Ok, so this is pretty subjective! There are so many ways we can make ourselves happy but the way we do this can be very different from person to person. While some people may use exercise to keep themselves happy, other people may find enjoyment out of going shopping, or cooking. We are all different and that is brilliant.
Here are my top 10 tips on keeping happy which you may find useful;
1. Smile! Did you know that when you smile, you actually release endorphins – this one is easy. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, try forcing a smile and see what happens.
2. Exercise – while many of us think that exercise is all about fat loss and getting fit, actually there is far much more to it! Regular exercise can reduce stress, anxiety and depression and boost self esteem and happiness. Exercise doesn’t have to be going to the gym, it can also be going for a walk, doing a team sports, joining online classes.
3. Gratitude journal – I know journaling doesn’t come naturally to everyone and it certainly didn’t for me, in fact I found it hard to put my thoughts on paper but believe me it works wonders. Try and write 3 things you are grateful for and 3 achievements each day. When we focus on what we are grateful for and what we have achieved we focus less on what we haven’t achieved or what we don’t have.
4. Sleep – we should be aiming for roughly 8 hours of sleep a night. Sleep is vital for good health, brain function, emotional well-being and generally just resetting our bodies. Many of us struggle to sleep for many different reasons, so here are my top tips on better sleep hygiene;
a. Avoid caffeine after midday
b. Avoid screens in the bedroom
c. Create a good bed time routine – have a bath/shower, dim your lights, read a book and start that wind down process early
d. Make your bedroom a place for sleep and relaxation only. Many people have got into the habit of sitting on their laptops in bed – this is a bad idea because our brains can’t then recognise the difference between work/relaxation
5. Eat with mood in mind – Again many people think that good nutrition = fat loss but it goes much further beyond this! Food is medicine – ditch the processed food. Processed foods contain a lot of sugar and other hidden ingredients. Whilst making these poor food choices may feel good at the time, they leave our bodies feeling rubbish which then has an impact on our moods. Try and make small changes to your diet today, small habit changes = long term success. Think natural!
6. Purpose – an interesting one… What is your purpose? Have a think about it, it may not come to you straight away and that is absolutely fine. Without a purpose we can feel quite lost. Running is my purpose, it is what makes me feel most alive, empowered and I get a real sense of freedom with it.
7. Connecting to nature – something I only found in the last couple of years but if there is one thing in life that grounds me and energises me it is being out in nature. Try and get out in nature at least once a day – no phone, no music – just you and nature. Notice what goes on around you.
8. Consider some breathwork/meditation – just 10 minutes a day. I find this one hard, like many people – switching off my thoughts for 10 minutes can be a real challenge but what doesn’t challenge us doesn’t change us. I actually find that swimming or running is a great way to get that breathwork in as we are forced to slow our breathing down and breathe deeply.
9. Boundaries…one of my favourite words! The great thing about boundaries is that you can put boundaries in place and no one will know they exist, only you. Boundaries help us strengthen and manage our relationships with other people and within ourselves. Trust me, these work.
10. Last but not least, friends… Spend time with friends! When I say friends, I mean people who make you feel good and bring out the best in you and people who you can be yourself around!
This list is absolutely not exhaustive, but it is a good start! You may find this list overwhelming but try and pick just a couple of points that you can slowly introduce into your lifestyle!