March 20 is International Day of Happiness. It’s about bringing us all a little closer to our happy place.
But what can we do to be happy? Here are 10 simple things to help you find your Zen.
As always, if you’re feeling blue our psychologists in Pascoe Vale are here to help.
1. Listen to music
Listening to melancholy music like Adele can help boost positive and peaceful feelings. This can be therapeutic and calming for the mind and body.
2. Speak to the person next to you
If you catch the train or bus to work, strike up a conversation – you could bring joy to both of you! Similarly, try chatting to the person behind you in the supermarket queue. Face-to-face human interactions are important for our happiness.
3. Know that money sometimes can buy happiness
You’ve probably heard of the saying “Money can’t buy happiness”. But it can if what you buy is extra time, or you pay to delegate tasks. So don’t feel guilty about ordering tonight’s dinner online or hiring someone to mow the lawn. Spending money to save time might make you happier.
4. Exercise and eat healthy food
A study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who exercised felt better about their bodies, even when they saw no physical changes in the mirror. And it goes without saying that eating well keeps your body and mind both healthy and strong (here are some of our tips for healthy eating).
5. Call your mum
Call your mum, your dad, a relative or a friend. Hearing a loved one’s voice can help reduce stress, which means a happier you. You’ll also make your loved one’s day.
6. Hang out with happy people
Yawns aren’t the only things that are contagious. The more you surround yourself with positive people, the happier you may feel. Go ahead and enjoy a round of drinks with your mates, grab a coffee with that woman at school pick-up who’s always smiling, or schedule a visit with your cheery hairdresser.
7. Daydream about your upcoming holiday
Going on a holiday may not necessarily make you happier. But thinking about leaving town is another story. The fact is that we get an extra boost of joy if we delay pleasure. We build positive expectations, imagining how amazing the experience will be. That warm sun or the frozen strawberry daiquiri by the pool? It’s just an added bonus.
8. Reminisce about fond memories
Dig up your old photos and reminisce about fond memories from the past. Then call or email your old friend or childhood bestie! Feeling nostalgic about the past can increase optimism about the future and make you happier.
9. Play with your pets
Playing fetch with your dog or cuddling up with your cat makes you feel good. Interacting with pets can release oxytocin, leaving you with a joyous feeling. Pets offer huge benefits for kids, too, like learning about responsibility.
10. Wake up a little earlier
With more time in the morning, you won’t be running around the kitchen spilling coffee and dropping toast as you frantically get the kids to school. Getting up a little earlier can make it easier to get a positive start to your day.
Stop looking for happiness
Perhaps the best way to find happiness is, ironically, to quit searching for it. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself or set yourself up for expectations that you sometimes can’t meet. Instead, focus on finding meaning — by forging new friendships and pursuing favourite pastimes — and happiness may follow.
Need help? Our experienced psychologists in Pascoe Vale can help you work through any issues you have and find a happier you. To make an appointment, simply call 9304 0500 or book online.
Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.