If you’re mentally and emotionally stuck in a rut, hoping to feel better about life but not quite sure on how to go about finding a solution, take comfort in knowing that we probably all have felt the same at one point or another.
The ups and downs of life can wear a person out, leaving us feeling like hope and happiness are sometimes out of reach. Thankfully, there are some simple tricks we can use everyday to help get back the kick in our step.
1. See every person you come across as a future friend
Too often we feel lonely but spend our days running from place to place with tunnel vision, ignoring all the humans we so naturally cross paths with. Taking a moment to say hi to the bank teller, to ask the convenient store employee how she’s doing and to make small talk with fellow customers while standing in line at the movies can drastically lift your spirits and help you feel part of a lovely community. Even though you may never see these strangers again, it’s amazing how much happiness can be derived from simple, everyday exchanges that are filled with warmth and care.
If you really want to be happy, everyday look for someone you can help. Maybe you’ll spring for someone’s breakfast who misplaced his wallet or shovel the neighbor’s driveway on a snowy morning. You might see someone drop a bag of groceries and be in arm’s reach to help gather the dropped goods or you might see a friend’s Facebook post that reveals that person could use a shoulder to cry on today. Keep your eyes open and your heart soft, ready to assist everyday in lifting someone else up.
2. Even during hard times, recognize what lesson is to be learned
One of the most valuable daily rituals you can ever adopt is the practice of seeing the good in life. Even during hard times, and perhaps especially during hard times, we can gather strength and peace from counting our blessings. A rough financial period that ended in bankruptcy may have helped you understand how to go forward with a clean slate and keep things under control this time around. A bad breakup may have helped you realize what actually matters to you in a relationship, helping empower you to not settle for less. Whatever you’re in the midst of going through, take a step back and try to see what positive lessons you can glean.
None of us have perfect lives and we all experience challenges that try our patience and fortitude. Part of having a happy life is the ability to be grateful in every circumstance. You may not love every minute of every day, but you can have an attitude of gratitude. Learn from your experiences and mistakes, being hopeful for a future that is brighter and clearer because you are now wiser and better able to handle adversity. Developing a grateful heart can make all the difference when in the pursuit of happiness.
3. Take time to smell the roses
Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you hurry off from one meaningless appointment to another. Take time for you and take time to commune with something greater and bigger than yourself. You may be the type to attend a church meeting and pray or to walk through a garden by yourself and meditate. Find something that works for you, taking at least ten or fifteen minutes everyday to rejuvenate your spirits.
We all need time to ourselves so make it happen. Whether you have a crazy work schedule, a house full of little kids or any other sort of setup that makes getting in some much-needed private time hard, you may need to get creative about how to schedule in a personal break. Take advantage of work breaks, naptimes and other small openings that you can use to step away for a moment and take a deep breath. Smell the roses and enjoy life–that’s a recipe for happiness.
4. Show your family and friends that you love them
Don’t let a day go by without showing your love and appreciation for your family and friends. Although you can verbally tell of your affection, we all know that actions can speak louder than words at times so make sure your loved ones know your feelings by what you say and do. You may have a million things to get done everyday, but you can still show your family that you care by how you use the precious time that you do have together.
It’s natural to get hurt in friendships and relationships so the temptation to hold a grudge and keep some distance can be ever present, but keeping yourself safe and disconnected from the world isn’t going to make you happy. Put yourself out there, showing affection and expressing how much your friends mean to you. Your relationships won’t magically transform into perfect unions so recognize that you’ll still be hurt and let down in the process. Forgive quickly and often when you should, letting your life be filled with feelings of love and generosity. Showing love everyday will help you stay happy and emotionally healthy.
5. Decide to be happy
Do you want to know the real secret to having happiness? It’s choosing to be happy. When you make a conscious decision that you are going to embrace happiness, nothing can stop you from reaching your dream. No outside influence can take away your happiness. Whether sickness, financial trouble, relationship problems or anything else strikes that’s out of your control, you still have a choice to make about how you will react to the situation. If you want to look on the bright side and put a smile on your face, you can. Above every other daily ritual, choosing to be happy is what will most contribute to your life’s satisfaction.