The saying goes, ‘happiness is a choice’; but it’s more like hundreds of little everyday choices. It’s a tough ask to just choose to be happy when you get cut off in traffic or when someone leaves sweat stains all over your favourite machine at the gym. What is easy though, is taking care of the little things. You might not realise it, but the little things are often what count most towards making you feel better. So here’s five quick and simple things you can do to make sure you’re feeling good:
Get into a good sleep routine
A healthy sleeping pattern is vital to a person’s happiness. While scientists can’t say for sure why we sleep, we’ve learnt a lot about how it benefits us. Sleeping relaxes muscles as well as your neurons. Eight hours a night, the recommended level for adults, will improve your concentration, energy, and memory. Simply put, to get into a good routine, set yourself some regular wake and sleep times and try your best to follow them. If you have trouble getting into a healthy sleep routine, then perhaps the next tip can help you out…
It may not entirely surprise you that meditation doesn’t always have to include sitting cross-legged, chanting or your primary school teacher’s favourite cd: ‘sounds of the rainforest’. Meditation can be whatever works for you. It could be listening to music, focusing on your breathing for five minutes or just sitting outside free from the influence of technology during your lunchbreak. Even if inner-enlightenment isn't your thing, the scientific benefits of taking a timeout and calming your farm are hard to dispute. Meditation can reduce stress, increase concentration and contribute positively to your overall happiness. Give it a go.
Have a joke
Laughter is the best medicine. You’ve heard it before and you’ve probably had a ponder about it at some stage then decided it’s not true - given the choice in a hospital bed you’d probably forego the jokes for some good old fashioned drugs. But laughter is easy to prescribe and has no negative side-effects. We’re learning more and more about the benefits of having a chuckle, it reduces: stress, anxiety and even physical pain (memo for next time you stub your toe).
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is everything when it comes to quality of life. Your body runs on what you eat, giving you the energy to power your muscles and keep those neurons firing. It’s even been found that increasing your intake of healthy foods, like servings of fruit and veggies, will improve your happiness faster than it improves your physical health. So hey, want to improve your mood? Eat good food.
Exercise for 30
Physical health and mental health are so unbelievably closely related, it would be dangerous for them to have children together. When looking at the impact a healthy body can have on your mindset and vice versa, you wonder why we consider them separate. Those who participate in regular activity can expect reduced stress, more energy and a dramatically improved mood. Studies have found that even less than ten minutes of exercise per day can have a noticeable effect on feelings of wellbeing. Don’t let this be an excuse for you to do less though - the closer to the recommended levels, the better.