Happiness is a state of mind that almost everyone desires, but many people either find it too fleeting or consider it an unattainable goal due to different reasons and circumstances. Being happy can be especially difficult when you are recovering from an illness or dealing with grief. By being a state of mind, happiness also requires the mind to be in a state to process and indulge happy feelings. But contrary to what you may have been told, true happiness is achievable and only requires a committed effort towards making the necessary adjustments to attain it. This article will provide you with some practical and science-based tips on how to be happy again when nothing seems to be working.
1. Sleep More
It is easy to lose sight of the importance of a good night of sleep when faced with multiple challenges – sometimes, all one can do is stay up at night, thinking. However, people who sleep well are generally happy compared to those who don’t sleep well and are less sensitive to negative emotions. Sleeping well is not just about sleeping early or at a specific time of the day, but it is rather determined by the quality of sleep you have. Regular sleep is a vital component of a healthy life, and it is known to bolster productivity.
The ideal sleep range, as recommended for adults, is between 7 to 9 hours every night. Learn to switch off mobile phones or similar devices when you are in bed and ensure your sleeping posture and environment are comfortable. If you are consistently having problems when it comes to maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, it may be as a result of a sleeping disorder, and you should get in touch with a doctor as soon as possible.
2. Define Your Happiness
Happiness, like most things in life, is a feeling that means different things to different people. For some people, happiness is the warm taste of chocolate in their mouth, while for other people, they derive happiness from paying the bills. Happiness to you could be seeing your loved ones safe or when you achieve a personal goal. When seeking a happier life, knowing what makes you happy and choosing the kind of happiness you need goes a long way to providing you with the clarity of mind you need when seeking to be happy again.
One of the ways you can do this is to make a mental note of all the times you were happy, examine why you were happy in those moments, and plan how you can experience more of those moments. Happy people know what makes them happy and why which helps them feel happy on a more consistent basis. On the other hand, acknowledging situations most likely to make you unhappy will also enable you to make a deliberate effort to avoid those situations.
3. Make Time To Exercise
Exercising is a form of therapy in itself, a process in which the body takes in positive energy and converts it to physical strength. A recent study that touches on how to be happy again shows that a few minutes of physical activity once a week is enough to trigger an increase in happiness. Exercise stimulates the brain to release feel-good hormones like dopamine, endorphin, oxytocin, and serotonin, the four primary chemicals responsible for happiness.
Interestingly, you do not need to be engrossed in any rigorous physical activity to trigger these chemicals. Physical activities like walking, swimming and dancing improve physical well-being, leading to increased self-esteem and anxiety reduction. The physical benefits of exercise are enormous, but its positive impact on the emotional well-being of happy people makes it an essential habit to cultivate. Exercises like yoga, which deals with physical and mental harmony, have been proven to be a genuine aid in attaining happiness.
4. Watch What You Eat
It is a common saying that happy people eat happy foods, but what we eat matters just as much as why we eat. Rarely do people associate nutrition with mental health, but the thought, sight, smell, or taste of certain meals can stimulate pleasant emotions that can positively alter your mood. The negative effects of overeating are well documented. Though there is still a debate on what qualifies as healthy food, eating fruits and vegetables is an excellent investment in your long-term mental well-being.
Amino acids like tryptophan, which is necessary to produce the good-feel chemical serotonin, can be found in protein-rich meals; in the same way, meals containing a high amount of tyrosine and quercetin help improve dopamine levels. Some of these amino acids can be found in everyday snacks like fruits, chocolate, seafood, nuts, dairy products, and vegetables. If you find yourself feeling unhappy regularly, then your kitchen may be an excellent place to start in your quest to be a happier person.
5. Change Your Routine
Doing the same thing every day can be a stumbling block when looking for how to be happy again. Unhappy people tend to lack excitement in their life, which often erodes their ability to be creative or optimistic. But beyond changing your routine, you may also need to change your environment if you want to be happy again. Traveling is a great way to escape the routine of an environment that is making you unhappy.
Traveling broadens your perspective and general exposure and can be an enriching experience that helps you discover your happy place. Travel also helps you gain a more definite sense of self, enhances your creativity and confidence, and improves your ability to form deep emotional relationships. A recent study on the impact of travel on mental health reveals that most people experience a great increase in happiness before going on a trip and maintain a less anxious outlook on life afterward. However, keep in mind that happiness is not a destination; it’s a journey.
6. Be Grateful
It may seem like a cliché or a myth sold by motivational speakers as an antidote against despair, but a thank you a day can keep the doctor away. People who exhibit a high sense of gratitude are more likely to be optimistic and tend to feel better about themselves, unlike people who believe they have no reason to be grateful for anything. Gratitude helps curb the rise of negative emotions like frustration, guilt, envy, anger, and regret.
Many people find it difficult when looking for how to be happy again because they often devote too much time and energy to judge themselves by the realities and expectations of other people or to compare the past to the present. Gratitude boosts your self-esteem, which ultimately enhances your confidence, and adds up to make you a more productive and amiable human being.
7. Surround Yourself With Happy People
A happy person is at greater risk of feeling unhappy when in the company of unhappy people. One of the major contributing factors to living a happy life is by associating with people who have a positive attitude to life. From merely engaging with people who have a pleasant and optimistic outlook and paying attention to how they handle adverse situations, you can learn a lot on how to be happy again.
Happy people are often supportive, selfless, realistic, purposeful, cheerful, empathetic, creative, and energetic. While unhappy people are not always bad people, their negative disposition to life often makes it difficult for them to form or sustain healthy relationships. According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, one of the world’s leading experts on emotional intelligence, constant exposure to negativity can affect the neurons in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that regulates learning, emotion, memory, and motivation. If you happen to have family and friends whose mindset can make your life happier, then, by all means, endeavor to spend more time with them.
8. Seek Professional Therapy
If you experience chronic or acute mental health issues like anxiety and depression, you may need some professional guidance on being happy again. However, therapy is not only for people going through severe psychological issues or mental disorders, as it can be an effective medium to deal with behavioral concerns that hinder your ability to be a happy person.
Therapy involves speaking to a specialist on personal issues ranging from but not limited to stress, anxiety, despair, abuse, trauma, addiction, and stigma. Therapy aims to address your experience with some of these issues and how they influence your relationship with people and your perception of yourself. The primary objective of therapy is personal development, which may improve your mental and emotional well-being. The impact of therapy on happiness has been estimated to be more effective than material resources, and it can help you avoid other health problems.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What can make me happy again?
It is common to feel like life is passing you by, and when you really think about it, you haven’t really felt happy in a while. You might begin to feel sad because you’ve drifted away from where you hoped you would be at your current age, or you’re upset that you’ve lost touch with friends who you thought would be in your life forever. Life might feel much more difficult than you had expected it to be. The good news is that everyone feels this way from time to time, and there are small steps you can implement to begin to live a happy life.
One of the best ways to get out of the funk you’re in is to do what brings you meaning. When people don’t know their purpose in life, it can be easy to turn on the television and zone out. However, over time the unhappiness will build up because unhappiness stems from a feeling of meaninglessness. In moments of unhappiness and when you’re unsure what your true life’s purpose is, you should try working on a project that demands your skills and abilities, or you fully immerse yourself in your experience, whatever that may be, and share it with your loved ones. By working on projects that demand skills that you are good at, you’ll start to feel happier because you are engaging in important work that will help someone other than yourself. Similarly, by immersing yourself in your present moment, you’ll give yourself the freedom to begin to explore your emotions and why you’re feeling a certain way.
While the first two suggestions offer more long-term approaches that require constant work, there are plenty of other things you can try to make yourself happier in the short term. Some suggestions include listening to your favorite feel-good song, writing down 3 positive things each day, getting outside, taking a walk, learning something new, talk to a friend, try something new, smile, help someone, read something, or treat yourself. The options really are endless. The point is that you get out of your head and redirect your focus and energy to activities that you genuinely enjoy doing.
Can you choose to be happy?
Life can throw us difficult situations, but how we react to those situations and what emotions we choose to process those experiences are completely within our control. Many happy people realize happiness is a choice and that it is up to them to choose it every day intentionally. Research in the field of positive psychology continues to reinforce this understanding. However, knowing that happiness is a choice is not enough; rather, you have to make a conscious effort every day to be happy.
Some ways you can choose to be happy are easier than others, such as smiling every day, holding back a complaint, eating healthy, treating others well, and accomplishing one task a day. Others take more practice before they become easily integrated into your daily life. Some of these include practicing one life-improving discipline – this could be exercise, budgeting, guided learning, or whatever else your life needs. Others include waking up a little bit earlier than you normally would to establish a meaningful morning routine so that you can start the day on your own terms. People who choose to be happy also count their blessings and speak daily affirmation into their lives.
There are plenty of other things you can do to choose to be happy. The most important thing is that you choose and continue to work on implementing happiness into your everyday life, regardless of what life throws your way.
How can I trick my brain into being happy?
When we feel unhappy, it can seem like a nearly impossible task to make ourselves happy. You might not even know how to “feel happy” when you’re really down in the dumps. The good news is that there are some ways that you can trick your brain into being happy.
The first is by hanging out with people who smile. One study found that happiness is contagious. Happy people tend to be at the center of social networks made up of other happy people. The study found that the emotion appears to radiate and spread throughout the group. While hanging out with someone who is overly happy might seem like the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling anything but happy, simply being around a happy person will trick your brain into thinking you are happy. Similarly, another study found that simply smiling yourself can trick your brain into thinking you’re happy – and yes, that does include fake smiles.
Exercise is another great way to change your mood. Even a single workout can improve how you’re feeling. A 2009 study found that the post-exercise “glow” can last as long as 12-hours, thereby making your day a little happier than it otherwise would have been.
Volunteering or using your money to do something nice for someone else are other great ways to trick yourself into thinking you’re happy. When we do something for someone else, we create a meaningful connection with that other person and give our life meaning, which makes us feel happy.
There are plenty of other options, such as listening to your favorite songs or treating yourself to your favorite food, that can help put you in a better mood. The goal is to figure out what works for you, so the next time you’re feeling unhappy, you can quickly trick your brain into thinking it’s happy.
Does smiling trick your brain?
In one research study, subjects who smiled after a stressful activity decreased their heart rate more quickly than those who didn’t. Even a fake smile was able to produce the same results. Reduced heart rates lead to lower stress and anxiety levels and lead to feelings of greater happiness.
How do I know if I’m not happy?
When we constantly feel worried, stressed, or feel a loss of meaning, direction, or purpose in life, it’s common to feel unhappy. However, when we don’t address those feelings, we become numb to many of these signs and accept the lack of meaning in our lives as normal. When we become numb, it can be difficult to realize that what we’re feeling is unhappiness. Here are some signs that you might be unhappy.
While there are plenty of other ways to determine when you are unhappy, these are some of the most common feelings that people feel. While unhappiness might feel impossible to overcome, by engaging in activities that you enjoy or forcing yourself to try something new or engage with a new project, you’re able to slowly start to find purpose in your life and overcome your unhappiness.