Are you in need of an easy happiness hack? This time of year we can all use a few tricks to increase our happiness and lift our mood.
Humans have a tendency to dwell on the negatives – to see danger, to notice problems. These are great survival skills, but they don’t really serve us very well in the modern age. For most of us, happiness requires that we take intentional action, focus on, and be mindful of the beauty and joy that’s available to all of us.
I’m going to share with you some quick ways to boost your mood. There are actually four happiness hacks here. You can use them all together as I did or one at a time.
Spend Time in Nature
Simply getting outside, breathing the fresh air, experiencing the change of scenery and the wonders of nature, can shift your thinking. It’s hard not to be in awe of all the colors, sounds, and smells of nature.
Exercise is one of the most tried and true ways to improve your mood. Some have likened exercise to a natural anti-depressant. You don’t have to go to the gym or even break a sweat. Just try to raise your heart rate a bit; even a small amount of movement is helpful. Of course, follow your doctor’s instructions if you have health or mobility problems.
Mindfulness is just another word for staying present in the moment. Try to do one thing at a time and pay attention with all your senses. It’s amazing what you can see when you really look.
I walk on this trail all the time, but this was the first time I noticed the big, intricate spider webs. The surprising thing was that once I noticed one spider web, I started seeing tons of them all along the side of the trail. They were everywhere and I’d never noticed them before! Luckily, I don’t mind a spider or spider web from a safe distance.
When I really pay attention to what I’m doing, feeling, and experiencing, it’s hard not to feel grateful. Gratitude requires that we’re mindful and make a conscious choice to scan for the positives. I’m grateful for the autumn leaves, for the squirrels and the spiders, for my legs to carry me on this walk, for the dew on the grass and the sunlight burning off the fog, for my phone/camera to take these pictures, and for being able to write this post and share it with so many. When you try, it’s always possible to find something to be grateful for.
Four easy happiness hacks — spend time in nature, move your body, mindfully notice something new, and express your gratitude. I practiced all four with a short walk outside. I hope you’ll give it a try and see if it boosts your happiness today!
Are you interested in personal growth? I’ve got more great tips and support for you! Connect with me on Facebook and by email (below).
© 2016 Text and photos by Sharon Martin, LCSW. All rights reserved.