In Wayne Dyer’s words “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.” The really cool thing about happiness is it’s yours for the taking. It’s about how you look at things, not about how things actually are.
So when you recognize that you need a boost, but you don’t have much time, follow these nine shortcuts. Remember; it's not a long trip.
- Gratitude is the attitude. Take time to count your blessings and see the glass as half full. This will help to highlight all of the things you already have to be happy about. A daily joy journal where you can list all the good things that happened is a fabulous way to wrap up each day. So carve out a few minutes each day to be grateful.
- Be present. The future is uncertain and we cannot change the past. Living in the present is our only opportunity to create the life we want. Worry is like paying the interest on a loan before you’ve been approved. Why waste any of that precious time on worry or regret?
- Spend time in nature. Sit on the beach. Walk in the forest. Get out on the rooftop and watch the stars. Find the awe-inspiring beauty of our world. We are all interconnected with our environment. Find new ways to enjoy yours.
- Spend time with happy people. The attitude is contagious. Find friends who inspire you, and leave the complainers and gossipers behind. Spending time with friends who share your attitude, lifestyle, and sense of purpose is invigorating. It feels way better to be part of an energetic tribe who have big dreams and adventurous attitudes.
- Be part of something bigger. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Collect money for a charity. Sponsor a foster child. March for a cause. No matter where you live or what your circumstances, there will always be someone needing your help. It feels good to be connected to a greater cause and help others.
- Meditate. During meditation, the brain produces dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins to counteract stress. These are naturally released by our bodies and contribute to the physiology of happiness. And the side effects of meditating are all positive, like increased immunity and lower blood pressure. Why choose medication when you can choose meditation?
- Fake it until you make it. Studies published in the Psychological Science Journal have shown that people who concentrate on having a smile on their face actually feel happier. So when life has you feeling stressed or flustered, even the most forced of smiles can genuinely decrease your stress and make you happier.
- Learn something new. Try a hobby, sport or enroll in a course. Think of something you have always wanted to try. Connect with a group of people you would love to spend time with. Join a club. Try yoga, dancing, karate, French, cooking, or chess. Feeling fresh, connected, and successful all contribute to our sense of self.
- Enjoy the ride. Life is too short to be serious and worried. We likely won’t remember the worries of today or the chances we never took in five years. But we will remember the adventures, the love, the inspiring people, the dreams, and the times we danced freely without reason. The only thing we know about this life is that no one gets out alive; so while you are here live fully.