Happiness is our life goal; it’s the end that all humans are striving for when they set out to create a life that’s meaningful to them. Unfortunately, happiness is a fickle beast, and we often have to take steps to make happiness a priority in our lives, otherwise, it’s way too easy to lose sight of it.
We go to work, spend time with friends, and set goals, but how often do you carve out time in your day to seek out joy? Finding the right work life balance can be intimidating.
Here are some of my favorite ways to cultivate self-love and positive energy in your daily life. I call them my happiness rituals and try to squeeze them in daily.
Start your day off on the right foot with a delicious, energizing drink of your choice. Whether it be a coffee, a tea, or just someone who loves a glass of ice water with lemon, a drink in the morning is an instant gift to yourself that will motivate you to hop out of bed and start the day with a smile. I have recently purchased a Nutri Bullet and am over the moon with how many types of smoothies one can enjoy making. Healthy green smoothies (with plant protein) bring me energy and fuel me for the day ahead.
Don’t panic. I’m not suggesting you go off to a yoga retreat in the mountains and “find yourself.” But a few minutes (even one!) of focused breathing in the morning can help set the tone for a calm and peaceful day. There are tons of apps that exist to guide your practice. You should walk away from meditation with a clear head and sense of calm. Self care is an essential part of maintaining your mental health and happiness.
If you work from home, then meditation could be a great break from the screen.
Jot down the occasional list of friends, things, and concepts that are going right in your life. This can shift your mental focus from the negative to the positive. Yes, gratitude is fun! My suggestion is to be as specific as possible. Be grateful for that great movie you saw the other night, how the air feels after rain or the killer deal you got on that cute scarf.
Finding gratitude may seem silly at first, but we have so much to be thankful for. Even simple things like being able to take a walk is monumental, and not available for all people to experience. By seeking out those bits that cause you to think “this is such a joy that exists in my life”, you get to explore the things you already have. With gratitude for life, we foster an attitude of expansion and abundance.
What would a list about happiness rituals be without exercise. Even the CDC has made some noise about Americans aversion to adequate exercise. While life may be busy, I really think robbing yourself of fitness and general health can be catastrophic. A little workout can add a shot of endorphins to your life and give you more energy to do other things. It’s a total no-brainer, and as hard as it can be, making time for it will improve your quality of life significantly.
Keep a record of your thoughts! Your opinions and feelings matter and a journal where you can write honestly gives you a space to think that’s just yours. Find a cute journal (like the ones below) and write down your honest thoughts. When have you last heard your own voice very clearly?
Try not to filter yourself or imagine what people will think if they read them. These thoughts are just for you, so be honest and transparent. I find that sometimes I can get caught in a trap of making things sound “correct” as if journaling was some sort of homework assignment I needed to “get right”. Allow yourself the space and time to not add layers of complexity. Try your hand at free writing which is a stream of consciousness style of writing where you continue to write all the things on your mind for a set amount of time (like 10 mins). This should yield a random rant-style journal entry which can be very healing.
Giving and getting physical affection has been scientifically proven to improve our health. Try and give a hug to a loved one everyday. If you have a pet, spend some time rubbing their belly and playing. Surrounding yourself with joyful huggy people is a lifelong gift.
Check in with yourself throughout the day. How are you doing? What are you feeling? Make an active effort to stay in the moment. I like to practice present-thinking when I climb the stairs to my apartment. Have a location that you use as a consistent check-in spot makes it easier to remember.
A soothing bedtime routine helps you wind down and end your day on a positive note. A cup of tea, a good book, and a phone charging across the room improves sleep quality and helps you wind down. There are countless articles about quality sleep and why it’s important. Trying tucking your device away and avoid screens as you get closer to that time in the evening.
Happiness rituals may come in many forms, yet the outcome is always the same. Be positive about your quest for joy and light.
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