We’d all like to be happy, right?
And if the path to happiness could be a little easier, that’d be a bonus.
The unfortunate truth is that there is no one, magical, fits-everyone way to achieve joy and contentment. We’ll have to work at it a bit.
But the good news is that there are some things that we can all do to take us a little closer to that goal.
Ahead, Dawn Baxter, founder of Beyond The Dawn Digital and a certified positive psychology coach, shares six things you can do every day to lift your mood and make your life better.
Hit pause when you feel negativity creep in
Imagine there’s a proper ‘stop’ button in your head, and when you feel yourself about to get into a spiral, picture yourself pressing it down.
‘You are absolutely allowed to feel feelings other than happiness, that is healthy,’ Dawn tells Metro.co.uk. ‘However, when you feel negativity creeping into your thought processes, be open and willing to accept it. Then, stare it hard in the face and give it space.
‘You are in total control of your emotions, and at this point you have a choice. You either let the negative thoughts run rings around you, or, you can apply some perspective.
‘Say things like, “Is this thought accurate? Is this thought helpful?”. Taking a cognitive perspective can help you to take a step back, and really identify what is actually happening.’
‘Deep breathing and being able to fully immerse yourself into deep breathing techniques can really help to lighten the load, calm the nervous system and allow positive thoughts to flood in,’ Dawn notes. ‘This can be done by inhaling slowly up to the count of four and then exhaling slowly for four, but really focusing on the breathing sensation, filling your lungs right to the very bottom.
‘While you are doing this imagine yourself in your happy place, what are you doing? How are you feeling? Who are you with? Ask yourself these thought-provoking questions, immerse yourself in the answers and embody these feelings.’
Do something nice for someone else
Acts of kindness are proven to make you happier – and they spread that mental wealth around.
Dawn suggests: ‘Try making a cup of tea or coffee for a colleague when you can see that they’re busy, send a text to a friend or family member to let them know you are thinking of them, or even offer to help a stranger if you see that they are struggling.
‘Try getting to the point where you are doing at least one random act of kindness every day, it will make you feel all warm inside.’
We bang on about gratitude a lot for good reason: it really can be a bit of a life-changer.
‘Embody a positive mindset with some gratitude journaling,’ Dawn recommends. ‘Focus on the things that are going well for you right now, no matter how small they may seem, they are worth celebrating.’
We’re big fans of gratitude journaling. Try writing down just one thing you’re grateful for each day, and see how it changes your mindset for the better.
Celebrate your wins
While you’re at it with the gratitude journaling, how about celebrating all the stuff you’re proud of, too?
‘Write down everything that you have achieved in the past 24 hours or few days, even if it’s something as simple as making your bed, sorting the washing, running errands at the post office or finally finishing that report for work,’ Dawn says.
‘Recognition of all your achievements, big, small or anywhere in between, will help to cement the feeling that you are doing well and will flood the mind with positivity.’
‘Whether you know them or not, greeting those around you with a simple smile may not just make your day, but it may make theirs too,’ Dawn tells us. ‘Research suggests that happiness can increase your lifespan by years, and maintaining a happy and positive mood may be an important part of living a healthy and fulfilled life.
‘So simple actions, like smiling more, can be a powerful step towards this state of happiness.’
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