I don’t know anybody that doesn’t want to be happy. But after chasing happiness and counseling plenty of people that have burned out chasing happiness, I’ve learned a few key elements that can radically improve your happiness.
Here are four of the simplest and most effective ways to experience personal happiness.
- Don’t chase after happiness. That’s right. The simplest way to be happier is to chase after peace. I’ve written and said this ten thousand times. The single greatest commodity is peace. We do not experience true happiness apart from our heart, mind, and soul being at peace. It has been said that Peace brings with it so many positive emotions that it is worth aiming for in all circumstances. I’ve discovered that when my life has proper margins in each aspect of my life, peace is far more attainable and sustainable. The Bible, in the second letter from John, says that the gift of God, through Christ, is Grace, Mercy, and Peace. To discover peace, ask God how to grow closer to Him today. In that effort, peace can be found, and happiness follows. Mother Teresa said that “Peace begins with a smile.”
- Be intentional about smiling. Corny, right? The mere act of smiling reduces blood pressure, lowers stress hormones, and boosts your mood; a British study even found that one smile generates the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate. I’m not a naturally smiling individual. There are days when I have been alone in my car, recognizing that I am grumpy or stressed and forced myself to smile. It’s a real thing, people. Just force yourself to smile, especially offering a smile to a stranger. The science and my personal experience prove this true!
- Force yourself into solitude. If you are an introvert, you just breathed a quiet amen. If you are an extrovert, you just said no thanks. Solitude, even for just 5 minutes a day, can reset your brain and your attitude for a better, happier day. Spending time alone with ourselves may not be accessible or even desirable. But it’s key to getting to know who we are. When we lose the ability to be alone with ourselves, our overstimulated nervous systems suffer from no place to rest and recharge. Solitude is an essential component of your health and well-being. Need more happiness? Create 5 minutes of true solitude each day.
- Get your sleep! I spent decades bragging about my ability to be a high performer with only 5 hours of sleep. I now know that I was cranking out 17 hour days but effectively going backward. The science of sleep is simple. To function at your best, you need 7-8 hours of sleep. Very few Americans regularly obtain the recommended eight or more hours of sleep each night, and the consequences of this chronic sleep deprivation can be disastrous. I’ve also learned that you never “catch up on your sleep.” Like time – when it’s gone, it’s gone. If you want a happier life, get your sleep. The science says that more sleep equals a happier person. People who sleep between seven and 8.5 hours during the night tend to wake up happier.
Most of us want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. All of us want to be happy. Try these four proven steps to a happier you!