At the end of another long week, how do you generally feel?
If you’re not feeling as happy as you’d like, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! I’ve been doing a lot of research into happiness and joy recently, working out what little things we can do to up our happiness levels.
There are lots of things we can do to increase our happiness in the long term, but sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. So I have a bit of a challenge for you. Over the next week, try these 7 different things to bring a bit of extra happiness to your life.
Starting this weekend, try my suggested activity for each day and see if you feel happier by the end of the week!
Here we go:
Give a friend five £1 coins and get them to kind them in random places around your house. Think under a sofa cushion, in your coat pocket, in your junk drawer (we all have one right?), or in your jewellery box.
Studies have shown that finding money unexpectedly really works to make us feel happier, and this way the chances of you coming across a surprise bit of money are greatly increased!
You could get your kids involved in this one instead of a friend if you want, but be warned that the coins will end up in REALLY random places.
Have a lazy Sunday morning cwtch-fest.
Bundle the whole family into your bed for a bit for lots of cuddles; you’ll get loads of oxytocin flowing which makes you feel lovely and relaxed and happy!
Work to your strengths.
There was a study carried out at Harvard University where volunteers were asked to identify their strongest trait and then use it in a new way every day for a week. The volunteers reported feeling significantly happier at the end of the week and, even better, the results lasted for six months!
So, have a think about what your greatest strength is and think of how you can use it more every day.
Are you a kind person? Maybe you can help someone carry their shopping to their car, pop some money in the charity tin at the till, or simply shoot the Mum with the screaming toddler a sympathetic “I’ve been there” smile!
Beat that Tuesday feeling (is it just me who feels that Tuesdays are a bit of a non-day?!) by smiling. Even if you don’t really feel like doing it, smiling really does make you feel happier. Michelle from The Joy Chaser wrote a post all about how it works, explaining that “when you feel happy, your brain produces endorphins and sends signals to your facial muscles to trigger a smile. The smile tells our brains we’re happy and creates a feedback loop that keeps the process going”.
So even if you feel a bit silly doing it, put a big smile on your face and see how much happier you really do start to feel!
I know, you’ve heard it before, but getting some exercise really is a great way to increase your happiness. Getting out for a brisk walk on your lunch break (or to the park with the kids) will stimulate your brain’s production of dopamine which increases our feelings of pleasure and happiness.
But, did you know that the way you walk can affect your mood?!
In the same way that smiling (even if you don’t feel like it) can make you feel happier, walking in a bouncy, happy way (even if you feel a bit blue) can make you feel better.
So put a bit of zing in your step, after a short while you’ll start to feel as bouncy and happy as your walk!
Share a ‘Throwback Thursday’ photo.
Before you choose one to post, take a bit of time to go through your old photos, reminiscing about happy times from your past. Studies have shown that thinking about happy times boosts serotonin levels in your brain, which has been linked to decreases in depression.
Make even more of an impact on your happiness by writing a little post about the good time you had when the photo was taken – processing your emotions through writing has been found to help you feel less distressed
Change your bed sheets.
End your week on a happiness high by climbing into a bed made up with lovely fresh, clean bedding. In a research project, two-thirds of people said that sleeping in a freshly made bed was at the top of their list of things that made them feel great.
So, there you have it, a week of ways to increase your happiness. Are you game to give it a try?