How To Be Happy Again – 20 Tips To Find Happiness
I think that by the time adulthood comes around, most people in the world have gone through periods of extreme sadness and loss. Whatever the cause of that sadness, when you’re going through it, it can feel like there’s no way out of the sadness, or that you’ll ever find happiness again.
I’m no stranger to sadness. In fact, there have been periods of my life, that felt like I was living in some type of tragic soap opera. Within three short years, my older sister suddenly passed away. One year later my nephew lost his life. A few months later my younger sister had her first baby and I helplessly watched her mental health spiral out of control. That was quickly followed by my mother passing away from cancer and then finding out that my husband at the time was having an affair. To top it all off, I came out of all that with an autoimmune disease! Is it any wonder?
Whatever the reasons for someone experiencing sadness or grief, it helps to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. So today I’m sharing some thoughts on overcoming sadness so you can be happy again.
How To Be Happy Again
Give Yourself Time to Be Sad
There is no timeline on sadness. Give yourself the time to process and feel whatever it is you need to process and feel no shame in that. Don’t try to avoid or numb painful feelings in the hopes that they’ll go away. Instead, allowing yourself the time to observe and sit with your feelings, will help them go away faster and let you move on.
Mindfulness is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.” Or to put it more simply, being aware of how you feel in the present moment. Doing so can help reduce stress while at the same time improving focus, emotional reactivity, cognitive flexibility, and relationship satisfaction.
Have A Few Close Relationships
You can be surrounded by people all the time and still feel lonely. When it comes to friends, I believe you should always choose quality over quantity. Having people in life that we trust and feel safe around makes us feel loved and makes us feel happy. Even if you can’t see them often, knowing that they’re there, even if it’s just for a phone call, is a good feeling.
Be Kind To Yourself
Most people try and go about their days being kind to others. But more often than not, we don’t extend that same kindness to ourselves. Being our own worst critic is common, but very rarely helpful. In fact, that constant internal criticism can really tear down self-esteem bring up negative emotions, and lead to sadness.
The best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. So next time you catch yourself harshly criticizing yourself, stop. Then start listing some of your good quality, and positive attributes. Spend time each day talking to yourself kindly, in the exact same way you would to someone you love and care about.
Ultimately the only person responsible for your happiness, sadness, success, and failures is you. So much of life is out of our control but, the one thing that is always up to us is how we respond. That means removing ourselves from difficult situations and doing the work to overcome life’s challenges.
Do Something That’s Meaningful To You
I think the key to long-term happiness is to figure out what’s truly meaningful to you. And that answer is going to look different for everyone. Spend some time thinking about what your core values are and what in life is the most important to you? How do you hope to be remembered once you’re gone, and what’s the most important thing you hope to accomplish before then?
And now think about if you’re doing anything in your daily life to be the person you want to be or if you’re working towards reaching those life goals? Working towards meaningful goals and living up to our core values will make us feel happier in our everyday life.
Practice Living In The Moment
Living in the present means that you’re not replaying past events that bring you sadness, and you’re completely unable to change. Focusing on the present moment also stops you from worrying about the future.
Guided meditation and deep breathing exercises can help you learn to focus your mind on the here and now.
I know that not everyone enjoys vigorous exercise. But regular exercise really does do amazing things for your mental health. For some people, it has even been shown to be as effective as medication. That’s because exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones and amps up the production of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.
The key to exercising for better mental health is to do it consistently over a period of time. It may take a few weeks for you to start noticing a difference in how you feel. And I’m not talking about training for a marathon either. Start small with maybe a 10-minute walk a couple of times a week. Not only is that pretty manageable, but you may find yourself really enjoying this time and start building on it over time.
Put Yourself First Sometimes
It can be hard to find time for ourselves as we get older, work, marriage, children, school functions, pets, friends, and family all require time and attention. Most of this usually falls on women to handle. And it’s draining, which is why it’s so important to take time for yourself to recharge. Priorities in self-care should be getting a good night’s sleep, regular exercise, and eating a healthy diet. But it can also look like turning your shower into a relaxing escape, enjoying a cup of tea while writing in your journal, or chatting with a friend. Just remember that self-care isn’t selfish if it’s improving the state of your body, mind, or spirit.
Choose Your Company Wisely
A sad fact of life is that not everyone has your best interest at heart. It’s important to have a good network of friends, and you can’t always choose the people you work with. But you should beware of which people don’t wish you well and limit your interactions with them as much as possible.
It’s also important to notice how you feel after spending time with people who are your friends. Even though they care for you and wish you well if you feel drained or down after spending time with them, it could be a toxic friendship.
Be Kind To Others
People who do good deeds, like volunteering time, money, or talents tend to be happier individuals. Whether you practice random acts of kindness, volunteer at animal shelters, or work with children, putting a smile on someone face will boost your own happiness.
Finding things to be grateful for forces you to think about the positives in life. When feeling thankful for something, your brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the reward and happiness neurotransmitters, that will almost instantly improve your mood.
Practice gratitude just like you would any other good habit. For me, that looks like as soon as I wake up, I take my thyroid medication and then pick up my gratitude journal. They both sit on my nightstand within arm’s reach.
I was listening to an episode of The Diary of A CEO a podcast by Steven Bartlett. Something I heard that morning really stuck with me, and I’ve tried to frame my thoughts this way ever since. And it was simple. When you’re thinking “I have to do something” instead think “I get to do this thing”. Switching that one word can completely change your state of mind. Now the task is no longer framed as a chore but as a privilege, and something you can feel thankful that you’re in a position to do so.
If you’d like to listen to the episode, I’m pretty sure this is the correct one. 3 Steps to “Core” Happiness. I highly recommend it.
Invest in Experiences Instead Of Objects
Not that I’m against a bit of retail therapy every now and then, buying something new will make you feel good. But the feelings of happiness quickly fade and then it’s time to shop again to gain a moment of happiness. On the other hand, investing in experiences will last your whole life. That’s because our experiences in life make up who we are. Going out and seeing the world can give us a new perspective on life. Spend time in nature and challenge yourself on hikes, go on road trips and see how life is in other places. Even as time passes, the memories from happy experiences will remain happy memories for life.
Write Down A List Of The Things You Love To Do
What makes you happy? Write down a list of small things that bring you joy and another of the larger goals you’d like to attain. Do something every day from the list of small things that make you happy, and try and spend some time working towards the larger goals.
Try New Things
Sometimes the sadness we’re feeling is coming from monotony and boredom. Find something that’s meaningful to you, and that allows you to use your skills and abilities. Or was try out new activities that require you to learn a whole new skill set, but excite you enough to keep going.
Create Good Habits
Happiness is a state of mind, and the choices we make on a daily basis are in large part what creates that happiness. Our daily habits should be making us happier and healthier. And if they aren’t then you should take stock and see how you can create new ones. I know this is much easier said than done, but it can be done! Modify your environment as much as you’re able to, and work on adding your new habits into your daily routine.
Don’t Rely On Others To Make You Happy
Happy people know that it isn’t anyone else’s job to make them happy. The responsibility of happiness falls on you alone. And that’s not to say that terrible things in life don’t happen, or that if someone hurts you they bare zero responsibility. But how we decide to process our emotions is up to us. Do we remain sad and maybe even bitter, or do we move past these feelings and choose happiness?
Let Go Of The Need To Control
Having the need to control every detail of your life will only lead to frustration and unhappiness. You’ll blame yourself if something is overlooked, and be unhappy when things don’t go according to your plans.
Let Go of Expectations
When we don’t feel things are living up to our expectations, we feel let down and disappointed. Sometimes it can also make us feel sad or even angry. Letting go of these expectations allows for the good things that happen, no matter how small, to come as a pleasant surprise. And if things don’t work out, then you at least had a learning experience.
Disconnect From Social Media
Comparison is the thief of joy, and unfortunately, it’s hard to avoid comparing your life to others when you’re on social media. Whether it’s comparing bodies, beauty, material possessions, social status, or wealth, doing so will lead to feeling unhappy or feelings of missing out. It’s important to remember that the majority of people only share their edited highlights of life, and leave out the work and the struggles. If you notice that you feel down after spending time scrolling social networks, consider taking a break until you’re once again in a better state of mind.
Are There Any Secrets To Happiness?
I don’t know that there are any secrets to true happiness, and I definitely don’t think there are any shortcuts. But I do believe that gratitude, kindness, connection, a sense of purpose, and living in accordance with your core values will help get you there.