Finding true happiness is a long, challenging journey. One that is hard to start and finish. I am still on my path to find genuine happiness and these 5 things have helped me come this far.
- Smile more
Smiling is known to have a (small) affect on feelings. Smiling, even when I am not in a good mood, makes me happier! It tricks my brain into thinking I am in a good mood, even when I am not. In the midst of a mental breakdown due to stress, anxiety or school, I will just smile through my tears and surprisingly, it makes me feel better. There is so much a smile can do, my favorite being when you are walking on the sidewalk and you smile at everyone passing you — you could make their day! I know it’s challenging with masks, but now people can tell when you smile by your eyes. I will also smile at people when I am driving, you never know what kind of day someone is having so being kind and thoughtful is important as it helps you, and the other person.
2. Sleep more
As a highschool student with severe senioritis, college stress, jobs, internships, sports and hobbies, sleep is something I rarely did a couple months ago, but once I started prioritizing it, I felt happier. I was able to think more clearly, take full advantage of my days, and stop thinking about sleeping all the time. It really changes your mood and the more I sleep, the happier I feel. It is the little changes that make the biggest differences.
3. Spend more time with friends and family
This one can be hard due to COVID, but even spending time with your immediate family or quarantine pod can make a difference. During this time I have found myself slowly becoming an introvert — and I used to be an extrovert. This is because I was isolating myself from my immediate family and my quarantine pod…I didn’t want to see anyone. I wanted to be alone. Being alone was something I used to be scared of, especially freshman and sophomore year and so suddenly wanting to be alone took a toll on my mental health. Even if you have to force yourself to spend time with friends and family, it is worth it. You WILL feel better. It has helped me release stress by playing board games, watching movies or laughing with them. Laughing always makes me feel better because it releases a hormone called endorphins!
4. Go outside
With online school, I find myself confined to my room unless I am heading to tennis or track practice. I started going outside anywhere from 5–30 minutes a day, just sitting down, reading, listening to music or a podcast. These moments outdoors have helped me be more grateful for the little things, and I enjoy the peace and quiet. Sitting in the sun (with sunscreen) releases serotonin, a hormone which is known to make you happier. Not only does it make you happier but the sun relaxes you and makes you more focused. This is so much better than sitting in your room, ESPECIALLY if your room is dark which causes your brain to make another hormone called melatonin.
5. Help others
Volunteering and helping my community makes me genuinely happy. Knowing that I can actively help someone and make their day a bit better brings me the most joy. I think helping those less fortunate can truly make you happy. I have found it has really helped my mood, wellbeing, and outlook on life. It also doesn’t cost any money, so it is the best of both worlds.
These 5 tips have helped me improve my self-esteem, wellbeing and ultimately my level of happiness SO much in the past couple months. While I am still on my journey to pure happiness, prioritizing these things have made the journey easier, more fun and enlightening. If you are about to begin your journey or if you are on the homestretch, you can do it. Try implementing each of these things in your daily life one at a time and I promise you will see results.