Google “how to be happy,” and you’ll be met with 226,000,000 results as proof of our collective search for bliss.
However, even with that much information at hand, there’s never a quick, one-size-fits-all answer. I’ve found that my journey towards greater satisfaction in life is a slower, more organic process of growth and change.
Change, however, doesn’t always have to be epic. Even the tiniest positive changes have rippled through my life and made a difference. And while it’s not always possible to be happy, I’ve realized I can always make an effort to see the bright side of things. That minor change in perspective has helped lighten up not just my life, but the lives of those around me too.
Here are 15 tiny things I do to add more positivity to my life. I hope they help you find more positivity in yours too.
I make plenty of to-do lists for my errands, but every so often I also take the time to write a list to remind me to do things that make me happy. The things that make me smile are definitely just as essential as the tasks that keep life going logistically. Plus when I’m feeling replenished and joyful, I have more energy to tackle the more difficult tasks.
Can a fake smile lift your mood? I’ve read that researchers found the answer — by using pencils. By asking subjects to hold a pencil in either their teeth or their lips, scientists got each group to unknowingly smile or frown. The smiling group rated the same newspaper comics as being funnier than their frowning group counterparts did. So perhaps what’s happening on your face really does affect how you feel. When I need a boost, I try to smile even if I’m not feeling great. Oftentimes, it reminds me that there’s always something worth smiling about.
I find that speaking positively is easier when I put my words through this test, which has been found quoted in the work of many wise poets and teachers. Before anything I say leaves my lips, it must be able to pass through three gates: 1) Is it true? 2) Is it necessary? 3) Is it kind?
Whether it’s a chic pair of shoes, a job well done, or a lovely smile, if I notice something about someone else that makes me happy, I always make a point to say so out loud.
Meditation is an excellent way to press pause on the outside world and reconnect with yourself. Taking even just three minutes to do so allows me to enjoy the positive benefits without disrupting my schedule, no matter what I’m doing. I don’t think you need to be an expert meditator to do so, either. Even when I can’t seem to tame my thoughts, simply sitting quietly and taking some calm, gentle breaths helps me recharge.
Most of us are in front of a mirror at some point during the day, whether it’s when we’re getting ready in the morning, or washing up at night. When I’m face to face with my reflection, it’s easy for me to see my own self-proclaimed flaws. However, I make a point to stop and notice at least one thing I like about myself, whether it’s physical or internal. Even though it sometimes feels awkward or embarrassing, I try to voice my compliment to myself out loud. I think kind words mean the most when they come from ourselves.
Even on the most discouraging days, I can always find something to be grateful for. Bringing those things to the forefront of my mind helps give them greater emphasis in my life. I either jot them down in my journal or simply think them to myself before I go to bed.
Vision boards are a tried and true way to capture inspiration, and a great way to showcase your personal idea of positivity. I keep a Pinterest board of images and quotes that make me feel good, so I can delight my eyes as needed.
To me, the feeling of sunshine on my skin is one of life’s most uplifting pleasures, but especially in the colder seasons, I don’t see the sun as much as I’d like. A friend once taught me that sunshine is still there even when you can’t see it, and I’ve never forgotten her words. Visualizing the sunlight that helped grow the food I eat, the paper I write on, or the plants outside my window that are dormant but still very much alive reminds me that even when I can’t see the sun, it’s still there in spirit supporting me.
As much as possible, I try to wear my favorite color, which tends to change from season to season. Even if it’s only in a small way, like a scarf or a ring, it helps keep me feeling bright. Also, when I do so, I try not to give thought to trends. A favorite is a favorite. I give myself permission to wear bright yellow from head to toe if it makes me happy.
I’m usually not aware of my own posture. Throughout the course of a busy day, I tend not to notice as I gradually sink into a slouchier state as the day goes on. However, making an effort to be conscious of my posture has helped me notice when I need to stretch or take a walk, which gives my body a needed break and keeps me from accumulating aches and pains that can make me feel grumpy.
Grocery shopping is usually an errand that I’d gladly eschew. My heart always sinks a little bit when I realize it has to get done. But even the most mundane task can have a positive spin when you take a moment to put an intention behind it. My intention when I grocery shop is to fill my kitchen with nourishing food that will help everyone in my household stay energized and cared for. With that in mind, my shopping trip is no longer a chore, but a wonderful gift to give.
Whether I have a real photo album handy or just the camera roll on my phone, I sometimes like to pull up pictures from my favorite weekend adventures, dinner parties, or family gatherings. When I look at a photo from a time I was having a blast, I usually find myself reliving the joy as I treasure the memory.
In the same amount of time it takes to open Instagram or Twitter, I can send a quick “thinking of you” text to a family member or a friend, and spread love. You never know when someone might be needing some.
An old copy of The Little Prince, a smooth stone from a camping trip at the beach, a tiny bottle of lavender essential oil — these are all things that I’ve been known to carry daily in my purse or my pocket. Even if I don’t have time during the day to take them out or use them, knowing they’re there makes me feel good.
What do you like to do when you’re craving positivity? Leave us a comment and let us know.