In the hectic place we live in today, we all have days where we just feel like everything is going against us. Studies show we are more stressed out than ever before. Especially in wintry weather, it is very easy to feel low and uninspired. Here are a few things you can do every day to increase your happiness.

1.     Dedicate time to your hobby

We all have them and enjoy them but only a small number of us actually do them. Numerous times we have heard people say, “I really wish I could find the time to do my drawing/ fishing/ golf/ photography/ gardening/ hairbrush karaoke…”

  • There is absolutely no rule on what your hobby should or shouldn’t be
  • Discover something you enjoy doing
  • Find time in your busy schedule
  • Don’t worry if other people think it’s nerdy or boring - you will probably perceive theirs to be equally as dull.

Now, go ahead and actually do your hobby! You will be surprised by how much better you feel. Dust off that 80’s-style skateboard collecting dust in the garage. Pull out that mint coin collection stored at the back of the cupboard. Get your hobby on!

2.     Catch up with an old friend

We always seem to put off this activity for more urgent tasks that need to be done. However, we are social creatures. We all need contact with others to feel a sense of community and belonging.

  • Choose a friend who is a good listener and non-judgmental
  • Be sensitive and supportive to each other’s issues and concerns
  • Make the call or catch up in a place with minimal background noise or activity
  • Choose a time to talk or meet up that suits both your schedules

Knowing that someone else is going through similar stresses in life can be comforting. Meet for a coffee or call up your friend and chat away!

3.     Watch a funny show, DVD, or movie

Laughter plays a significant role in our overall health. Even those who are depressed are encouraged to watch comedies to bring on a chuckle.

  • The anticipation of laughter increases levels of hormones that ward off depression
  • These hormones also boost the immune system, keeping you healthy
  • Choose to watch a movie, DVD, or show that makes you feel good

Make some popcorn, sit back, and prepare for the belly laughs that follow! People may even comment on your relaxed attitude and sunnier disposition as a result.

4.     Get out and get moving

Why?

There are numerous reasons why exercise is good for us; one is that it makes us feel happier.

  • Exercise creates positive physiological and psychological effects
  • It releases feel-good chemicals in the brain that elevate our mood
  • Endorphin levels increase regardless of exercise type or intensity
  • Regular workouts actually make these endorphins stronger

How?

If you are completely new to exercise there is a plethora of exciting ways to get fit out there.

  • Find what seems appealing and what you could do on a regular basis - choose from a wide range of activities such as cycling, circuit training, dancing, hiking, karate, tai chi, yoga, Zumba, or boot camp, to name a few
  • Join a gym for a wide range of access to facilities and services - gyms take out the guesswork when it comes to fitness
  • Sign up with a personal trainer for guidance and professional advice - personal trainers provide you with new and exciting ways to keep fit
  • Join a team sport or a local club with a friend - the social aspect increases motivation and fun
  • Work out from home with help of a fitness DVD or book - the convenience and privacy of exercising from home is an advantage
  • Get outside for a walk - an easy and cheap way to start a fitness regime

The key is to find a type of exercise you can and will do on a consistent basis. This may mean scaling back in terms of difficulty. Better to be kind to yourself and exercise than be tough on yourself and avoid it altogether. Your body and calmed mind will thank you for it.

5.     Take at least fifteen minutes of alone time every day

Give yourself time out to recharge your batteries. Afterwards, your concentration levels will be sharper.

  • Use the time to be alone with your thoughts
  • Your place to relax should be quiet and peaceful
  • Take a bath, meditate, pat your cat or dog, people watch on a park bench, sit outside in the sun, listen to the birds, or have a brief walk. Do anything that ‘quiets’ your mind and makes you relax
  • Avoid watching television, listening to the radio, or engaging in conversation - you are attempting to minimise brain stimulation and activity

Why?

Here are five reasons why you should follow these tips:

  1. A good mood is infectious and will rub off on those around you
  2. Taking responsibility for your happiness makes you feel empowered
  3. Tending to your health and wellbeing improves your ability to help others
  4. You will be a much better spouse, parent, child, friend and co-worker as a result
  5. Finding a healthy balance will allow you to be more productive and active at work, home, and in your community

Give them a go and hopefully they will make a positive difference!