings of anxiety, and symptoms of depression while boosting self-esteem and happiness. Even small amounts of physical activity can make a difference.

3. Get plenty of sleep

No matter how much modern society steers us toward staying awake, we know that getting the right amount of sleep is great for good health, brain function, and emotional well-being.

4. Eat with mood in mind

We all know that food choices have an impact on your overall physical health. But some foods can also affect your state of mind.

5. Be grateful

Simply being grateful can give your mood a big boost, among other benefits. For example, a recent study found that practicing gratitude can have a significant impact on feelings of hope and happiness. Start each day by acknowledging one thing you’re grateful for. As you go about your day, try to keep an eye out for other pleasant things in your life. They can be big, such as knowing that someone loves you or getting a well-deserved promotion, or small, like sitting down in the evening with a glass of wine and your favourite television programme.

6. Breathe deeply

You’re tense, your shoulders are tight, and you feel as though you just might ‘lose it’. We all know that feeling.

The next time you feel stressed or at your wits end, work through these steps:

  • Close your eyes. Try to envision a happy memory or beautiful place

  • Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose

  • Slowly breathe out through your mouth or nose

  • Repeat this process several times, until you start to feel yourself calm down

  • If you’re having a hard time taking slow, deliberate breaths, try counting to five in your head with each inhale and exhale.

7. See friends

Humans are social beings and having close friends can make us happier. Who do you miss? Reach out to them. Make a date to get together or simply have a long phone chat.

8. Ditch your phone

Unplug. (Really!) Turn off all the electronics and put those ear buds away for at least one hour a day. They’ll still be there for you later. If you still want them, that is: if you haven’t unplugged in a while, you might be surprised at the difference it makes. Let your mind wander free for a change. Read. Meditate. Take a walk and pay attention to your surroundings. Be sociable. Or be alone. Just be.

9. Get into nature

Your green space could be anything from your neighbourhood park, your own backyard, or a rooftop garden — anywhere you can appreciate some nature and fresh air.

10. Take yourself out

What rule says you can’t go out alone? Go to your favourite restaurant, take in a movie, or go on that trip you’ve always dreamed of. Even if you’re a social butterfly, spending some deliberate time alone can help you reconnect with the activities that truly make you happy.

11. Let go of grudges

This is often easier said than done. But you don’t have to do it for the other person. Sometimes, offering forgiveness or dropping a grudge is more about self-care than compassion for others.

12. Choose your mood

Remember. Behaviour breeds behaviour. People will mirror your mood!

Good luck. And stay happy.

Visit Blue Turtle Mentoring and Coaching Services for more life and career advice.

Steve Messenbird

Share this article