There are many things that can affect happiness. Genetics, environment, life events, and whom you surround yourself with all play a role. But a large part of our happiness depends on us. Simply making the choice to be happy has an impact on the joy we feel. Here are 10 minor things you can do each day that will have a major influence on how happy you are.
1. Wear bright colors
According to Leatrice Eiseman, author of The Color Answer Book from the World’s Leading Color Expert: 100+ Frequently Asked Questions for Home, Health, and Happiness, color has a major impact on the way we perceive ourselves and others. Wearing a bright color like yellow, which is often associated with sunshine and happiness, can set the tone for the rest of your day. (Tip: include bright colors in your activewear. The Zumba shop has a ton of options.)
2. Wake up to your favorite song
Mostly everybody dreads the sound of his or her alarm clock in the morning. The annoying buzzing is enough to make anybody wake up on the wrong side of the bed. But, because we can’t avoid having to wake up and get our day started, why not make it a pleasant experience? Program your alarm to play your favorite tune when it goes off every morning. How about ‘Happy’ by Pharrell?
3. Dance, dance, dance
Many, many studies have been published on the effects of dance on our mental health. Not only is it good for our cognitive abilities and our muscle memory, but dance also positively affects our state of well-being. Check out this excerpt from a Prevention article:
Swedish researchers, writing in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, studied 112 teenage girls who were struggling with problems including neck and back pain, stress, anxiety, and depression. Half of the girls attended weekly dance classes, while the other half didn’t. The results? The girls who took the dance classes improved their mental health and reported a boost in mood—positive effects that lasted up to eight months after the classes ended.
No better time than now for a living-room dance party or, better yet, a Zumba class.
4. Get organized
Researchers at UCLA recently concluded an intensive, multi-year study that looked into the homes of LA residents. What they found was that clutter was directly correlated with increased levels of stress. Bottom line: de-cluttering and neatly organizing things can ultimately lead to a more peaceful, happier way of living.
Shy chucklers, beware. While everyone feels great after a good laugh, people who actually laugh out loud may be benefitting even more. Preventive care specialist and researcher Dr. Lee Berk conducted a study in 2008, which found that having a laughter experience actually lowers three stress hormones! Guess it’s true what they say: laughter really is the best medicine.
Remember when you were a kid and you could just color for hours? Who decided that that should stop after a certain age? Luckily, adult coloring books are popping up all over the place, and for good reason. This activity actually relaxes the amygdala (our brain’s fear center), producing a calming effect over time. And the best part is that you end up with awesome, original artwork to display.
7. Watch the sun set
Every single day is a gift. Acknowledging this fact and having a sense of deep gratitude has been linked to one’s well being. A beautiful (literally) way to show gratitude for each day is to watch the sun as it sets. It’s a calming ritual that is bound to bring you happiness.
8. Sing in the shower
Singing in the shower is awesome. It’s the time when we all get the chance to release our inner Aretha Franklin and show our bath products what we’re made of. And there’s a positive reward that you may not know about: singing can actually reduce stress and provide other great health benefits. Less stress = more happiness. So, grab that shampoo bottle and sing your lungs out!
9. Write down your goals
Setting goals, big or small, is an important part of personal growth. Whether your goal is to exercise once this week or to write a novel this year, we suggest writing it down instead of keeping it in the back of your mind. When you put pen to paper, you are more likely to achieve. Furthermore, expressive writing has been shown to lessen depression.
It’s as simple as it gets. Smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, is the best way to trick your brain into thinking you’re happy. Making a daily habit out of consciously inclining your mind towards joy has lasting and positive effects. Plus, smiling is the best accessory anyone can wear!