Most of us are chasing happiness, but we’re not very good at knowing what will bring us that happiness. We think if we just get that promotion, find the right partner, or buy our dream house, then we’ll be happy. But a happy lifestyle is not about external events—it’s about building up a set of regular habits and practices that nurture positivity and fulfilment.
Saying “no” can be important for our mental health in terms of setting boundaries and focusing on your own needs. But saying “yes” is just as important—“yes” to all the things that can lead us towards a happier, more fulfilling lifestyle.
Here are 8 things to say yes to that will help cultivate joy in your everyday life. And they are all things you can begin doing right now!
True happiness doesn’t come from waiting around for something big to come along and change your life.
To build a happy lifestyle, you’ll need to use the ingredients already at your fingertips. The practice of mindfulness is all about living in the present moment and accepting life for what it is. While that sounds both simple and impossibly difficult, it comes from the daily practice of a few basic habits.
- Breathe: Whether it is yogic pranayama, box breathing, or whatever else, find a breathwork practice that brings you into the present moment.
- Notice: Set aside a few minutes a day to jot down what is coming to you through your senses. What can you see, hear, smell, taste? How do you feel? After some practice, you won’t need to write it down anymore, but it’s an important first step to get into the habit.
- Appreciate: If you do notice something beautiful or interesting, take a moment to appreciate it. Savor that first sip of coffee. Enjoy the morning sun on your skin. Notice the sound of the birds or clouds making interesting shapes.
Following these principles, you’ll soon find that you notice more and more things that make you smile and bring pockets of joy into your daily life.
When you come down to it, it’s all about stopping to smell the roses.
One of the key habits of happy people is that they express gratitude for what they have. Taking stock of the things in your life that you are thankful for is a simple yet surprisingly effective way to remind yourself that it’s not all bad.
It is a natural human trait to give the negative things in our life far more attention and focus than the positive things. A positive mindset takes effort and practice. Taking a few moments each day to consider what you are thankful for is a great way to begin to build a glass-half-full mentality.
It’s a truism that making others happy can increase your own happiness. But in this case, it’s actually true.
Knowing that you have brightened someone’s day gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling and helps build a sense of self you can feel good about. Operating from a place of kindness can involve anything from volunteering at a local charity to bringing cookies to work to giving your friend a shoulder to cry on. It also involves an open and non-judgmental attitude and giving others the benefit of the doubt.
However, note that kindness does not mean sacrificing your own needs for the demands of others. It’s crucial to know your limits. You are in the best position to help others when you are taking care of yourself first.
A happy lifestyle goes beyond superficial pleasures and rewards. Hard and scary things can bring happiness too.
Putting work into something and seeing it pay off is a key part of living a fulfilling, meaningful life. Whether it is running a marathon, writing a story, or starting a company, there is never going to be a “right time” to do that thing you have been putting off.
The flipside of this is that you also need to allow yourself the space to do nothing without beating yourself up about it. We don’t need to be constantly productive, and downtime is essential for living a balanced and happy life.
5. Spending Time With Loved Ones
Another key activity that happy people consistently engage in is making time to spend quality time with loved ones. Humans are social creatures, and we need to spend time with others. Not only does this mitigate loneliness, but it brings us positive endorphins through laughter and the awareness that we are loved.
Meeting new people is also a good habit for a happy lifestyle, but nurturing the relationships you already have is key. Even if it’s just a cup of coffee or a gym session together, tending to relationships keeps us sane and reminds us of what is important in life.
6. Spending Time With Yourself
Challenging yourself and spending time with loved ones is important, but it is also very important to spend quality time with yourself. Your relationship with yourself needs nurturing just like all your other relationships.
It’s worthwhile carving out time to go for solo walks, taking long baths, or just sitting and enjoying your own company. For those of us with families and busy lives, snatching moments to yourself can be difficult. But even half an hour here and there can make all the difference.
Exercise doesn’t just keep us fit and stave off heart disease, it makes us happier too.
When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins and neurotransmitters that boost your sense of wellbeing and suppresses hormones that cause stress and anxiety. Saying “yes” to exercise can seem like a chore, but once it is built into your daily routine you’ll wonder how you got along without it.
8. Time in nature
More and more research is showing that time spent in nature can improve our mental wellbeing. According to the University of Minnesota, spending time in nature reduces anger, stress, fear, and stress, and increases pleasant feelings. In Japan, “forest bathing” is seen as a therapeutic activity.
But it doesn’t have to be a forest – hiking in the mountain, swimming in the sea or even picnicking in the park will do the trick. Whether you do so alone or with a friend, you’ll be taking care of another item on this list at the same time.
Happiness is a science, an art, and something you can practice. The important part is to say yes to the things that make you happy and make it a habit. You’ll smile more, laugh harder, and enjoy life even more than before.