Are you waiting for happiness? Do you think you will find it when you make a certain amount of money, or achieve something big, or maybe find the perfect relationship? Happiness is at hand right now. It’s right in front of you, but sometimes we miss it because we are so busy looking for it.
If you have attained some of those big things in life that you felt would bring you happiness, you might have found it — temporarily. Have you noticed how once you get what you want, it’s wonderful for a while? But then you want something else, something bigger or better. You grow bored with the new thing or accomplishment.
It takes a lot of hard work and stress and worry to secure your happiness goals. And then, after all that work, the happiness begins to dissipate.
What if you didn’t have to work so hard for it? What if there were a simpler way to be happy?
“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.” ~John Burroughs
According to research psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, who wrote the book The How of Happiness, we have control over 40% of our own happiness. Genetics accounts for 50%. Our life circumstances account for only 10% of our happiness quota. So we have the power to create a good portion of our sustained happiness.
Dr. Lyubomirsky has discovered through her research that the happiness we control, the 40%, is within us. And it is sustainable through awareness and practice. She suggests three activities that will substantially increase your levels of happiness: positive thinking, gratitude, and acts of kindness and selflessness.
These activities can be applied in a variety of ways in your day to day life. You can simplify happiness, and ironically you will have more of it more often!
Here are 50 ways to simplify happiness and create more joy in your daily life:
1. When you awaken in the morning, before you get out of bed, think about your day ahead and visualize positive outcomes and experiences.
2. Make your bed and be grateful for a comfortable place to sleep.
3. When you take your shower, take 2 minutes to simply enjoy the feeling of warm water running over your body.
4. Look at your spouse and/or children and tell them how important they are to you.
5. Buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line.
6. Write an old-fashioned hand-written note of gratitude to someone who positively impacted your life. Someone who hasn’t heard from you in a while.
7. Walk outside and absorb the sensations of nature. Take a moment to enjoy and appreciate the beauty around you.
8. Listen to music from a time in your life that was carefree and happy.
9. Go skinny dipping.
10. Dance around the house with your children (or whomever).
11. Look at pictures from happy occasions in your life.
12. Get up before sunrise and enjoy the quiet of your home.
13. Roll the windows down in your car and turn the music up.
14. Walk around your house and appreciate everything you own. You probably have more than most people on the planet.
15. Put flowers in your house or on your desk at work.
16. Find something nice to say to the people who serve you during the day.
17. Give an extra big tip.
18. Go out of your way to help a neighbor with something.
19. Read something inspirational.
20. Pick some useful items in your house that you don’t need anymore and give them away.
21. Invite a friend to lunch and learn even more about them and what makes them happy.
22. Do some small creative activity — write a poem, sketch something, plant some flowers, rearrange a room in your house, cook a unique meal.
23. Give a back rub.
24. Take a walk holding someone’s hand.
25. Clean a room in your house thoroughly until it sparkles.
26. Take the scenic route instead of the highway or main road.
27. Send an anonymous love letter.
28. Refrain from saying anything critical for a day. Make only uplifting and kind remarks to others.
29. When someone pushes your buttons or makes you angry, stop and observe your feelings and examine the cause within yourself instead of blaming.
30. Spontaneously invite friends to your house for a simple dinner.
31. Sit outside and stare at the stars.
32. Ride a bicycle.
33. Go out for ice cream.
34. Slow dance with someone you love. Even if you’ve been married to them for 25 years.
35. Lie in bed at night and listen to a thunderstorm.
36. Call your mom and dad and tell them how they were wonderful parents.
37. Help someone at the grocery store load the bags in their car.
38. Re-live some of your happiest moments in your mind before you go to sleep.
39. Count all of the people in your life who care for you.
40. Throw and catch a ball with someone.
41. Introduce yourself to someone new at a meeting or social event and strike up a personal conversation.
42. Pick only two important tasks to do today and do them mindfully.
43. Surprise your child at school or your spouse at the office and have lunch with them.
44. Make a batch of chocolate chip cookies and eat them warm with a glass of milk.
45. Take a walk in a quiet, natural environment.
46. Play a game of catching yourself any time you get on a negative thinking cycle. Consciously change the negative thought and re-frame it in a positive way.
47. Watch a really funny movie with a great friend.
48. Turn off the television and the computer for the day. Listen to music, read, sew, cook, go out. Do anything fun or peaceful or creative.
49. Say “I love you” frequently and with feeling.
50. Write down 25 things you like about yourself. Keep adding to the list.