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Creating and living a happy life is somehow one thing we all strive for.
Therefore I decided to make a little research on how to live a happy life.
In this article, I give you 13 Tips which are my personal tips mixed with scientifically proven results.
I created a cheat sheet with all the 13 tips for you. Feel free to download it at the end of this post.
Don´t miss to also check out the post where I share with you 23 things you should quit in order to live a happy life.
1. MAINTAIN GOOD RELATIONSHIPS
According to the Grant and the Glueck study, which is the longest study on happiness conducted by the Harvard Medical School:
It comes down to one major thing to live a happier and healthier life. It´s our relationship with others.
The findings reveal following interesting facts about our relationships.
- Close relationships with family, friends, and community have a bigger effect on our happiness than our genes, the social class we belong to and the amount of money we own.
- Taking care of our close relationships support our physical and mental well being and health. Lonely people tend to die earlier, than people with fulfilled relationships.
- The quality of our relationships plays a much more important role than the quantity. An indicator here fore is how satisfied we feel with our close relationships.
- A happy marriage, for example, helps us feeling less physical and emotional pain, whenever we go through a hard time in our life.
- Women who feel secure in their marriages and have a good connection with their partner, experience more joy and less depression in their lives.
- A relationship where we feel secure and where we can count on our partner can protect our brain in older age from memory problems. The memory function is more active than for people who are in an uncertain relationship.
- Social encouragement helps also preventing mental decline and supports healthy aging.
The good life is built with good relationships.
Robert J. Waldinger
2. PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Being grateful for what we have, is also a major contributor to feeling happy about our lives.
Research results of several studies have shown the positive effect on our mental health and overall well being with practicing gratitude regularly.
Practicing gratitude is a great tool you can implement immediately and very easily into your daily ritual.
You can make it as part of your morning ritual or as a part of your evening routine.
I`ll give you some inspirations on how you could weave in practicing gratitude into your life.
It involves a notebook and a pen as writing it down is proven to be more effective, than just thinking about it.
- Write down 3 things you are grateful for, right after waking up, into your notebook, your bullet journal or your 5-minute journal. Sidenote: The 5-minute journal is a pre-made journal for daily gratitude and affirmations.
- Another method you could use is to pick only 1 thing you are grateful for per day and to write down why you are grateful for it. Try to find 5 why´s, this way you make yourself more aware of what really matters to you in life and why it is so.
- If you want to give another spin to your gratitude ritual you can also start only writing down things which do not cost money.
If you want more guidance and learn more in depth about how to establish a morning routine, check out the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. He has a whole system on how to create a morning ritual.
3. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
This is a huge one and I´m sure we all suffer more or less with this one.
It´s not easy not comparing ourselves with others. Especially in times of social media, where we instantly see what others are up to all the time.
Someone has what you want and the comparing game of why this is so started.
With this one, we really have to deal consciously so we don´t fall into the feeling of envy and start at the same time feeling bad about ourselves.
It´s nice to see what others are up to and if you can be happy for them if their life is going great or helpful to them if they struggle at some point that´s fine.
Just try to let go of the comparing game, because it helps no one. On top of that, you hurt yourself with it and your relationship with the other person.
- If it happens we just have to remind ourselves, that we are all individual beings on our own paths.
- We meet each other on our way through our life journey and at the same time, there are no 2 people on this planet who have exactly the same path. Not even twins. We all have our individual thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and ways how we deal with things.
- On the other hand, it makes no sense to compare someone’s middle to your beginning or someone’s end to your middle or vice versa.
- Focus on your gratitude list or on your daily affirmations instead 😉
4. BE PROUD OF YOURSELF
Through our education, we are already told in our young life what´s right and what´s wrong.
On top of that, most of us got rewarded when we did something right and got punished when we did something wrong.
I personally haven´t experienced this at home, but surely at school, where there was a grading system, which is basically the same idea behind.
With these experiences we early come in contact with the idea, to judge ourselves and others. Whenever we judge ourselves being wrong with sth or doing sth wrong, we at the same time tell our subconscious mind, that we are not ok as we are.
When we grow older we are confronted with photoshopped models in magazines and on billboards. Emaciated women in fashion shows and women in movies with either heavily made-up faces or women who had even several cosmetical renovations. (nose, boobs, bums, whiter teeth and so on)
We again might sometimes feel that we don´t fit in or are not good enough because we don´t look like what´s presented to us to be the norm. Which in reality is totally fake.
We might start feeling bad about ourselves.
And now here is the truth:
Nobody in this world is perfect and there is no such thing as a perfect person.
We are all unique beings and we are ok as we are.
I would go even further and say that each of us can be proud of ourselves every single day.
Feel free to try out the following exercise. Once you do it regularly you might potentially notice it´s beneficial effects on your happiness.
- Tell yourself every evening, as part of your evening ritual, 10 things you are proud of.
- These things should be nothing that you have bought (=means no possessions), but things you have done either during the day or during your life so far.
- Try not to repeat every single evening the same things, but rather find other things you can be proud of.
This little exercise will not only help you to become more conscious about your actions but will in best case also motivate you to do more great things you can be proud of.
These things can be for example delivering value to other people, helping someone out etc.
Through this single exercise, you can come closer in contact with yourself and dissolve self-confidence issues as well.
5. LISTEN TO HAPPY MUSIC
You probably already experienced that you were listening to a certain song, for example, a love song and that your mood shifted within seconds.
Either from happy to sad or from sad to happy, depending on what kind of experience you connected this certain song in your mind with.
Music definitely has an effect on us.
Researchers wanted to find out how music affects our moods and came to an interesting conclusion.
- According to a study from 2017, listening to happy, uplifting music we experience a boost in our creativity and it helps us with divergent thinking as well.
- Another study from 2013 states that listening to happy music helps us raising our mood.
So next time you feel a bit down or not creative, you know what to do! 🙂
6. PLANT A FLOWER OR VEGETABLE
Plant a flower or vegetable at your home and let it flourish.
Not every one of us has a garden, but even if you don´t have one you can use your balcony or kitchen to try out your gardening skills.
- Getting your hands into “dirt” = soil and plant your favorite flower or vegetable at home can literally make you happy.
- A special bacteria in the soil activates our brain cells to produce Serotonin, which is known as a happy hormone and antidepressant.
7. GET A MASSAGE
Wondering why you love getting a massage?
Human touch makes us happy.
Therefore getting a massage can make us happy, too.
- Our brains are wired in a way that it interprets touch as social acceptance.
- It produces and releases Serotonin (the happy hormone) and reduces at the same time stress hormones. Furthermore, human touch improves sleep and lowers the perception of pain. Sidenote: Maybe that´s why holding hands at the dentist as a kid worked.
8. THINK POSITIVE
Yes, you probably heard this one before. However, I feel that I have to mention it here because we tend not making use of it, although it really works.
We can make us happy by thinking positive thoughts.
It sounds so crazy and at the same time, it´s so true.
One of my dear coaches Marisa Peer (UK´s no 1. rated hypnotherapist) specialized her work in how our mind works.
She once stated that our mind believes whatever we are telling it to believe.
We think negative thoughts and our brain immediately puts us in a negative mood.
On the other hand when we think positive thoughts our brain delivers positive feelings.
We actually can control what we think, how we think and how we feel.
If you are interested in diving deeper into positive thinking, self-love, and self-confidence I can highly recommend her online course with included hypnotherapy sessions!
Here is a little exercise I love to do. All you need is a notebook and a pen. So grab your notebook or bullet journal and let´s get started.
- Make a list of situations and experiences, which made you happy in your past. Also, include general situations and experiences which make you happy. For example, I love to hear when little kids laugh. So this is one thing on my list under general situations which make me happy.
- Take your time by writing these down and really reconnect with yourself how you felt in that certain situation. Visualize yourself with that experience and stay in this feeling while you are writing it down in your notebook.
- Now this list is your little happiness ladder. Keep it in a place where you can have easy access to it. I personally like to have it in my journal.
- Whenever you feel in a bad mood with some negative thoughts spinning around in your head – take out your happiness ladder. Read about what makes you happy, feel into it and visualize it once again. Sidenote: If you are going through a breakup, you should skip all the things which you did with your ex and focus on the other things which made and make you happy.
Similar to positive thinking also smiling has an instant positive effect on our well being.
Try to smile for a few seconds and get the benefits.
The happiness hormones will be released just for your precious smile.
Whenever you don´t feel like smiling at all, then feel free to try out following happiness hack:
- Put a pen horizontally into your mouth and keep it there for a few seconds. Hold it with your teeth in a way that it looks like you were smiling.
- Our brain can´t make a difference if we smile, because we are happy or if we just randomly smile. Either way, it will release the happiness hormones.
10. SIT AND WALK WITH STRAIGHT BACK
Sitting and walking with a straight back has a positive effect on our mood as well.
We are more in sync with ourselves this way.
With a sunken chest and round back, however, we tend to have a shallow breathing which is associated with bad mood and bad feelings.
Want to try out to feel the difference?
- Close your eyes in the position you are right now. Make no changes.
- Feel into your body. How is the position of your head? Of your arms and legs?
- How do you feel around your head? around your neck? shoulders? chest? back? arms? legs?
- After you felt yourself open your eyes. Then sit with a straight back, your head directed straight ahead and feel into each part of your body again. See the difference?
11. EAT CHOCOLATE
I was thinking some time about including or not including this one into the list.
I included it because I´m a huge chocolate lover myself and not all chocolate is unhealthy and bad. There are also healthy chocolate options on the market, which I don´t want to withhold from you. I share them with you 🙂
And more great news for all fellow chocolate lovers out there:
It´s scientifically proven that chocolate makes us happy!
Chocolate releases Serotonin (the happiness hormone) in our brains.
Earlier studies suggest that some psychoactive chemicals in the chocolate are responsible for our emotional well being while we are eating a delicious piece of chocolate.
A study from Cambridge University, however, states that the taste and texture are responsible for our little high while enjoying a piece of chocolate.
Brain scans show that the pleasurable experience of a piece of tasty chocolate stimulates certain centers in our brains. These centers are linked to well being and positive feelings. They are more active while eating chocolate than while falling in love.
Sidenote: Maybe that´s the reason why we grab a piece of chocolate whenever we feel sad or even after a breakup.
As healthy chocolate I can recommend grabbing Lovechock, it´s organic, raw vegan and without any added sugar. Lovechock uses coconut blossom nectar to sweeten the chocolates. They have a huge variety of different flavors.
Ombar is another delicious choice you can make. Also organic, raw vegan, with coconut sugar.
12. LOVE YOURSELF
For this topic, I dedicated a whole post itself, because I feel that it´s always a great reminder.
And here´s a small extract of the reminder:
You are the only one with who you spend your whole life with. From birth to death.
So make sure you have a great relationship with yourself.
- Make regular time for yourself. To pamper your body and soul and to nurture your mind.
- Appreciate who you are! You can use therefore also the exercise mentioned under 5. be proud of yourself.
Read also my post on how to cultivate self-love.
13. FORGIVE YOURSELF
We tend to dwell on negative experiences longer than in positive. That´s just how our brains work.
Feeling bad about ourselves or even ashamed of something we did or what happened won´t change the already happened situation.
A different approach on how we think about the situation, however, will change our well being for the better.
- By forgiving yourself, you let the situation be as it is. This stops the negative dwelling and improves your well being.
- By forgiving yourself you allow yourself to learn from past experiences and to make better choices in future.
I believe that we can all live a happier life by applying some simple strategies into our daily lives.
13 of these simple strategies are:
- MAINTAIN GOOD RELATIONSHIPS
- PRACTICE GRATITUDE
- STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
- BE PROUD OF YOURSELF
- LISTEN TO HAPPY MUSIC
- PLANT A FLOWER OR VEGETABLE
- GET A MASSAGE
- THINK POSITIVE
- SIT AND WALK WITH STRAIGHT BACK
- EAT CHOCOLATE
- LOVE YOURSELF
- FORGIVE YOURSELF
With these 13 strategies, you can improve your happiness easily!
What are your best tips for a happy life? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!