Getting a balance between everything that happens in your life can be extremely hard. Stress mounts easily when things don’t go to plan, and happiness can leak away when targeted by a single source.
It’s hard, then, to make happiness a discipline rather than a consequence. But this can be done, and giving yourself the space to be happy can make all the difference in the world.
You can scour podcasts, self-help books and watch life-changing YouTube videos, but they can be a bit much. If the problems are big, then the problems are big, but the discipline starts at the very small. And even the smaller can make a big change. Here are 5 little ways to make your day-to-day life happier.
1. Take out the earphones for a bit
If you’re a music-lover like me, then it’s likely you’ve got your earphones in whenever you go travelling. For a 5-minute trip down to the shops, to a train journey across the country – if there’s no music, there’s no distraction.
But that’s exactly what it can be – a distraction. Music is easy to get lost in, but that isn’t always helpful for our minds. Loud sounds and noise reduction can take us away from our situations and delay how we’re feeling about the world we’re living in. Unfortunately, that means all of it, not just the bits we’re not so enthused about.
Take out the earphones and just listen. Listen instead to the world around you – how everything functions in accordance to one another. Cities and human populations are fascinating places, full of things to watch and admire and learn from, but there’s nothing quite like nature, either. Nature, too, will help you feel a lot calmer and happier.
The feeling of belonging in the world helps us to connect with ourselves. We are only human, after all. Connecting with yourself, not simply delaying your emotions, can be cathartic, lifting your mood and making you happier. You’d be surprised just how influential even 5 minutes of no music can be.
2. Drink water
This one is a constant reminder – but it’s a good one.
Our body is 70% water, and it needs a lot to keep functioning well, too. Not drinking much water leads to tiredness, feeling less alert, and focusing less.
On the flip side, drinking more water can make you feel happier, more awake and energised. It’ll also regulate your bodily functions a little more, and help keep your organs working at their full potential. So why not drink more?
3. Detour if it’s not inconvenient
Familiarity can be reassuring, but it can also make everything feel unchanging and dull. Wanting to change things up a bit isn’t a sign of being uncommitted, but simply of being human.
Your travels don’t have to be the same over and over again. The world is expansive – explore it! There’s always more to a local area than you might initially believe, and getting the opportunity to discover it leaves you feeling happier and more connected to the world around you.
If you’re late, or dependent on the directness of your normal route to get you to your destination on time, then don’t – that’s understandable. But surely you can’t be rushing all day, every day. Take your time to really embed yourself into the geography of the place; get your bearings and go for a detour. You might just be surprised by what you find – and it’ll be a neat little conversation to make when you get home too!
4. Sticky notes and reminders
It’s hard to stay afloat and happy when the problems are coming from our own anxieties and insecurities. Keeping up and motivated requires effort and determination you may not always have, especially on the worst days. And that’s okay. No one’s going to be happy 24/7.
Sticky notes and reminders are a great way to make your fleeting happier thoughts more permanent. Whether physical items or notes on your phone, a smile at the end of a reminder can make you smile, too, and if that’s what you need on a harder day then why not preempt your need for a smiley face? Motivational speeches are always a good shout, too. Soon, you’ll be so surrounded by your own encouragement that it’ll be hard not to feel affected by it!
5. Compliment other people
This one can be a little daunting, but incredibly rewarding.
It’s a relatively simple thing, but a compliment can go a long way. Think back to when you were last unexpectedly complimented, and how that made you feel. How long did it stick with you? And why?
Unexpected compliments from other people make you feel good about yourself, and bring you closer to the other person too. Paying it forward, then, can only have good effects. It’s always good to make others feel good, especially about themselves – and it’s always nice to know that you’ve been nice. Plus, they may be in rather the same boat, and the compliment has chipped away at their insecurity a little more. How could that not make you happy?